Lewis and Clark Bridge reopens to drivers Thursday afternoon

The Lewis and Clark Bridge reopens to cars 5 p.m. Thursday, wrapping up its repairs days ahead of schedule.

Washington Department of Transportation had originally said the bridge would be closed for six days and up to eight days during the work to replace a damaged floor beam and install new finger joints in the bridge.

“Things ended up going really smoothly. Every single item and activity was very much on schedule or ahead of schedule, so it all added up to reducing the closure,” WSDOT spokesperson Kelly Hanahan said.

Hanahan said there were fewer emergency responders who needed to access the bridge than the department had expected when it originally set the timeline. The beam and finger joints were installed ahead of schedule and before the wood chip fire broke out at Nippon Dynawave Tuesday afternoon. The burn never required support from Oregon, which limited its impact on construction despite the lumber mill’s proximity to the bridge.

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Hanahan said there would be no additional work on the bridge once it reopened other than minor routine maintenance. She thanked the first responders, contractors and Wahkiakum County Ferry workers that coordinated with WSDOT during the closure, as well as the public.

“We were honestly so impressed with how folks responded to this,” Hanahan said.

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