Improvements are wrapping up along a wildly used stretch of U.S. Highway 101 that leads from Oregon into California.
The stoplight controlling one-lane traffic at Thomas Creek Bridge over Highway 101 is set to shut down any day now, according to Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Public Information Specialist Dan Latham.
Commuters will soon enjoy a 5-minute shorter drive by using both lanes.
The stoplight was installed to regulate traffic coming from both directions. The bridge was open with just a single lane during the multi-year, multi-million-dollar construction project.
Motorists who travel the route frequently may have noticed that workers began packing up the scaffolding and other equipment and loading it up onto trucks a few days ago.
Located 8 miles north of Brookings, the Thomas Creek Bridge, built in 1961, is Oregon’s highest, at 345 feet.
Bridges along the coastal highway are particularly vulnerable to wear and tear from traffic, marine-air corrosion, and occasional earthquakes, according to ODOT.
The paint on the bridge’s steel truss sections had deteriorated. The project, which began in August 2017, removed all existing paint, repaired areas where corrosion had damaged the steel, replaced damaged rivets, and repainted the 58-year-old bridge’s trusses and towers.
All of work performed on the bridge was below the deck, but containment structures could be seen from the bridge’s deck. Its surfaces had been rehabilitated in 2016.
“They completed work on the north tower a few weeks ago,” Latham said. “They are doing some touch-up work now, and removing the scaffolding and containment.
“Everything appears to be on schedule for completion this month.”
The painting work was contracted through S&K Painting, Inc.
The Thomas Creek Bridge work cost approximately $10 million, of an estimated $11.7 million slated for work on both that bridge and Reinhart Bridge south of Port Orford.