PORTLAND — Not even two years since being installed, the fiber reinforced polymer deck on the Morrison Bridge is showing signs of wearing prematurely.
“Deck attachments for some panels have loosened. County staff have monitored the deck surface regularly in recent months as a precaution,” said Mike Pullen.
A lane will be closed for the next month and a half so crews with Multnomah County can inspect the lift span. The middle eastbound lane will be closed weekdays from 7am to 3pm for about three weeks. After the first inspection is complete, the outside westbound lane will be off limits.
With the help of a forensic engineer, crews will determine what panels need to be replaced and they’ll be secured with a more durable fastener. The information they learn will help determine a long-term solution.
The county is suing Conway Construction of Ridgefield for $2 million over the failures of the project, but the company has asked a judge to reject that claim. Their attorney says the county knew that the polymer decking was inferior, but were told to use it anyway. Conway has in turn sued their suppliers, ZellComp and Strongwell Corp. for more than $1.3 million.
The decking was finished in March of 2012 and soon began to come apart. Screws had come loose, corners cracked and drivers complained of a loud flapping noise. The county says the bridge is still safe for the 50,000 travelers who cross the span daily.