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Biggs Rapids-Sam Hill Bridge getting a makeover


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FINISHING TOUCHES The Biggs Rapids-Sam Hill bridge is going through final stages of refurbishment. Back in 2008, the decking was replaced and improvements were made to the guardrails. This year it is new paint and improved on and off ramps in conjunction with I-84 on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

Rust spots and peeling paint are signs that time is catching up with the exterior of the US 97 Biggs Rapids-Sam Hill Bridge. The 52-year-old structure spanning the Columbia River connecting the communities of Maryhill, Wash. and Biggs Junction, Ore., is due for a makeover beginning this month.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin by stripping the worn paint, then apply primer to the bare steel and paint it with several coats of specialty bridge paint, which is designed to hold up to the weather in the Columbia River Gorge. The bridge was last painted in 1988.

"It costs a lot less to paint a bridge than it does to replace a bridge," said...

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