To New Heights: The Hood River Bridge Motor Controls
Updated: Jun 8, 2019
It isn't everyday that our journeymen are met with the unique and challenging experience of performing their work at 170 feet in the air, suspended over the beautiful Columbia River; but in the months of March and April that's exactly what they did.
A Brief History of the Hood River Bridge:
Built by the Oregon-Washington Bridge Company and opened on December 9th 1924, the Hood River Bridge is the 2nd oldest bridge spanning the Columbia River. It exte the width of the Columbia at river mile 169 at 4,418 feet between Hood River, OR and White Salmon, WA. Purchased in 1950 by The Port of Hood River, this bridge has since become a main route for land travelers with a whopping 4 million visitors per year.
The Columbia River is quite the passage way not only for recreational vessels but for working ones as well, making the Hood River Bridge a through-truss lift bridge to accommodate the ever changing traffic that travels the Columbia- this is where we come in.
Replacing the Motors and Controls: A New Challenge for Our Crew
While replacing the lift span motors, controls and skew system wasn't necessarily a challenge, as that's something our crew has done hundreds of times; working in the air, while being constantly tied off was. Our first challenge was talking a select few brave souls into getting up there- this crew is used to some heights but not like this. Luckily for us a few of our electricians have experience in the wind industry and were very familiar with the requirements. To prepare we also had specifically tailored safety meetings to discuss the challenges on the road ahead.
Secondly, we had the obstacle of scheduling. The bridge would need to be closed for some of the work that needed to be performed and test runs of the lift would need to occur, as well. The Port of Hood River supported us wonderfully on working around these necessities but that also brings us to another road block- our guys would need to work nights to accommodate the travel of bridge.
Bret, Cody, Mike and Chris were rock stars with all of the hurdles that this project threw their way. They worked nights, they worked long hours, they worked 170 feet in the air and at the end of the day the bridge motor controls are running the bridge lift in half the time it previously took. We're proud of our crew and thankful for this team-building experience.