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I-5 bridge gets a slow lift after roller trouble

The southbound span of the Interstate Bridge can again be lifted for Columbia River marine traffic after a roller on the bridge span broke late Thursday night, Nov. 21 during routine maintenance.

The roller was removed and the southbound span, which opened in 1958, was reopened at 4:20 a.m. Friday after the bridge had been closed for more than four hours. On Friday, bridge engineers authorized bridge tenders to operate the southbound span at half speed until a new roller can be manufactured and installed. The new roller should be ready in early December. Until then, travelers on southbound Interstate 5 should expect longer delays for drawbridge lifts than travelers heading north.

During the late-night closure, tall river traffic could not pass under the bridge.

ODOT says the problem is related to rollers in the counterwright that raises and lowers the span. They will not lift it again until the problem has been identified and fixed.

Lawmakers in Oregon and Washington have debated replacing the bridge for years with the Columbia River Crossing, but the project is stalled after Washington legislators said they would not pay for that state's part of the massive project.

KOIN News 6 contributed to this news story.