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Satsop Bridge closed for repair for three months

Monte-Elma Road will be closed both ways for about three months at the bridge over the Satsop River as the 76-year-old structure undergoes a major seismic retrofit and refurbishment starting this week and lasting until approximately Aug. 20.

The federally funded project is budgeted at $1.25 million and will entail extensive concrete work on the bridge’s foundation and a seismic retrofit that will include some steel work and installing cable restraints to the structure to help it withstand a temblor, according to Brandon Ainsworth, a construction engineer with Grays Harbor County.

“There’s a ton of concrete repair to be done,” Ainsworth said of the bridge’s aging foundation.

A search of a national bridge database notes that as of a 2012 inspection, the much-used steel truss bridge’s “bank protection was being eroded and that river control devices and/or embankment have major damage” and that “bridge foundations are determined to be unstable.”

The database said the bridge averaged 1,908 trips per day in 2012. Ainsworth said the latest figures he had showed the bridge averaging 1,750 trips per day in August of last year.

The bridge is also rated a “scour critical,” meaning it’s at risk of failure due to scour, which is the removal of stream bed material caused by swiftly moving water from around bridge abutments or piers.

While the bridge has been rated as “not deficient” since 2006, prior to that it was deemed “functionally obsolete” as far back as 1991, according to past inspections. The bridge was built in 1938.

Following construction work, being done by Rognlin’s Inc. of Aberdeen, the entire bridge will be painted, added Ainsworth, noting the color would be what’s called “Washington revised gray.”

Closure signing and detour routes will be in place in both directions throughout the summer.

For more information, call Ainsworth, the project engineer, at (360) 249-4222.