Saturday, May 18, 2024

Orchard Bridge (aka Icicle Bridge) construction

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Work began on Thursday, June 16 to rehabilitate the bridge located one-mile up icicle road, the Cascade Orchard bridge. The surface of the bridge has deteriorated, and moisture easily penetrates the deck, interfering with the integrity of the steel in the bridge, according to the county.

Traffic will be one lane for the duration of the project, with automated signals or flaggers used to get cars across the bridge. Construction will take about 60 working days with a thirty-day total closure of the bridge scheduled in mid-August. A detour will be available around East Leavenworth during the closure.

Chelan County Public works have tried quick fixes on the bridge multiple times in the past, but now a more permanent fix is necessary, according to the county. The contractor, MJ Hughes Construction of Vancouver, WA., will remove 1.5 inches from the surface of the concrete bridge deck and replace it with a concrete overlay that should last thirty or more years.

During the project, taller bridge railing will be put in place and the sidewalks will be widened to meet ADA standards. The sidewalks will be lower down to the roadway when construction is finished and approaches to the sidewalk will be repaired.

Because of the widening of the sidewalk, each travel lane will be reduced by 1.5 feet. However, the travel lane will still be wider than the average on Chelan County roads. Bicyclists will continue to use the roadway to cross the bridge after the sidewalks are updated.

During construction, parking under the bridge will remain open, even when the bridge is completely closed. During closure of the bridge, emergency vehicles will have priority to cross the bridge. For some period during the closure, emergency vehicles will need to use the East Leavenworth detour.

According to the county, the closure of the bridge is necessary to remove the deck surface, perform repairs on the reinforcing bars, repair deeper areas of damage, and place a new deck surface. The bridge deck is being replaced instead of the bridge being replaced entirely because a new bridge would cost millions of dollars and take years to secure.

Further, the damages on the bridge are mainly limited to its deck. The $2.26 million project will be paid for with federal dollars from the Surface Transportation Block Grant program. Any remaining costs in the project will be paid through county road funds.

Historically, there have been several bridges at the location of the Cascade Orchard Bridge, according to the county. The original bridge in 1905 was named after a piece of property called Cascade Orchards near the bridge. The current bridge was completed in 1965 and replaced a steel truss bridge. At the time, constructing a bridge using prestressed concrete was novel and the bridge brought some national attention to the city of Leavenworth.

Icicle Bridge, Construction, E26

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