Washington State Department of Transportation crew members work to replace a bridge joint seal on eastbound Interstate 90 near Thorp on Thursday.

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After a potential safety hazard resulted in a temporary inconvenience for drivers on Interstate 90 last Thursday, the Washington State Department of Transportation is working on a plan for a permanent fix to the problem.

A failed seal in a bridge expansion joint on eastbound Interstate 90 near Thorp resulted in a closure that involved rerouting drivers off the interstate for a significant part of the day. WSDOT Public Information Officer Summer Derrey said WSDOT maintenance crews came up with a temporary fix to the problem that involved removing the existing bridge joint seal and replacing it with a new one using industrial-grade foam and concrete.

Although the temporary fix will suffice for the moment, Derrey said the L-shaped bracket underneath the bridge structure that is aging will require a permanent replacement.

“The team is helping keep the highway open through general maintenance functions,” she said. “They completed the temporary repair until we can come up with a long-term solution.”

Derrey said the next step will be for a team of WSDOT bridge engineers in Olympia to design a fix to repair the bracket.

“They’re currently working on that,” she said. “They do believe the repair is sufficient in the interim.”

Although the plan hasn’t been finalized, Derrey said work on the permanent repair could begin as early as this spring and would most likely take under one month to complete.

“Due to the nature of the work, it is likely that there will be some single lane closures,” she said. “Not a full closure, but single lane closures for the safety of our crews working underneath the bridge.”

When the work is scheduled, Derrey said drivers will be notified via print and social media channels.


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