WILLOWDALE, OR -- A small bridge north of Madras is getting replaced, and the work could cause delays for drivers. Department of Transportation crews have been working on the small Trout Creek Bridge on Highway 97 for several months, but ODOT’s Abbey Driscoll says a major part of the project near Willowdale will occur Wednesday, "They’ll be placing beams this week, so that will require full closures of the bridge 20 minutes at a time. They’ll close both sides, get a truck on there, lay a beam and then open up one side at a time and let traffic run through and clear out."
The work is part of a larger, $15 million project
to make sure all of Highway 97 is ready if a large-scale quake hits Oregon, "We’re all preparing for the Cascadia Event, that could be imminent," Driscoll tells KBND News, "And if that happens, US 97 sort of becomes the new main through-route through Oregon. And so, part of that is just ensuring that all of our bridges on the east side of the Cascades are up to all seismic standards." A total of eight bridges will receive upgrades, "This is a two-year project, so we’re doing the majority of the work on the Trout Creek and Spanish Hollow Bridges - that we’re replacing - this year. And then, the retrofits of the six additional bridges will take place next year." The Spanish Hollow Creek Bridge and six others are just south of Biggs Junction, in the Gorge.