Division of Highways crews have been working to repair the bridge deck on Route 50 West in Salem.
The bridge was built back in the 1970’s. A recent increase in traffic has caused the bridge to weaken, especially since a lot of that traffic has included heavy oil and gas tankers.
The construction engineer for the project said the bridge deteriorated more quickly than expected because of the heavy traffic.
DOH crews actually started working on the new bridge last June, but workers said much of the work was done underneath of the bridge and went unnoticed by the public.
“Now we have gotten to the point that we have taken down the outside lanes of each direction. We are replacing the peer and building new peer and abutments on each side and then we will be building that half of each bridge deck,” Jason Nelson, construction engineer.
Crews have been working to keep one lane of the bridge open while building the new structure. Temporary repairs on the bridge deck sometimes close both lanes on the bridge, causing a detour through the town of Salem. A strong concrete mix patches the temporary repairs on the bridge.
Crews said they expect the new, stronger bridge to be complete by November 2018.
Its a $5.8 million project for a 178 foot bridge. This project started well before the road bond program began but as the road bond program kicks in, people will start seeing more projects like this one.