New procurement method deployed for bridge replacement

The new Willamette River Bridge is 50% complete. The southbound structure (foreground) stands in striking comparison with the original bridge (background). Photos: Oregon DOT

The new structure is a pair of arched bridges that touches down in the Willamette River once. The concrete arches get their shape and strength from cages made from “#18 vert;” at 13 pounds/foot, the largest rebar available. With such a heavy frame, the arch ribs will tip the scales at more than 11 million pounds (photo below explains how they'll be supported). Here, two crew members put the finishing touches on an arch reinforcement cage.

With the formwork removed, the beauty and grace of the new Willamette River Bridge is revealed. The weight of the concrete arches is fully supported by large caissons poured deep in the ground on either bank and in the middle of the river.

Beams of light fall on the southbound bridge, highlighting its elegant arches. Here, crews finalize the new bridge columns and prepare to install the bridge deck.

Residents of Eugene and Springfield, Ore., track the project's progress from a pedestrian viaduct that crosses the river.

Before and after: When Oregon's 50-year-old Willamette River Bridge (inset) was deemed structurally deficient, the state used construction manager/general contractor (CM/CG) for the first time to replace the original I-bulb structure with a more attractive deck-arch design pictured in the rendering at top of page. Rendering: OBEC Consulting Engineers

Completion of the new southbound bridge (shown here from the west) marks the halfway point of the Willamette River Bridge replacement, which is scheduled to be finished in 2013.

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