Portland commuters are one big step closer to having a new way across the Willamette River.
Saturday, contractors slid the main truss span of the old bridge 60 feet north and in position to form the basis of a temporary span that will remain in use until completion of the new Sellwood Bridge in 2015.
After the horizontal slide of the bridge was completed, the truss span was jacked down onto bearings of the five detour bridge piers.
Sunday, the contractor welded the truss to the bearing at the middle pier. The truss is allowed to expand and contract with temperature changes at the other bearing points. The contractor also demolished the old concrete west approach to the bridge. Highway 43 has remained open in both directions during the bridge closure.
At the east end of the bridge, the contractor has paved most of the new approach, added a concrete barrier between the sidewalk and traffic lane, and installed a sidewalk railing.
The east approach will have a curve between Southeast 6th Avenue and the Willamette River. The speed limit will be lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph partly due to this curve.
A two-day inspection of the truss span by independent engineers started Monday. The steel sections of the truss will be thoroughly inspected before the bridge reopens to traffic.
Crews also shifted from a 24-7 work schedule to one that ends at 9 p.m. each night on Monday. That will reduce construction noise in the evening for people living near the bridge.
The entrance to Macadam Bay floating homes is scheduled to be paved on Tuesday, in connection with other paving at the west approach tie-in to Highway 43. One side of the Macadam Bay driveway will remain open during the paving so residents can come and go throughout the work.
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