EUGENE, Ore. — Four years ago crews started working on the Willamette River Bridge project. On Wednesday they finally started pouring concrete on the bridge.
Piece by piece, construction workers paved the way for two new I-5 bridges over the Willamette River. While they had to build one bridge at a time, the project manager says workers are finishing up on the final leg of this entire project.
Twenty-four workers spent the day high above the Willamette River spreading concrete on the northbound bridge.
“Concrete trucks are backing up, dumping mix into a hopper, and then it’s being hydraulically pumped to the workers above about 50 feet above us,” said Karl Wieseke, Construction Project Manager.
Every five minutes, for eight straight hours, about 75 trucks arrived to give workers a fresh batch of concrete to work with. Down the road, steel workers prepared another large section of the bridge for the concrete workers.
“We’re trying to keep ahead of them with the form work, and ultimately we’ll be doing the same operation only a different part of the bridge,” Wieseke said.
While crews are pouring a large section of the bridge, there’s still 800 feet of roadway that needs to be finished.
“We’ll have two more pours later on this summer,’ Wieseke said.
But the bridge is not the only piece of construction crews spent the day working on.
“Contractors saw an opportunity to build or begin the construction of the bike-ped viaduct,” Wieseke said.
Once completed next winter, the bike and pedestrian path will go right under the two new bridges and will run right along the Willamette River.
“We’re about a year ahead of schedule on that,” Wieseke said.
So after nearly four years, building a temporary bridge and tearing down the original, workers see an end in sight for the Willamette Bridge Project.
“You’ll be driving on the new northbound bridge this September,” Wieseke said.
With this latest milestone, the project manager says the project is 85 percent complete, and cars will be driving on the northbound bridge this September.