Crews complete Oregon’s Whilamut Passage Bridge four months early

Rendering of the new Willamette River Bridge (Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation)Rendering of the new Willamette River Bridge (Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation)

[Correction: This article originally reported that the new bridges would “double highway capacity by accommodating three lanes of traffic with shoulders on each bridge.” However, the bridges will actually carry two lanes of traffic in each direction–the same as the old bridges. The incorrect statement has been removed.]

Crews completed construction last week of the northbound Interstate 5 Whilamut Passage Bridge over the Willamette River in Eugene, Oregon.

The bridge, which was completed four months ahead of schedule, is expected to reduce congestion and improve freight movement in the area.

“The new I-5 bridge will help drivers get home sooner and relieve freight congestion for businesses, while also maintaining the beautiful Alton Baker Park, including the Whilamut Natural Area,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the bridge’s ceremonial ribbon-cutting last week. “Equally important, by finishing the bridge four months early, we saved taxpayers money and delivered important benefits even faster.”

The northbound bridge will open to traffic in mid-August, joining the southbound bridge that opened in 2011. The two deck-arch bridges are 67 feet wide and 1,984.8 feet long and stand 63 feet above the water.

The combined bridge projects cost $204 million, including $30.3 million in federal funds.

The landscaping improvements to the nearby Alton Baker Park and Whilamut Natural Area are scheduled to be completed by December 2013, while improvements to bike and pedestrian amenities are scheduled for completion in 2014.

The I-5 area is expected to support more than 100,000 vehicles by 2040.