Emergency contractors are working to put a temporary span into the Chamber Way overpass over the freeway within a matter of weeks, according to the state Department of Transportation.

One week ago, an oversize load smashed into the structure as it traveled south on I-5, causing damage that prompted the state to remove that section. This caused local traffic from Chehalis to follow a long detour to reach shopping on the west side of the freeway.

This weekend, WSDOT’s contractor will begin assembly of the temporary bridge, while state engineers and crews will be designing and fabricating the pieces to hold this replacement span in place on existing bridge piers.

“Reconnecting this major thoroughfare for the people of Chehalis is a priority,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator Kris Strickler. “While we are pleased that we’re moving forward with this temporary solution, there is still more work for us to do.” 

The temporary replacement bridge will be modular steel construction manufactured by Acrow Bridge, the same company that supplied a similar temporary space for I-5 across the Skagit River in 2013.

Once opened to traffic, there will be no load restrictions on the temporary Chamber Way crossing. Due to the confined space, there is no pedestrian access on the span, but WSDOT is evaluating potential solutions to that.