I-5 - Cowlitz River Bridges Painting

Project news

Needs & benefits

Bridge painting preserves the overall integrity of the structure and is more cost-effective than replacement. Steel truss bridges need to be regularly cleaned and painted to preserve their integrity and keep them in good working condition. The paint on the I-5 Cowlitz River Bridge is cracked, corroded and peeling in places. Areas of rust are also visible. Once repainted, the bridge will be protected from weathering and deterioration, extending its useful lifespan. If the bridge was not repainted, the steel would eventually deteriorate from rust.

How will the work be done?

  • Install a containment system to help protect the environment.
  • Construct a platform within the containment system to provide a work area for crews.
  • Sandblast to remove old paint and debris to expose bare metal.
  • Apply new primer and paint on the steel structure.
  • Remove the work platform and containment system.

What can travelers expect during construction?

WSDOT will work to keep people moving and minimize delays whenever possible. During construction, travelers will encounter intermittent nighttime single-lane closures on north and southbound I-5 over the Cowlitz River Bridge near Vader in Lewis County. There will be construction noise at night & during the day. Intermittent closures of the State Route 506 on-ramp to southbound I-5 will also be needed during construction.

Travelers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes, for additional intermittent, nighttime single-lane closures. This project is not expected to have impacts to river traffic. Construction is scheduled for completion in summer 2022.


  • Summer 2017 – Winter 2019: Project design
  • March 2020: Contract to be advertised for construction
  • Summer 2020: Construction scheduled to begin
  • Summer 2022: Construction scheduled for completion


Joanna Lowrey, WSDOT Project Engineer, 360-442-1350

Kathryn Garcia-Stackpole, WSDOT Communications, 360-905-2058

I-5 Cowlitz River Bridge Project Map Area