Brief

The Fast Cast Bridge System developed by Oklahoma-based Premier Steel was used to install a new bridge in one day on the Chehalis Reservation in southwest Washington state. The system in total takes several weeks to fabricate before installation using a modular steel frame.

 

Insight

he skies were dreary as they so often are in fall, but that didn’t stop a new, innovative bridge to be installed on the Chehalis Reservation. Installed by Premier Steel Services and The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in Oakville on Friday, October 22, the new bridge resolved a major safety hazard while simultaneously breaking ground for new bridge technology in the state.

The current Chehalis Reservation sits in southwest Washington and is comprised of 980 enrolled members. As for everyone, including the hundreds of individuals who live on the Reservation, access to and from their homes, farms and businesses is essential for everyday life, and the original bridge was posing major issues. After being historically problematic for its narrow frame, the bridge was damaged in October of 2019 and reduced to single-lane traffic throughout 2020, creating further problems for residents.

Being down to just one lane created major headaches as the faulty bridge is one of five located on Howanut Road, the only road that runs from east to west on the Reservation. Recently, housing on the west side of the Reservation has expanded, creating increased traffic on a daily basis. Additionally, the massive amounts of rainfall that this region experiences also poses problems for local bridges, especially those on the Reservation that connects to the Chehalis and Black Rivers.

With the bridge’s problematic nature in mind, Bryan Sanders, project manager and transportation planner for the Chehalis Tribe attended the National Transportation in Indian Country Conference (NTICC) in Big Sky, Montana in 2019. Here, Bryan heard about Premier Steel and their Fast Cast Bridge System. “I heard Andy give a presentation about the system and I was very impressed with the innovative approach to replacing a bridge and reached out shortly after returning to Washington,” explains Bryan.

 

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