The State Route 107 bridge over the Chehalis River south of Montesano is nearing completion of a construction project that has delayed traffic through the area for nearly two years. Tina Werner with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said the contractor, Rognlin’s, Inc., is expecting to remove the temporary signals in late April as they complete final paving of the new lane, add markings to the road and complete new guardrails. Administrators hope to see two-way traffic over the bridge in late April as they near completion. The $25.2 million upgrade to the south approach was funded by the 2015 Connecting Washington state funding package.
Almost 2 years to the month
Rognlin’s, Inc. began construction in late April of 2019 to rehabilitate the 63-year-old bridge. Crews replaced the timber that was on the bridge’s south approach span with concrete piers, installed modern safety rails, and repainted the entire 1958 steel truss structure. While there were a few weekend-long closures, during the majority of the construction, temporary traffic signals have been in place creating a 5 to 10 minute wait.
Feedback made the difference
In 2016 WSDOT proposed two other approaches to updating the bridge, a 7-month complete closure of the bridge or a 10-month closure of truck detours and only allowing local traffic. Community feedback after a couple of public meetings sent project managers back to the drawing board and a new approach was created. The contractor split the bridge down the middle and completely dismantled one lane of the bridge at a time, while traffic continued on the other lane. At many times during the construction, the bridge was only a single lane, with a concrete barrier separating drivers from the vacant space, and construction.
Werner said that the contractor does still have some work to do on the bridge later this summer. But that work will be along the river bank and will not affect traffic over the bridge.