Banks, Highway 47, News

Highway 47 reopens just outside of Banks

After more than six months of closure, Highway 47 reopened Wednesday to traffic, opening the north end of the city of Banks once more. 

Originally closed in mid-May for a bridge replacement project over West Fork Dairy Creek, the project was delayed due to a snafu over utility lines in the roadway. Originally slated to open by October, the closure lingered. 

“The bridge has been replaced and the road opened to traffic today. We apologize for the delay,” the Oregon Department of Transportation said in a press release Wednesday afternoon. 

But work to finish the replacement of the 85-year-old bridge over West Fork Dairy Creek just outside city limits remains. 

“Because we didn’t have the right weather conditions to install the permanent bridge surface, we installed temporary asphalt to get the road reopened,” explained ODOT. 

“The permanent bridge surface will be a polymer concrete that requires specific weather conditions to install and for the material to set. Using polymer to bind the concrete makes it less likely to crack, more durable and resistant to conditions caused by changes in the weather,” the state highway department said.

But with cold and wet weather setting in, it won’t be until next year until the project can be completed, adding a second round of delays to the project. 

“We’ll return next spring to remove the temporary asphalt bridge surface and replace it with the permanent concrete bridge surface,” ODOT promised, but the agency didn’t yet have a date set in stone for project completion.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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