Innovation, Sustainability Lead to Successful Completion of Sellwood Bridge

PORTLAND, Oregon (Mar. 1, 2017) – After five years of work, the Slayden/Sundt Joint Venture recently completed the new Sellwood Bridge for Multnomah County, Oregon.

The bridge replaces the deteriorating, 92-year-old original Sellwood Bridge, the community’s only crossing over the Willamette River for 12 miles. Sellwood Bridge is the state’s busiest bridge and was an iconic piece of architecture.

The new bridge, designed by T.Y. Lin International, is an open-spandrel steel deck arch structure that complements the immediate surroundings. The bridge features two vehicle lanes in each direction on the west end, which narrow to one lane in each direction on the east end. The bridge also has two six-foot-wide bike lanes and two 12-foot-wide sidewalks.

“This is a standout project for the people and the community,” said Ted Aadland, Sundt’s Area Manager.

The project team applied a variety of innovative approaches throughout the construction process. To allow traffic to continue flowing during construction, the Slayden/Sundt team used a “shoofly,” or detour bridge. The team lifted the old bridge deck and truss with hydraulic jacks and moved it to one side, placing it on a set of temporary support piers.

The shoofly method minimized bridge closures to avoid negatively affecting the thousands of drivers who use the bridge each day. The shoofly cut roadway closures to less than the 30 days called for in the contract, saved $5 million and took a year off the entire project schedule.

“The idea of moving the shoofly was definitely thinking outside the box,” said Aadland. “This was one of the longest bridge sections ever to be moved. The idea saved money on the project and reduced road closure days.”

Portland will be able to enjoy the new Sellwood Bridge for many years to come. Constructed out of weathering steel, the material rusts and oxidizes and protects itself. Common for steel bridges constructed today, the weathering steel reduces the need for constant re-painting of the bridge.

Sustainability measures were also an important element to the project. When Multnomah County asked the project team to clear a trail on the east side of the river, the team used a herd of 60 goats to chew brush on the site. The goats reduced the project’s energy use by eliminating the need for equipment to clear the brush, and the team reduced the environmental impact of disposing the cleared brush. The goats will return in the spring for additional clearing.

As Multnomah County residents enjoy their new bridge, they will be able to remember a piece of the original one. The Sundt/Slayden Joint Venture donated a segment of the old bridge to a local neighborhood for a permanent display. A piece of the historic bridge railing now sits in front of the SMILE Station at S.E. 13th and Tenino in Sellwood.



About Sundt
Sundt Construction, Inc. ( is one of the country’s largest and most respected general contractors. The 127-year-old firm specializes in transportation, industrial and building work and is known for its commitment to quality and innovative approach to construction services. Sundt has 10 offices throughout Arizona, California, Texas and Utah and is 100 percent owned by its approximately 1,800 employees. The company is consistently ranked among the Best Places to Work by business publications in multiple cities and in 2016 it was named the nation’s safest construction company by the Associated General Contractors of America for the second time in a decade – an honor no other contractor can claim. Sundt’s charitable arm, the Sundt Foundation, recently crossed the $7.7 million mark in donations made to hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country.


About Slayden Constructors

Slayden Constructors, Inc. is a leader in the construction industry. Founded in 1984, and based in Stayton, Oregon, Slayden is built on strong values, hard work and a commitment to getting the job done right. The success of this company is best expressed through their efforts in providing a safe workplace with respected employees and a committed management team. Their team approach to construction projects has provided steady growth in work volume, successful expansion of key management personnel and an extensive list of satisfied clients for more than 30 years. For more information, visit




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