Home Archives May 2007 Bonneville Dam's bridge swings easier with new bearings

Bonneville Dam's bridge swings easier with new bearings

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

{safe_alt_text}

CASCADE LOCKS — Most Oregonians know it for its fish ladder and its role in Oregon’s hydropower history, but Bonneville Dam is also home to the one of the world’s few concrete swing bridges. All 4 million pounds of it.

Installed in the early 1990s and measuring about 186 feet, the swing bridge stretches across the navigation channel and opens for tugboat traffic. If the bridge goes out of commission, so does all the upper Columbia barge traffic.

The swing bridge, and other dam bridges across the state, are swinging easier these days, thanks to some innovative self-lubricating bearings made by Eugene-based Columbia Industrial Products (CIP).

The bearings, or wear pads, that the bridge rests on are no small engineering feat. Originally made from bronze or brass, the bearings required oil for lubrication, something that quickly became an environmental issue since the bearings are located near or in water. For eight years the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sponsored a worldwide testing program to encourage development of cleaner, more cost-effective bearings. CIP’s bearings, made of polyester textiles and resins, emerged as the best product because it needed no exterior lubricant. CIP is now a $2.3 million business.   

The new bearings, installed during the annual weeklong lock outage in March, create less friction than previous models and have their own internal lubrication, making them more environmentally friendly. These multi-tasking wonders keep the bridge, and the river traffic, moving. 

— Colleen Moran

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


Read more...

100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Monday, March 03, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.47 AM

Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.


Read more...

Are millennials reshaping politics in the Pacific Northwest?

News
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

MillennialsThumbA new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.


Read more...

Video: Kickstarting Oregon business

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
02.04.14 Thumbnail VideoBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Watch this OB Original Video about three Oregon companies and how crowd-funding "kickstarted" their business ideas.


Read more...

The solution to youth unemployment

News
Thursday, February 27, 2014
02.27.14 Thumbnail TeenworkBY ERIC FRUITS

Because they have little chance of working for someone else, today’s teens need to be entrepreneurs. But, first, we must teach our teens that entrepreneurship starts small.


Read more...

Downtime with Ron Green

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Ron Green became president and CEO of Oregon Pacific Bank in August 2013.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS