An insurance claim and supporting investigations continue for the Hood River Interstate Bridge allision, with the Port of Hood River devoting a significant amount of staff time and resources to assist in identifying the responsible party.
Port representatives believe the north lift span support of the bridge was struck by a barge tow last September, resulting in damage to the concrete pier and cable connection points of the lift span. To date, engineering evaluations, a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) investigation, and coordination with ACE, which provides insurance for the bridge, are either complete or underway.
HDR Engineering has evaluated apparent damage to the lift span and pier concrete, including a tower survey, evaluation of the lift span structural, mechanical, and electrical systems, and preparation of a Lift Span Assessment Report. Past inspections provide baseline comparisons of the bridge condition before and after the incident.
Key findings indicate there is concrete pier and lift span damage, the north tower is out of plumb, span guides are rubbing on guide rails, and there is socket slippage. Vibrations are severe at a full lift height.
David McCurry of HDR Engineering emphasized there is no danger for vehicular traffic on the bridge. Short-term actions include repair of skew controls, deck seating, expansion joint gap, span guide systems and monitoring tower alignment. Cost for these short-term actions range from $5,000-$80,000. McCurry also recommended replacement or rehabilitation of the wire ropes in the next two to five years, with an estimated to cost in the $800,000 to $1 million range.
ACE has assigned a subrogation team that includes a Portland adjustor and Seattle law and engineering firms to identify a party responsible for the damage. After contacting the USCG, the Port also took steps to aggressively pursue an investigation, retaining a law firm that hired a marine surveyor, accessed lock records, communicated with major Columbia River tow boat operators, and inspected some barges. Maritime traffic records have been obtained and closer scrutiny is underway in an attempt to identify the specific tow that may have impacted the bridge.