Benton County Seeks Bids to Rehab Iconic Irish Bend Bridge

The county has scheduled repairs for the iconic Irish Bend Bridge, and is seeking bids from contractors.

One of three covered bridges in Benton County, the Irish Bend Covered Bridge showcases a standard Highway Division design dating back to the 1920s, this example hails from a 19554 construction project.

It provided access across the Willamette Slough on Irish Bend Road, about 15 miles south of Corvallis. Following installation of two large culverts and realignment of the road in 1975, the Irish Bend covered span languished in place until it was dismantled in 1988.

After that, the bridge was reconstructed on university property. It crosses Oak Creek and is part of the Campus Way Multi-Use Path that travels through the research farm between 35th and 53rd Streets on the west side of campus. The effort to rebuild the bridge was a joint effort between the county and the Irish Bend Advisory Committee – the committee raised $30,000 for the rebuild, and the county matched it with equal funds.

According to the county, the bridge was originally listed in the Register of Historic Places in 1979, but then delisted when it was moved. The bridge was again relisted in 2013.

About the rehab project, here is a condensed version of a Benton County release on the subject:

The Irish Bend Covered Bridge rehabilitation project is scheduled to go out for bid in September 2019, with construction to follow in fall 2019. Improvements will include a minimum of painting, fumigating, and a new roof. These repairs will help limit the amount of damage to the wood structure because of water and/or bugs.

The project also includes a fire sprinkler suppression system as the historic structure is located off-system and far away from existing fire hydrants, placing it at risk of vandalism. Other improvements include minor paving and miscellaneous structure repairs.

The estimated construction cost for the rehabilitation project is $305,000, which will include funding sources from the State Transportation Enhancement Discretionary Funds Federal Covered Bridge Preservation Program.

Maintenance has been deferred since the 1990’s when it was originally re-located and continued deferral will lead to failure of this historic resource.

For more information please contact Engineering & Survey Program Manager, Laurel Byer at 541-766-6013 or laurel.byer@co.benton.or.us.