I-205 reopens after bridge joint failure causes lane closure, delays

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Transportation says Interstate 205 reopened at 2:10 p.m. after a bridge joint malfunction on the Tualatin River Bridge on Tuesday morning.

The left lane and part of the right lane of southbound I-205 was closed at milepost 4, ODOT said. Traffic slowly got by on the shoulder and part of the right lane before crews got the road reopened.

The repairs wrapped up late in the afternoon.

ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said the joint malfunction was caused by wear and tear. He said the stretch of road has been in place since 1970.

He said the ruptured joint was reported by a motorist.

Mike Gehring, who oversees the more than 900 bridges in the state, said over time cracks form under heavy use.

Gehring said the Tualatin Bridge, is inspected every two years as are all other bridges to prevent situations like Tuesday's.

"Lots of heavy loads, lots of traveling, and over time if there's any kind of movement or vibration, it can crack. ... It's possible that moisture got into it and during the freeze, caused it to break loose," Gehring said.

Gehring said he understands drivers' frustrations when traffic backed up for about seven miles during rush hour, explaining ODOT tries to plan preventative maintenance during overnight hours.