The final year of the Burnside Bridge maintenance project in Portland will soon shift work to the north half of the bridge.

As part of the roughly $22-million project to refurbish the Multnomah County-owned crossing of the Willamette River, crews from Hamilton Construction will reopen the southern half of the bridge to traffic and close the northern half in late January or early February. Work on the two-plus-year project is expected to finish in November.

In 2015, Multnomah County took a look at the six Willamette River bridges it maintains and wrote a detailed report on the maintenance needs of the crossings. The Burnside Bridge offered the most in terms of needed updates. Work on the 1926-built bascule bridge aims to fix cracked and crumbling concrete, upgrade the electrical system for raising the bridge and fixing rusting issues on the steel framework.

Repairs have focused on the road surface, the bridge structure and the electrical and mechanical systems. Surface repairs include spot repairs to pavement, sidewalks, overhangs and railings while replacing expansion joints. Crews have also worked to repair cracks in the piers, repair the concrete columns supporting the bridge, including the beams and girders, and repairing and painting the steel trusses and internal steel towers connected to the piers.

Throughout the process the bridge will see a new drawbridge span lock and motor along with an upgraded power supply and drawbridge controls.

All throughout the repairs on the bridge, crews were also looking for ways to make the Burnside Bridge safer during earthquakes. As part of a separate Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project, one that will last another two to three years when it gets going, engineers will use information found during the maintenance project to inform a current study on keeping the bridge safe during an earthquake. The county has already started narrowing down options on how to improve the bridge for earthquake readiness, but those options run a spectrum of a new bridge to a complete seismic retrofit.

As work continues at Burnside, just down the river at the county-owned Hawthorne Bridge crews have also started a three-month project to repair and reinforce steel beams supporting the bridge’s off ramp above SE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The beams have been struck and damaged by trucks carrying high loads.

Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb