Port told Skagit-type collapse unlikely on HR toll bridge

Port board learns it will receive state grant for waterfront trail


News staff writer

The old bridge appears to be safe.

The Port of Hood River received a report Tuesday from its bridge engineer regarding the vulnerability of the Hood River Toll Bridge to accidents like the one which resulted May 23 in the collapse of a bridge over the Skagit River on Interstate 5 in Washington.

Bridge engineer David McCurry provided general analysis based on the Hood River bridge structure and type, compared to that of the Skagit River Bridge.

According to McCurry, only the lift span of the Hood River bridge contains a through-truss, the area that a semi-truck hit on the Skagit Bridge which caused the collapse.

Unlike the Hood River bridge, the Skagit bridge did not contain any contingency supports. On the Hood River bridge the two lift towers on either side of the span provide the through truss with stability and support.

According to McCurry, the main vulnerability on the Hood River bridge would be a vehicle striking one of the side rails. However, he said that a vehicle hitting the rail would be unlikely to collapse the bridge, as the bridge does not rely on the rails for stability.

Additionally, unlike the Skagit Bridge, vehicles drive above “deck trusses,” where the vehicular traffic is above the road and cannot impact the truss.

Speed limits on the Hood River bridge also help protect it. The Skagit Bridge saw vehicles crossing it at freeway speed — including the truck which hit the bracing frames leading to the collapse. Cars cross the Hood River bridge at much lower speed, which may reduce the risk of collapse since a passing vehicle cannot impact the bridge with as much “energy.”

McCurry added a disclaimer that the analysis was based on “generalization based on our knowledge of bridge types, behavior and vulnerability, and not the result of an actual analysis or engineering evaluation.”

In other business:

  • The Port received grant approval from Oregon Parks and Recreation for a bicycle-pedestrian trail along the west edge of the Nichols basin. The Port received $123,000 in grant funding, and with $35,000 in Port matching funds the 160-foot trail section will have a budget of $158,000. When completed the trail section will link up with the Hood River waterfront trail which runs west to the Hook.
  • The Port will continue its Lot 1 planning process later this month. The swath of land, which sits just north of the event site and west of slackwater beach, is one of the Port’s highest remaining development priorities. The Port will be holding a lunchtime meeting June 19 for stakeholders in the Lot 1 development. Representatives from local groups and the business community will meet with the commission to discuss their visions for Lot 1 development. It will be the first of several stakeholder meetings to be held throughout the summer.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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