Repairing Barnards Bridge

We’re doing an emergency scour repair –
which means we had a footing that became undermined. What happened is there was
a massive pile of drift logs… debris that came down the channel – and a big storm
and got hung up on the bridge. So as they get hung up on the bridge, the water
becomes very violent and turbulent and tries to flow down under and around
those logs. And so actually having that big pile of debris, it looked like a
massive beaver nest that came up almost to the height of the bridge that caused
the water to force around it and under it, and then actually scoured say 20 feet
underneath the bridge – and as part of that hole that developed, one of the
footings became severely undermined. We heard that we were going to be doing a
project late in the year on the Middle Fork River, which is not the best
time to be doing the work, because the water is pretty high at this point. The
first question is, “what are we going to do with the water?” Because where there’s
water, there’s fish and aquatic invertebrates, and things that we need to
deal with. The proposal was that we would do a diversion structure to put all the
water into the east channel, which is the historic channel of the river. That
means that we have a long stretch of river channel that’s going to be deep
water, so we mobilized a pretty big team of biologists from around the state, and
we worked to get all the aquatic life out of that channel. This is kind of a
symptom of the fact that we have older structures in Oregon. You know if this
was a modern bridge, it would probably span most of this river instead of
having footings inside of it. The reason that this bridge was caught while it was
still safe was because we have dedicated crews that go out, and inspect and
identify defects – and so even though we have an older inventory, it’s not
necessarily unsafe. It just requires a lot more care.

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