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Wildish Nearing Completion of Yamhill River Bridge

Tue May 16, 2023 - West Edition #11
Lori Tobias – CEG Correspondent


Wildish Construction is more than halfway finished with the $30 million project to replace 
a bridge over Oregon’s Yamhill River.
(Oregon Department of Transportation photo)
Wildish Construction is more than halfway finished with the $30 million project to replace a bridge over Oregon’s Yamhill River. (Oregon Department of Transportation photo)
Wildish Construction is more than halfway finished with the $30 million project to replace 
a bridge over Oregon’s Yamhill River.
(Oregon Department of Transportation photo) An average of 16,000 vehicles travel the route over the bridge which is a 3-mi. spur road leading off Highway 18 and running along the southern part of McMinnville.
(Oregon Department of Transportation photo) The new bridge replaces a bridge originally built in 1951 and failing under the strain of increasing traffic in the growing Yamhill County.
(Oregon Department of Transportation photo) At 48-ft. wide, the new bridge will be 13 ft. wider than original bridge and feature wider traffic lines, 7-ft. shoulders for bicyclists and 5.5-ft. sidewalks for pedestrians.
(Oregon Department of Transportation photo) It will be 970-ft. long on six bents, using steel plate girders and reinforced concrete end panels. It will feature architectural treatment with lighting and utilities affixed to the structure.
(Oregon Department of Transportation photo) Completion of the bridge is scheduled for late 2024.
(Oregon Department of Transportation photo)

Two years into a $30 million project to replace a bridge over Oregon's Yamhill River, work is more than halfway complete and on time, but the final cost is expected to increase by $1 million to $2 million more than budgeted due to rising costs and an unexpected utility glitch.

"We're about 55 percent done with the new bridge," said Leia Kagawa, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) assistant resident engineer. "We've completely removed all of the old bridge and temporarily moved traffic onto the diversion bridge immediately to the west. We've built the foundation and bents on the new bridge and at the end of March completed placing the girders along the new bridge. So, all of the substructure is done on the new bridge."

The new bridge replaces a bridge originally built in 1951 and failing under the strain of increasing traffic in the growing Yamhill County. An average of 16,000 vehicles travel the route over the bridge, which is a 3-mi. spur road leading off Highway 18 and running along the southern part of McMinnville. Crews with Wildish Construction Company, based in Eugene, Ore., started the project in 2021 with work on the diversion bridge. While the project has largely gone according to plan, rising fuel prices have added to the cost.

"Gas prices are super high," Kagawa said "That's been hitting us hard budget-wide. Not only have shipping and transporting materials been more expensive, but the manufacture of asphalt, which contains petroleum-like material, and operating costs for equipment have also increased."

There also was an unexpected problem with a sanitation pipe that was originally installed in the 1970s.

"The material of the pipe was not compatible with the type of construction that was needed," Kagawa said. "The material was quite brittle. We did a lot of pile driving for this project and we anticipated the vibration from the pile driving would have broken the pipe. We didn't want to contaminate the river or disturb services. We abandoned the old pipe and are going to be installing new pipe, one for water and one for sewer."

The state had to send the bridge bearing pads to Arizona for testing after discovering the testing facilities in Oregon don't test that high of a load — 1.4 million to 1.7 million lbs.

"The steel girders sit on bearing pads to transfer the load down to the piers," Kagawa said. "It's to dampen the movement of the bridge. They have what are like rubber tires essentially — elastic and reinforced with metal inside. We subjected them to pressure like a giant hydraulic press to see how much we can compress."

At 48-ft. wide, the new bridge will be 13 ft. wider than original bridge and feature wider traffic lines, 7-ft. shoulders for bicyclists and 5.5-ft. sidewalks for pedestrians. It will be 970-ft. long on six bents, using steel plate girders and reinforced concrete end panels. It will feature architectural treatment with lighting and utilities affixed to the structure.

The project includes installing fish logs on the Yamhill River to provide better fish habitat and armor the riverbank to prevent scouring and sediment from the water.

"The south side of river is private land that has an agreement with Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)," Kagawa said. "They are doing habitat restoration. Throughout this project, the agency and especially the contractor have been working with U.S. Fish & Wildlife, giving them access to the property so they can plant and do their habitat restoration work. After the bridge is built, there will be a separate but related contract to plant and seed the area we've disturbed with construction," Kagawa said.

Completion of the bridge is scheduled for late 2024.

Timeline
  • March 2023 – Girder placement;
  • Spring 2023 – Deck forming, utility installation (night work);
  • Summer 2023 – Deck pouring;
  • Fall 2023 – Substantial completion of the permanent bridge's superstructure;
  • Winter 2024 – Traffic switch to permanent structure;
  • Spring/Summer 2024 – Final earth work and removal of temporary structures;
  • Fall 2024 – Substantial completion of the project.

Equipment on site, the bulk of it owned by Wildish, includes:

  • 350-ton crane;
  • 100 and 200-ton crawler cranes;
  • Off-road forklift;
  • 80-ton pneumatic tire crane with diesel pile and vibratory hammers;
  • Caterpillar and Komatsu excavators;
  • Manitowoc 200-ton crane — Manitowoc 777;
  • P& H 100-ton crane;
  • Snorkel and Genie boom lifts;
  • Grove pneumatic tire crane;
  • Caterpillar dozer;
  • John Deere and Case rubber tire backhoes — John Deere and Case;
  • Hydra platform;
  • Ingersoll Rand sheep foot compactor.



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