The northbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed at milepost 60 for several hours on Thursday after a log truck struck the state Route 506 overpass near the Vader and Toledo area.
The overpass itself has been closed since an oversize load damaged the southbound span of the bridge on July 6, 2021. The southbound portion of the span was removed earlier this summer.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) closed the interstate at about 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22.
“Our bridge crews are en route to inspect the structure. We will provide updates as we get them,” said WSDOT in the initial closure announcement.
“We did have contractor personnel and a bridge inspector out there when the bridge strike happened, and I’m really happy that we’re here talking about property damage and not about injury,” WSDOT Chehalis Area Engineer Paul Mason told a Chronicle reporter on Friday. “All in all, this went as good as it can for a bad situation.”
During the closure, WSDOT diverted traffic up and over the ramps and back onto the highway.
WSDOT announced I-5 was back open around 2:40 p.m.
Both directions of I-5 have been intermittently closed over the last few weeks as crews began work related to the replacement of the damaged southbound span of the overpass.
That project was scheduled for completion this fall at a cost of $833,000.
“Prior to the bridge strike yesterday, we were targeting a late October opening for the SR 506 bridge,” Mason said Friday.
Contractors have so far demolished the damaged southbound section of the bridge and placed pedestals that the breakers will eventually sit atop, according to Mason.
The next step, placing girders, was scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 29 prior to the Sept. 22 bridge strike.
“We’re still evaluating whether or not to proceed with that relative to the bridge strike that happened yesterday,” said Mason on Friday. “As it sits right now, we’re planning as though we are proceeding, but that’ll be subject to change.”
WSDOT will make a decision by Monday afternoon whether to proceed with the scheduled girder placement.
With construction on the southbound span of the overpass already underway, WSDOT is considering several different options for repairing the now-damaged northbound span, including potentially adding the work to the existing construction contract.
“We’re evaluating our options,” said Mason.