The Birch Creek Road Bridge near Milton-Freewater will be closed beginning Monday as the 112-foot structure is replaced. The Oregon Department of Transportation announced drivers needing access to Birch Creek Road on the opposite side of the bridge will have to detour along Highway 11 and Eastside Road.

The department’s Bridge Inspection Report of Oct. 15, 2009, lists the condition of the bridge as critical, with a sufficiency rating of 15.3. According to the agency, a rating of 50 or lower means replacement is recommended as soon as possible.

ODOT estimates the project, including road work, will cost about $4.25 million and continue through the summer of 2018.

And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported repair work is in progress on the Milton-Freewater levee system’s Nursery Bridge drop structure on the Walla Walla River.

The drop structure provides for fish passage, prevents riverbed degradation and allows irrigators to divert water, according to a written statement from the Corps’ Walla Walla District. The structure has sustained damage and undergone multiple repairs since its installation in 1967, the Corps stated, and high flows in 2015 caused the most recent damage.

The Corps reported LKE Corporation, Washougal, Washington, won the $357,000 contract for the work to help protect the structure’s gabions — metal, cage-like boxes filled with rocks — by adding rocks across the gabion mattress downstream of the drop structure. Members of the Milton-Freewater Boy Scout Troop 315 will acquire 275 willow cuttings to plant in the repair area. The Corps stated the project should wrap up by October.

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