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Bridge’s 9-Year Paint Job Complete

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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After nine years and $56 million, the Lewis and Clark Bridge connecting Washington and Oregon finally has a new paint job.

The project was completed about one year after a painter fell to his death on the project.

The 84-year-old bridge over the Columbia River was painted in four phases, the Washington State Department of Transportation reported Wednesday (Nov. 13).

The three-year final phase was painting the superstructure. Odyssey/Geronimo JV was the contractor for the $40 million final phase, which took nearly 500 days and 26,500 gallons of paint. Part of the funding came from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Lewis and Clark Bridge
Photos: Flickr / WSDOT

Painting progress can be seen on the 84-year-old Lewis and Clark Bridge. The project took nine years and $56 million to complete.

The first phase, applying primer to steel under the deck during a deck replacement project, was finished in 2004. The middle phases, between 2006 and 2010, involved painting the towers in the Columbia River and supporting steel below the driving surface.

'Long Haul'

"It's definitely been a long haul," Lori Figone, WSDOT Project Engineer, said in a press release. "The Lewis and Clark Bridge is a large and complex structure, the kind of bridge that takes a lot of time and labor to preserve. But now we're done, and the new paint job should protect the bridge for about 20 years."

The Lewis and Clark Bridge first opened to traffic in 1929. The bridge spans the Columbia River between Longview, WA, and Rainier, OR, and carries about 21,000 vehicles per day.

Washington Department of Transportation

The bridge towers 340 feet over the Columbia River and connects Washington and Oregon.

With three spans, the bridge's total length is 5,478 feet. The bridge was last painted in 1984, and deteriorating coatings had exposed the steel to weather, causing it to corrode.

The contractor had to blast-clean the bridge to bare metal before applying five coats of a specialty bridge paint. The bridge was painted in "Washington Gray," its historic color and one of four standard WSDOT bridge colors.

According to a WSDOT engineer, the bridge was painted with a moisture-cure polyurethane coating system manufactured by Wasser High-Tech Coatings.

Nex year, WSDOT plans to apply fresh lane striping and replace 69 lights on the bridge.

The cost was split evenly between WSDOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation, as stipulated in the states' Border Bridges Agreement. WSDOT was the lead agency for the project and managed its delivery with funding and design coordination from ODOT.

Bridge Painter Death

The project claimed the life of painter Charles William "Bill" Wiley Jr., 40, who fell into the Columbia River on Oct. 7, 2012, while working on the bridge. His body was recovered Nov. 3, 2012.

Bill Wiley
Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries

Bill Wiley Jr., 40, was killed when he fell from the Lewis and Clark Bridge and presumably drowned.

Wiley worked for Odyssey/Geronimo JV and was the third Odyssey employee killed on a bridge job since 2009.

According to Stavros Semanderes, the owner of Odyssey, Wiley had been wearing a harness, but had failed to tie off.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries investigated the death and cited Odyssey/Geronimo JV for exposing employees to fall hazards of 10 feet or more. The assessed penalty was $3,900.

According to the citation document, Wiley fell approximately 200 feet off of the bridge, and when his body was discovered, both ends of both lanyards were attached to his harness, indicating that he could not have been tied off when he fell.

On the same day that Wiley's body was discovered, several employees of Odyssey/Geronimo JV were observed working on temporary decking over lanes of traffic on the bridge wearing harnesses that were not tied off, according to the citation document.

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 1 p.m. ET Nov. 21 to include information received from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and at 9:30 a.m. ET Nov. 22 to include coating system information from WSDOT.

   

Tagged categories: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Fatalities; Government contracts; Painting Contractor

Comment from Chuck Pease, (11/19/2013, 7:40 PM)

Why no mention from Odessey why they are losing so many bridge painters. In addition, why isnt there any further info on WISHA's allegeded investigation. I can attest Bill was not the kind of guy who would cut corners on fall protection. RIP Wiley Coyote.


Comment from Willie Mandeno, (11/20/2013, 4:08 AM)

And why no mention of the paint system used and who supplied it?


Comment from Jodi Temyer, (11/22/2013, 9:47 AM)

According to a WSDOT engineer, the bridge was painted with a moisture-cure polyurethane coating system manufactured by Wasser High-Tech Coatings.


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