Highway 37 bridge project

The Oregon Department of Transportation in 2020 plans to shut down this 67-year-old railroad overpass bridge on Highway 37 in Umatilla County for five weeks while crews work on major repairs. To find out more about the project, visit http://openhouse.oregondot.org/uprr-at-cold-springs.

PENDLETON — The Oregon Department of Transportation announced plans to close a railroad overpass bridge on Highway 37 for five weeks in 2020.

The 67-year-old bridge is approximately 1.2 miles east of the junction with U.S. 730 and 30 miles northwest of Pendleton. Cracks in the concrete, worn girder bearings, gaps in bridge joints and more have accumulated from decades of use. The state transportation department conducted maintenance over the years but now must shut it down for major repairs, including to the support structure and road surface.

ODOT is providing an online open house on the $1 million project at http://openhouse.oregondot.org/uprr-at-cold-springs. The open house closes May 30.

The road at the site is 26 feet wide, according to ODOT, which is too narrow to accommodate repair crews and traffic at the same time. When construction begins in early 2020, traffic may be down to one lane, causing traffic delays less than 20 minutes. But ODOT will close the bridge to all traffic for about five weeks sometime between March 15 and May 1.

After that span, single lane closures could continue.

Depending on the direction of travel, motorists will need to use Highway 395 and Interstate 84 to detour around the closure. Local county roads will not be an alternative for freight or other large vehicles, according to ODOT, due to sharp corners, narrow widths, substandard base and other issues.

“We know closures are frustrating,” according to the announcement from ODOT. “We are working to minimize traffic impacts. The project will result in a safe and efficient bridge for decades to come.”

ODOT also reported it expects the completion of the bridge design this fall and the completion of the project by the end of 2020.

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