82nd Drive pedestrian bridge project completed
A public project's construction delay may seem like a small thing with the COVID-19 epidemic raging, but reopening the 82nd Drive bridge allows for more social distancing as people make their way by bike or walking between Oregon City and Gladstone to essential services.
Narrow sidewalks on the Highway 99E bridge's detour had forced people to pass closely together in order to reach pharmacies and grocery stores on either side of the river.
County officials were planning to close the highly used path for pedestrians and bicycles last July in order to construct seismic retrofits on the 82nd Drive bridge, but the project got a late start on Aug. 15. Even with the late start, county officials still had expected the bridge to reopen by February, but the project hit another snag and finally reopened on April 10.
"Increasing resiliency is the driving force behind all WES projects," said WES Director Greg Geist. "WES is proud to support Clackamas County's priorities, which include building a strong infrastructure and ensuring safe, healthy and secure communities."
County officials apologized to city officials on both sides of the river in February after crews discovered unexpected challenges in the installation of a new sewer forcemain and bolstering of existing pipes carried by the bridge.
The total $3.6 million project was funded with monthly service charge revenue and system development charges. Last June, Clackamas County commissioners approved a $2.68 million contract with Stellar J Corporation to build new structural supports designed to increase the bridge's load capacity. County officials say that the seismic upgrades will make the bridge able to withstand a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which means the bridge now serves as a "vital path for emergency vehicles" to cross the river in such an emergency.
After the construction of Interstate 205 in the mid-1970s, the bridge was converted for use by pedestrians and bicyclists. Built in the early 1920s, the bridge was purchased by Clackamas Water Environment Services in 1998.
In 2012, the bridge was closed to pedestrian traffic until a timber reinforcement design was completed. County officials say that the design constructed about seven years ago was only designed as a temporary fix for the timber supports with a five-year life expectancy.
The detour had added approximately 2 miles to trips for people, compared to directly walking or biking across the 82nd Drive bridge.
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