Late Sunday night, we will switch northbound Interstate 5 traffic to begin sharing the new southbound Willamette River Bridge. The traffic switch will end in late 2013, when the new northbound bridge is complete.
Northbound freeway drivers may experience brief delays as crews move concrete barriers and safety barrels to guide traffic onto the new bridge. To minimize traffic impacts, workers will do the lane shifts at night.
Switching southbound traffic to the new bridge at 12:33 a.m. on Aug. 30 went very well. Below is a video showing the moment that the first vehicles drove onto the new southbound Willamette River Bridge.
What’s interesting to me is the mix of vehicles. In the first minute, 18 non-construction contractor vehicles crossed the bridge. There were nine commercial vehicles, ranging from a UPS triple-trailer and a double-deck car carrier, to six semi-combos and a large garbage truck. Nine passenger cars and pickups also crossed the new bridge. The importance of the I-5 Willamette River Bridge to Oregon’s economy and keeping commercial traffic flowing freely is clearly illustrated here.
The video was filmed by the Willamette River Bridge construction engineering inspection team, who deserve special thanks.