Blasting for Sellwood Bridge excavation begins tonight - KPTV - FOX 12

Blasting for Sellwood Bridge excavation begins tonight

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Night time blasting to excavate the hillside at the west end of the Sellwood Bridge is scheduled to begin tonight. The excavation is part of the Sellwood Bridge construction project.

The area being excavated is on the slope west of Highway 43 and south of the bridge. Blasting is needed to fracture underground rock into smaller pieces that can be excavated during the work day.

The contractor expects rock blasting will be needed for as many as four weeks this spring. Normally, blasting will happen on two or three weeknights in a week. On a blasting night, two or three blasts will typically be detonated.

The first blast will happen close to 9 p.m. and the later blasts will usually happen between midnight and 3 a.m.

The bridge project will construct a new Highway 43 interchange at the bridge that will be wider than the existing interchange. The west hillside will be excavated over the next few months and then retaining walls will be built to hold back the slope.

By 2014, traffic lanes will shift to the west and the contractor will begin rebuilding the east side of the interchange.

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