North Portland

Ice on Fremont Bridge was a nightmare for drivers

Ice on Fremont Bridge was a nightmare for drivers
Kimberly Dinwiddie (left) explains ODOT's tactics during cold weather when it comes to the Fremont Bridge. KATU photo.

PORTLAND, Ore.- It's one of Portland's busiest bridges yet Thursday morning it was all but empty. The only people on the top deck were Oregon Department of Transportation crews laying down de-icing liquid.

Everyone knew it would be cold out, but ODOT waited until 6 a.m., just as the morning rush hour was heating up, to shut down the bridge.

"At 5 a.m. we went over the Fremont Bridge and it looked great. In less than an hour we received reports the road conditions had changed. There was indeed moisture on the road and drivers were having a problem," said ODOT spokesperson Kimberly Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie admits the timing was terrible, but says they had to listen to what their crews in the field were telling them.

Still, many drivers were fuming, wondering why ODOT didn't just pre-treat the bridges overnight before the traffic picked up.

Dinwiddie says they simply couldn't afford that expense.

"If we de-ice the entire road system in the Portland area that could cost $25,000 alone so we want to be careful with our resources  and we only treated the areas that needed it," Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie says the good news is that de-icing liquid is effective for up to five days. She hopes there won't be any more delays atop the Fremont Bridge this week.