Tri City Blue Bridge Down to 1 Lane Soon For New Paint Job
The actual name of the bridge is the Pioneer Memorial Bridge, but we know it as The Blue Bridge. It is where Highway 395 crosses the Columbia River. It opened in 1954, and now the Washington State Department of Transportation says it needs a complete new paint job. The bridge was built to replace the old 'green bridge' that stood where the Ed Hendler Cable Bridge crosses the Columbia, that road is known as SR 397.
Preliminary work to begin in December, but one lane will begin in January 2024
According to WSDOT, beginning in January, the bridge will be down to one lane of travel north and south, and this will persist for the better part of a year. According to the WSDOT website:
"The existing paint on the Blue Bridge is faded, weathered, and damaged and this allows corrosion to occur. Crews will remove the old peeling paint, clean and paint all exposed metal and apply new paint to the entire bridge structure. Crews will also work to complete minor maintenance and repairs such as replacing rivets and signage."
The last time the bridge was completely repainted was nearly 20 years ago, in 1994. Motorists are encouraged to utilize either the Ed Hendler (cable) Bridge or the I-182 bridge by Richland if they wish to avoid one-lane travel.
It is important to note the speed limits will be lowered during this project. According to WSDOT:
"In order to safely access the top portion of the bridge, WSDOT will eventually close both the northbound and southbound right lanes, reducing the bridge to one lane in each direction for several months. WSDOT will also lower the speed limit across the bridge from 55 to 45 mph. People can expect added travel time while work continues and, during peak hours, are likely to experience long delays."
If you're wondering if the color will change, it will not. Scott Klepach of the WSDOT Communications Department told us in an email it will be repainted the same blue sheen, it's formally known as "Air Force Blue."
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Gallery Credit: Sarah Jones
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