Ashland bridge repair starts in March

An open house this week will help people learn more about a needed repair to the Water Street Bridge near the downtown Ashland Plaza.

The open house is set from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at the Plaza Inn and Suites, 98 Central Ave. Project plans will be shown and Oregon Department of Transportation staff will be available to answer questions.

The bridge, which handles northbound traffic on Lithia Way near the Ashland Plaza, needs repairs or else heavy vehicles, including commercial and fire trucks, won't be able to drive on it, ODOT officials said.

Contractor Wildish Standard Paving plans to start work in late March, when temperatures warm to more than 50 degrees. The contract end date is May 15, so crews will be done and the bridge completely open before summer crowds arrive in Ashland, officials said.

The contractor will start work under the bridge by injecting an epoxy-based glue in the interior girders and cross beams. Lithia Way traffic will not be affected during this first stage. However, this stage will require a week-long closure of Water Street to all vehicles.

The project will then transition to the top of the bridge for several weeks, when the asphalt on the bridge will be removed so anchors can be installed. Finally, the bridge deck will be repaved with asphalt. During these stages, traffic will be limited to a single lane on Lithia Way.

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