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Crossing in Columbia River Gorge safer for drivers, less prone to flooding damage

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY - A new bridge was completed across Latourell Creek in the Columbia River Gorge. After five months of construction, a new bridge is spanning Latourell Creek in the Columbia River Gorge.

The new concrete crossing on Northeast Latourell Road does away with the deteriorating timber bridge and allows for a safer crossing for the Latourell community with features to help the environment. It is five feet wider and 16 feet longer, allowing more space for both lanes of traffic. The bridge was also built a foot higher to avoid flooding.

The $2.6 million project was funded through the State Funded Local Projects program, which trades federal dollars for state funds on projects chosen under the Oregon Department of Transportation. The bridge was built by Multnomah County crews.

"I'm really proud of the project team for how they coordinated with the contractor and finished this project not only on time but on budget," said Sara Jeffrey, project manager.

The bridge connects a grouping of homes near the creek, and the guardrails were painted brown and made of timber and steel to blend into the natural environment. There was also a stormwater filter installed adjacent to the bridge to treat runoff from the street.

Construction began on July 15 — a timetable set by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife so not to disrupt fish and wildlife. Crews also planted nearly 60 trees and more than 600 plants around the bridge to help the forest grow back.

"This new bridge blends seamlessly into the surrounding environment and will provide the Latourell community with a consistent and safe second access route that is less prone to flooding," said Commissioner Lori Stegmann.

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