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ODOT Shares Bridge Inspection Protocol

EUGENE, Ore. — The Skagit Bridge collapse has had local residents concerned about their bridges.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said it couldn’t comment about what happened to the Skagit Bridge in Washington, but representatives hoped they could ease the public’s concerns by filling them in on how bridges in our area are taken care of.

ODOT reps say they’re grateful that no lives were lost in the Skagit Bridge collapse, and they’re using the experience as a reminder.

“One of the things that always happens when we have these kinds of situations is we think about the safety of our bridges. In Oregon we inspect our bridges every two years or more,” said Shelly Snow, ODOT spokeswoman.

Older bridges, or any with signs of concern, are looked at even more often.

Investigators are still looking into exactly what caused the Washington collapse, but there’s speculation an oversized truck could be to blame.

Here in Oregon, ODOT says it has very specific rules about such things that may help to ease those concerns.

Any oversized trucks–either by width, height, or weight–are required to get a permit to travel anywhere through the state.

“That is to put them on a route where they’re not going to encounter a bridge that’s too small for them, or a corner that’s too sharp, or a road that can’t handle the weight of their load,” Snow said.

The City of Eugene wasn’t able to comment about its bridges, but public works managers in Springfield say they have plans in place to cope with a similar disaster.

“The regional agencies get together and talk about emergency management and emergency response during an event. A bridge failure event and the response is coordinated, and I expect that Wash. DOT and ODOT will respond quickly in those circumstances,” said Brian Conlon, Springfield Public Works Operations Manager.

Springfield Public Works managers say they and similar departments are waiting to hear about the exact cause of the collapse.

Until then, they hope the public will find ease in knowing they all keep watch on the bridges regularly and will look even more closely as more information is announced.

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