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The Sellwood Bridge doesn't have to wear a mask, but it still does get a health checkup regularly

DAVID F. ASHTON - Riding in the gondola of a specially-built personnel lift dangling off the side of the Sellwood Bridge, independent inspectors returned to take another close look at the superstructure. Starting on Monday, February 8, the new Sellwood Bridge – constructed between 2011 and 2016 – got its biennial inspection: Something that's required for every bridge open to the public in Oregon.

Inspectors looked at the surface of the bridge, including the sidewalks and roadway. And, using a special rig that rides on the sidewalk and suspends inspectors underneath, they checked below the deck and evaluated the superstructure of the bridge.

"The inspections are by independent inspectors, not the owner of the bridge – which in this case is Multnomah County," said the project's longtime spokesperson, Mike Pullen.

"The inspectors use personnel-lifts to inspect all the structural components of the bridge at a close range, and document the structure's condition by taking photos, measurements, looking for cracks, rust and other signs of deterioration," Pullen told THE BEE.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Traffic rolled over the Sellwood Bridge on February 8 - drivers unaware that inspectors were underneath the deck, examining every inch of the superstructure. These inspections are one source of the "sufficiency score" that is assigned to a bridge.  "The 'old' Sellwood Bridge was famous for having a score of '2 out of a possible 100'," recalled Pullen.

In general, the latest inspection shows that the condition of the Sellwood Bridge is "excellent . . . which is typical for such a new bridge," Pullen concluded. In fact, at this time, it is considered the one bridge in Oregon that is expected to completely withstand a plate boundary megaquake – although future bridges will be built to that same standard.

So, feel confident – as you walk, roll, or drive across your Sellwood Bridge – that you will safely and comfortably reach the other side without incident.


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