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Prep work for the project to replace the Van Buren Bridge will lead to some lane closures and parking space reductions on the bridge approaches starting today and running through June 20.

The early design work on the bridge job, said Savannah Crawford, project manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation, includes geotechnical explorations that will affect both lane availability and parking spaces.

Today, Friday and Saturday there will be single-lane closures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Van Buren Avenue between Second and First streets as well as closure of some parking spaces. Additional parking spaces will be closed sporadically between May 29 and June 20 on First Street to give crews access to Riverfront Park.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 21-24 the left and center lanes of Van Buren between Second and First will be closed. Motorists will not be able to turn left from Van Buren onto First, with bridge access and those wishing to turn right on First confined to the right-hand lane.

Eastbound Van Buren motorists seeking to access the parking lot on First Street should use Northwest Tyler Avenue as an alternate. Detour signs will be in place, Crawford said.

The bridge replacement project is scheduled to cost about $69 million, with construction scheduled to begin in 2022. No decisions have been made regarding the status of the old bridge, which was built in 1913 and is functionally obsolete as well as seismically unsafe.

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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