Traffic backs up on U.S. Highway 101 near the Elwha River bridge during a bridge closure Sunday morning. (John Gussman)

Traffic backs up on U.S. Highway 101 near the Elwha River bridge during a bridge closure Sunday morning. (John Gussman)

Closures of the Elwha River bridge on U.S. Highway 101 possible this morning

The chance follows a series of closures Monday night, but after that, no closures are expected for the rest of the week.

PORT ANGELES — Closures of the Elwha River bridge on U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles are possible this morning after a series of closures Monday night, but after that, no closures are expected for the rest of the week.

Multiple closures lasting 40 to 45 minutes each occurred at the bridge Monday afternoon until about 8 p.m. while crews demobilized drilling equipment, hauling it up to the bridge deck, according to Claudia Bingham Baker, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

After this, no closures are expected this week, although they may resume later, she said.

Crews have been drilling bore samples along the bridge’s two piers, resulting in intermittent hour-long closures, as they explore the degree of erosion. Sediment from the former Lake Aldwell and high water has scoured the riverbed in which the piers sit.

Crews have not collected all the data they need, Bingham Baker said Monday, but plans have changed because of a storm the National Weather Service has forecast to come into the area on Friday.

Large boulders will be placed around the base of each of the piers to retard the rate of erosion.

“They want get the rip-rap in place before the water level rises because of the storm,” Bingham Baker said.

The rip-rap work will not require traffic closures on the bridge.

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