I-5 Bridge closure rescheduled

Northbound lanes will close Saturday, Sept. 19 for nine days; heavy traffic expected in area

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Oregon and Washington transportation officials have rescheduled the nine-day closure of the Interstate 5 Bridge’s northbound span.

Originally set to begin Sept. 12, transportation officials agreed last week to postpone the closure in case the highway was needed to help evacuate those affected by wildfires in Northwest Oregon.

The new closure will now begin Saturday, Sept. 19 and end Sunday, Sept. 27.

The closure will impact the bridge’s northbound span, where crews plan to replace mechanical parts that help lift and lower the bridge. The southbound span will remain open to traffic in both directions.

Heavy traffic is expected to impact I-5, Interstate 205, state Route 14 and Interstate 84 around Vancouver and in North Portland during the closure.

Travelers crossing the Interstate Bridge in both directions will share the three existing lanes and sidewalk on the southbound bridge. A movable concrete barrier will shift the lanes to allow for two lanes of traffic to travel in the heaviest direction during commute times. For example, during the morning commute, the bridge will have two southbound lanes and one northbound lane open. During the evening commute, the bridge will have one southbound lane and two northbound lanes open.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has warned that, if travelers do not change their driving habits during the bridge closure, and if traffic levels are at normal levels, the length of back-ups on I-5 may double to four miles and the region may experience up to 16 hours of congestion per day.

WSDOT scheduled the bridge closure for September due to the low river levels, which allow most vessels to travel under the Interstate Bridge without a bridge lift.

Four ramps in the project area will close for traffic control and to ensure a safe work zone, including:

* Marine Drive on-ramp to I-5 north in Portland.

* Hayden Island on-ramp to I-5 north in Portland.

* I-5 north to Highway 14 off-ramp in Vancouver.

* Highway 14/Washington Street on-ramp to I-5 south in Vancouver.