West Cashmere Bridge: In-water construction window starts July 15

(Photo above: The two pilings to the left of the bridge show what will be the start of the work trestle. The 24-inch pilings will be vibrated into the riverbed during the in-water window.)


UPDATE AUG. 13, 2020: The temporary re-direction of paddlers and rafters is now expired. River recreationists are now asked to follow the signage at the work site, directing them closer to the south bank, or to the right. 


POSTED JULY 23, 2020: In-water work on the West Cashmere Bridge replacement project is progressing faster than expected, causing a temporary adjustment in how rafters and paddlers will pass the construction site along the river.

Beginning Friday, July 24, recreationists on the Wenatchee River will be directed to pass just left of the bridge’s center pier. The change is temporary and will last about two to three weeks. The new route will take river recreationists under the temporary work trestle that is being built, through a 48-foot clear area.

With the change in direction, construction signs along the river also will be modified to reflect the new instructions; they will read “stay left.” A banner marking the area to pass under will be at the construction site.

When approaching the construction site, rafters and paddlers also will see a floating work platform on the right side (south side) of the river. Avoid the work platform.

The construction crew has been working on the temporary work trestle since July 15, when the in-water work window started. The crew will be working in the river until Sept. 30. In that time, the 300-foot work trestle will be built as well as a cofferdam. On Thursday, the crew had completed 150 feet of the work trestle. Originally, the crew projected that one 50-foot section would take five working days to build. However, a section of work trestle is taking about three days.


POSTED JULY 9, 2020: Mid-July starts a new phase in construction for the new West Cashmere Bridge.

The project’s “in-water window,” or the time allowed for Chelan County’s contractor to complete work in the Wenatchee River, begins on July 15 and runs through Sept. 30. The in-water window will allow the contractor to build a temporary work trestle over the river that will serve as an important tool in the construction of the bridge’s superstructure.

An in-water window is common on any construction project that involves a local river or stream. It typically comes at the warmest part of the year, when water levels are at their lowest and fish life will be least jeopardized.

The window, specific to a river and its ecosystem, is determined by various state and federal agencies, which consider weather, water levels, aquatic habitats and the species of fish living in the body of water.

The Wenatchee River, which originates at Lake Wenatchee and flows 53 miles to the Columbia River, is home to federally protected endangered species, including bull trout, spring chinook salmon and summer steelhead. The 78-day, in-water window for the West Cashmere Bridge Replacement Project runs July 15 through September 30 -- both this year and in 2021.

This year, in-water work will primarily consist of the construction of a 300-foot temporary work trestle that will be built just downriver of the current bridge. The work trestle, which will sit on about 30 pilings that are 24 inches in diameter, will be built above the 100-year flood event elevation. It will remain there until the bridge is nearly finished.

The work trestle is necessary for the removal of the bridge’s trusses in September as well as the construction of the new bridge, including its girders, pier and deck.

During the 2020 in-water work window, the contractor also will install a cofferdam near the current bridge’s center pier. The cofferdam will create a dry working area where the new bridge’s center pier will be built. The center pier will be worked on over the winter. It will go in about 50 feet below the river and be about 10 feet in diameter.

Next year, much of the in-water work will focus on the removal of the work trestle. The new bridge will be nearly complete by September 2021, when the work trestle will need to be removed from the river.

Keep up on the progress of the new West Cashmere Bridge on the project's construction page.

Last Updated: 09/253/2020 08:25 AM

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