Railway bridge replacement project is on hold awaiting permit approval

Work is expected to begin again in June

Railway bridge replacement project is on hold awaiting permit approval

Work on the replacement of the Washougal River railroad bridge in Camas has been temporarily suspended as BNSF Railways completes the permitting process.

According to BNSF Spokesman Gus Melonas, crews had most recently been working on building the construction access bridge.

“We hope to get permitting authorization by June so that we can continue with the work,” he said.

Approximately 98 percent of the project’s construction will be completed from the access platforms adjacent to the bridge. However, a two-day closure of the bridge will take place, as the new structure is put into place.

The main span of the bridge will be replaced with a new steel structure that has a wider clearance. New piers will be installed, and the bridge’s foundation will be set deeper than it is now.

The new single track bridge will include a 203-foot through truss span, one 162-foot and 92-foot through plate girder spans, and two 42-foot pre-stressed concrete spans.

The existing bridge consists of two 200-foot through truss spans with 50-foot deck plate girder approach spans.

Preliminary planning work for the massive $10 million project began in late 2014, and Melonas said it is now about a year from being complete.

Originally built in 1908, over the years, work has been done to improve and maintain the bridge, but it has never been replaced. It is crossed by up to 40 trains in a 24-hour period. Routes that pass through the area run local, national and international.