PENDLETON - The West Pendleton overpass project is under budget and ahead of schedule, a representative of the Oregon Department of Transportation told the Pendleton Kiwanis Club this week.

In a message filled with statistics, Heather McLoren, ODOT's interim overpass project manager, said the $8.9 million overpass will be completed before next September if the contractor stays on the current schedule.

Weaver Construction of La Grande already has 40 percent of the project done, she said. The contractor has completed most of the "in-water" work. Work in or near the Umatilla River must be completed by Oct. 15 because stream flow is lowest during this period.

McLoren said the contractor expects to begin setting girders for the bridge over the river in the next month. It will be a three-span structure crossing 475 feet, she said. The pavement will be about 40 feet above the water.

By the time the mechanically-stabilized earth walls are completed, they will use 2,220 interlocking panels, connected by 22,200 metal strips, McLoren said. The contractor has brought in 235,000 cubic yards of fill material for the project.

"Special attention was given so Eastgate would match Westgate," she said. "They're going to look real similar."

The "design life" of the overpass structure is 75 to 100 years, she explained.

Although remediation of hazardous materials has cost more than $154,000, or more than double what was budgeted, McLoren said the overall project is under budget so far.

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