‘Leach Garden’ bridge vanishes – but will return

See how this old, closed-off outer East Portland bridge across Johnson Creek was dismantled, to make way for a new free-span crossing …

Looking north, toward Leach Botanical Garden, across the old 122nd Avenue Bridge, note that the pavement has been scraped off the surface, and workers are in the process of removing the railings.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

As promised by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) – and, to the delight of Pleasant Valley and Powellhurst-Gilbert residents , as well as those who frequent Leach Botanical Garden – the tottering, 122nd Avenue Bridge, closed to vehicle traffic for some time, has been removed, and work is starting to install a new bridge.

> CLICK HERE to learn many details about this bridge project,
in our article, “Rebuilding 122nd Avenue Bridge begins”.

By mid-July, workers were removing the railings from the bridge, thought to have been originally constructed in the 1900s – and later rebuilt, from the footings up, in the 1950s – and were beginning to scrape off the pavement over the decking timbers.

It doesn’t take long for contractors to remove the north end of the bridge, piers and all.

Although the water level is low this time of year, a temporary culvert (seen here, under the remaining south side of the old bridge) keeps  Johnson Creek flowing during the demolition and reconstruction.

“Workers channelized Johnson Creek into a temporary pipe as work began, removing the weather-worn creosote-treated bridge,” PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera told East Portland News.

Two giant excavators, one on each side of the ravine, first removed the decking, then the cross beams. It finally hoisted the wooden piers out, delivering them to truck trailers.

Equipment operators carefully place the removed planks from the bridge into a waiting trailer.

“Decades of dedicated service by the old bridge was wiped away in only one week’s time,” Rivera pointed out.

On July 26, Rivera added that, earlier in the week, the contractor had started excavation for the new foundations on the south bridge approach, near the main Leach Botanical Garden parking lot.

By this photo was taken on July 24, the old bridge had been completely removed.

“Temporary shoring will be installed on the north bridge approach, near the Leach Botanical Garden entrance, to stabilize the adjacent slope during the upcoming excavation and pile-driving for the new bridge substructure,” Rivera said, conceding, “The shoring installation and pile driving will create increased noise levels for several hours in the days ahead.”

It won’t be long until a new, free-span bridge will grace Johnson Creek in the area. PBOT illustration

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News


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