Getting out of Corvallis on the new Van Buren Bridge should be a breeze — in about four years. That’s how long ODOT figures it will take to complete construction of the $85 million project, which is starting now.
Ellen and Ron Teninty explained the bridge project to people at the Albany Farmers Market on Saturday. They also reminded people about what’s happening on the Albany-Corvallis Highway at the junctions with Independence Highway and Granger Road.
Based in Eugene, they are contractors for the state transportation department, working on public outreach, which is what brought them to the market.
The main points about the bridge that interested me: It will have two travel lanes, plus a bike lane on the right, plus a wide protected path for walkers and cyclists, or presumably skateboarders. The traffic and bike lanes will be eastbound only. On the path you can go either direction.
First, the project calls for construction of a temporary bridge to handle traffic during construction. The temporary bridge will allow fire trucks and other heavy rigs once again to cross the Willamette River there. Now they can’t because the old bridge is weight-restricted.
Also, a work bridge will be built to support the heavy equipment used to construct the new highway crossing.
The old single-lane bridge, dating from 1913, will be demolished. I understand it’s to be “recycled,” though I’m not sure what that means. Maybe small parts can be saved for display in a museum.
ODOT has an animated video on the new structure. You can find it here.
Meanwhile, for a few days starting Sunday you can’t make left turns on or off Highway 20 at two places because of construction. First this will be the situation at Independence Highway. When the work there is finished after a few days, the restriction moves to Granger Road.
I’m not sure how this will affect traffic. But if I had to commute between Albany and Corvallis, I would find another route until these and other scheduled safety improvements are complete. (hh)