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Cranes placed the Gilkey Bridge trusses back into place Tuesday morning. The $1.6 million renovation project is targeted to be completed in November. 

SCIO — In July, two large cranes lifted 57 tons of timber trusses from the Gilkey Covered Bridge and gently placed the huge wooden beams onto Goar Road.

On Tuesday morning, the process was reversed by operators with Ness Crane from Portland.

It took only about 90 minutes, according to County Engineer Chuck Knoll.

Over the last two months, the trusses and bridge abutments were repaired and the process of buttoning up the covered bridge begins.

Repairs included installing new pressure-treated timber bottom truss chords; making epoxy repairs to damaged top timber chords; adding steel side plates on timber chords to increase strength; installing a new timber roof truss, structural members and cedar shingle roofing.

Before the July move, work crews removed the roof, siding, floor stringers and deck to lighten the structure so the cranes could lift it.

“The next step will be to install a new timber deck as a work platform and then a new roof to protect the trusses from the rain,” Knoll said. “They will also install new front and rear entrances and sidings.”

He also said the $1.6 million project by Delta Construction is on time and on budget. The project is funded by the Oregon Department of Transportation’s local bridge program.

This is the fifth covered bridge the county has renovated in the last five years, according to Knoll. Others are Short, Hoffman, Hannah and Larwood.

“We have funding to begin the engineering design process for the Shimanek Covered Bridge on Richardson Gap Road,” Knoll said. “We hope to have an intergovernmental agreement completed by the end of October and construction should start in the summer of 2019.”

That will complete all six of the major covered bridges maintained by the Linn County Road Department.

Gilkey Covered Bridge was built in 1936 and is 120 feet long.

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It has undergone several repairs over the last 20 years, including replacing decaying timber chords, steel hanger rods, bearing plates, floor beams, crossbracing and chemically fumigating trusses.

In 2008, a boom from a repair truck damaged the upper cross brace and diagonal timbers, as well as siding and roof collar ties.

The bridge has a current load capacity of 6 tons, but once renovations are made, that will increase to 40.

The project is expected to be completed by November.

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Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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