New I-5 bridge delayed until further notice

Shasta Viaduct bridge under construction.jpg

The Sidehill Bridge on southbound Interstate 5 near Turntable Bay Road exit will eventually be replaced by a new bridge currently being built right next to it called the Shasta Viaduct bridge.

The $25 million project for the 810-foot long arch bridge was scheduled to be done by December of this year, but work has been put on hold temporarily.

According to the structural engineer of the project, Glen Lawson, it’s because of the bridge deflection.

"When we built the arch, as we were moderating the arch, we had some lateral deflection that we experienced and we're just taking some time to analyze that and make sure that the structure we're building is safe," said Lawson.

Deflection is the movement of a body from its original position under a force, load or weight of the structure. But to be clear, Larson says the bridge is not shifting.

Caltrans Chief of Structure Design Gudmund Setberg said, "This delay is not expected to significantly impact the schedule and we are still on track to deliver a state of the art new bridge and roadway by the end of the 2018 construction season, as originally planned."

However, Lawson said this issue will affect the budget.

"There will be a cost related to the delay," said Lawson.

He did note that drivers won’t be affected.

"We have two lanes of traffic open on I-5 during the delay so there should be no disturbance to the traveling public," said Lawson.

Lawson noted that drivers shouldn’t be concerned about safety.

"No, but that's just why we're taking the extra time, because of it's unique nature and we want to make sure that we're building a safe and dependable structure to the public," said Lawson.

A resident engineer on the project said an estimate on when they will get the analysis results will be approximately three weeks. Based on the results, they'll decide on the next course of action to take. Until then, the construction on the bride is being delayed until further notice.

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