Fast Track, Instant Track

by Vello Koiv, (M.ASCE), Riedel International, P.O. Box 3320, Portland, OR,
Bernard Hopfinger, (M.ASCE), Resident Engr.; HNTB, Kansas, MO,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 10, Pg. 56-58

Document Type: Feature article


There is a newly constructed railroad bridge over the Wilamette River in Portland, Oregon. The 499 ft. clear maritime channel allows the world's largest ships to navigate the last mile upriver to shipyards at the Port of Portland. A new center span for the 82 year old bridge was fabricated near one of those yards, floated into position and put into place during one 72 hour period in August. The changeover was the climax of a 28 million dollar, 30 month construction project that replaced the old center swing span. The new span, 516 ft. long and 3,940 tons, is the world's longest and heaviest double track vertical lift span. Workers constructed round the clock in 12 hour shifts, averaging 60 men at a time on the job—ironworkers, millwrights, electricians, operating engineers, plus the laborers for various subcontractors. On August 11th, the new bridge was completed ready at 10 a.m., but the first train did not cross until later in the day.

Subject Headings: Railroad bridges | Bridge-vehicle interaction | Rail transportation | Rivers and streams | Ships | Shipyards | Ports and harbors | Span bridges | Oregon | United States

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