Concrete feat: 200 trucks delivering to the Sellwood Bridge

PORTLAND, Ore. - Two hundred concrete trucks will make their way in and out of southeast Portland's Sellwood neighborhood this weekend, delivering the concrete needed to complete the massive foundation for the big pillar on the east end of the new Sellwood Bridge.

"It's quite a beehive of activity," said Mike Pullen, a spokesman for Multnomah County, who estimates it'll take about 24 hours to finish the big pour. He said it's one of the biggest concrete pours of the project.

"The foundation is about the size of two townhouses," Pullen said.

It's 64 feet by 30 feet by 18 feet, or about 34,500 cubic feet. That's a lot of concrete.

"There's a concrete truck coming and going about every eight minutes, it takes them eight minutes to dump their load, then the next truck is up," Pullen said. "We have two pump trucks working."

They'll be dumping concrete on an eight-minute cycle until Saturday afternoon. The bridge will be open during that time, but drivers will see a lot of activity.

"We're basically seeing the new Sellwood Bridge rising out of the ground," Pullen said.

The foundation is basically a large box, filled with rebar. It'll also be outfitted with hoses and pumps to cycle river water through the foundation for 10 days as it cures. This amount of concrete can heat up while it cures, and will crack if it's not cooled down.

Pullen said that once the eastside foundation is finished, the $307 million bridge project will be 40 percent completed. They'll pour the foundation on the west end in a couple of months.

Pullen said the bridge project is on schedule. He expects the new Sellwood Bridge to open in the fall of 2015, with the entire project completed a year later.