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The Dalles Bridge Deck Replacement Project

The Dalles Bridge (U.S. 197 at the Columbia River) bridge deck is aging and must be replaced. This project will replace the existing bridge deck, railings and improve existing lighting.

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Learn what this project will accomplish and why it is needed.
The project will replace the bridge deck, railings, lighting, and add stormwater treatment.
During the closure, detour routes will be in place to help traffic cross the Columbia.
Submit questions and sign up for project updates.

Background and Need

The Dalles Bridge is one of the major connections across the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington, but the bridge deck is aging and must be replaced. The existing bridge rail is also substandard and will be replaced with new bridge rail that meets current safety standards.

These changes are needed to maintain safe access across the bridge.


Several deck replacement options were considered as part of the project, each with different impacts to cost, closure duration and community mobility. After consulting with local stakeholders and reviewing the impacts of all methods, Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) was selected as the preferred approach.

ABC will allow deck panels to be built off-site and then moved into place. While more expensive than other approaches, ABC significantly reduces the closure time necessary for installation. Conventional and staged deck replacement techniques were considered as less expensive solutions, but would have closed the bridge for up to 8+ months and caused extended travel delays.

Who owns The Dalles Bridge?

The bridge is owned and maintained by ODOT.

How much will the project cost?

This project will cost $27,600,000. The project is being jointly funded (50/50) by ODOT and WSDOT. 

Will this project make improvements to sidewalks, travel lanes, or adjacent roads?

Due to the narrowness of the bridge, there will be no changes to lane widths or existing traffic patterns. The existing 4-foot sidewalk on the east side of the bridge will be replaced, but will not be wider than the current sidewalk.

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  • Worn Surface

    Worn Surface

    The worn-down road surface shows potholes that must be repaired.
  • Damaged Railings

    Damaged Railings

    Railings are showing cracks and signs of age.
  • Substandard Railings

    Substandard Railings

    Current railings will be replaced with a new, stronger barrier.
  • Damaged Concrete

    Damaged Concrete

    In some locations, rebar is exposed where concrete has broken away from the bridge deck.
  • Bridge Deck

    Bridge Deck

    Cracks are visible in bridge decking.
  • Bridge Deck

    Bridge Deck

    Cracks are visible in bridge decking.

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Bridge Improvements

The project will replace the current bridge deck and remove and replace the bridge rails and lighting. This project will also add guardrail at the bridge ends and include off-site stormwater treatment.

Video: Deck replacement process simulation.

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  • Deck Replacement

    Deck Replacement

    The project will use Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) to minimize closures. This process involves building sections of bridge deck off-site and using Self Propelled Modular Transporters to move the new sections into place. (Photo Credit: WSDOT.)
  • Lifting Truss

    Lifting Truss

    A specially designed lifting truss will be used to transport the new bridge deck into place and carry old sections away. (Photo Credit: WSDOT.)
  • ABC Process

    ABC Process

    1) Bring in new deck panel. Position truck for lifting old deck panel. 2) Lift old deck panel. 3) Move new deck panel into position. 4) Place new deck panel. 5) Drive off with old deck panel.
  • Railing


    The existing bridge railing and guard-rail will be replaced with new rail that meets current safety highway safety standards.
  • Lighting


    New lighting and wiring will be installed within a new electrical conduit that will be incorporated into the sidewalk on the east side of the bridge. The existing lighting will be removed and new light poles will be installed. In addition to street lighting, the project will include new boat and airplane navigational lighting.
  • Stormwater Treatment

    Stormwater Treatment

    Stormwater treatment is necessary whenever rain is likely to carry pollution off of impervious surfaces like roads and bridges. Due to the added cost and complicated maintenance for collecting stormwater on the current bridge, only offsite stormwater mitigation will be used for this project. The project will construct biofiltration swales to collect runoff within the I-84 median east of the project area. This site was selected to avoid impacts to cultural sites and areas of archeological significance in the immediate project area.

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Closure and Detours

Replacing the bridge deck will require limited full closures of The Dalles Bridge. These limited closure durations are possible due to the use of the ABC construction approach. Closure dates have been selected to minimize impacts to commuters, local agriculture and tourism.

Closure Details

  • Bridge Closure: There will be weekend bridge closures from 8 p.m. Thursday, to 6 a.m. Monday, between September 7, 2021 (Labor Day) and May 30, 2022 (Memorial Day). Expect nightly single lane flagger controlled closures and interruptions throughout construction.
  • Staging Area Closures: During bridge closures, travelers can expect intermittent closures and delays on US 197 north of The Dalles Bridge to allow deck panels to be transported to the bridge from the staging area. There will be no access to US 197 south of Dallesport Rd. during bridge closures.


Drivers will follow posted detours during closures:

  • Southbound US 197 Traffic - From the north end of the bridge, follow US 197 to Washington SR 14 (east). Take SR 14 to U.S. 97 (south) via Biggs Junction to I-84 (west) to U.S. 197 and The Dalles.
  • Northbound US 197 Traffic - From the south end of the bridge, take I-84 (east) to Biggs Junction and US 97 (north). Take Washington SR 14 (west) to reach U.S. 197.
  • Local Traffic (Washington) - When U.S. 197 north of the bridge is closed, local traffic will be detoured onto Dallesport Road to SR 14 and then east to U.S. 197.
  • Emergency Access - ODOT is working with U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to provide a temporary access route for emergency vehicles across the Dalles Dam during closure weekends.

Why Did ODOT Choose Weekend Closures?

This closure window provides the least amount of total closure hours, the shortest overall duration of the project, is the most cost efficient, and also allows ODOT the opportunity to mitigate concerns regarding emergency services, commuter traffic, and heightened summer traffic volumes.

By utilizing this closure window ODOT believes all significant bridge work requiring weekend closures can be completed between September 2021 and May of 2022. Nighttime only closures would have added an additional seasonal closure the following year into 2023. Weekend closures are 10-20% more cost effective than nighttime only closures due to the lost efficiencies of set-up and clean-up required each night. The weekend closures will also allow for the smallest impact to commuters, and a closure during fall and winter will avoid peak tourism and harvest months. ODOT will continue to work with emergency services to mitigate issues relating to emergency response.

Detour Map

Map showing detour via U.S. 97 in Biggs Junction while The Dalles Bridge is closed.

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Next steps

Thank you for your interest in the project. Submit comments and questions and sign up for project updates below.

Anticipated schedule

  • Design: 2019 - 2020
  • Bid Opening: Fall 2020
  • Construction: 2021 - 2022
  • Limited bridge closures from September 7, 2021 (Labor Day) through May 30, 2022 (Memorial Day)

For more information

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