Hundreds of motorists hoping to cross the Columbia River from Vancouver on the Interstate Bridge could not Tuesday night.
The southbound lanes of the Bridge were completely shut down for several hours due to a malfunction with the lift mechanism following a fairly routine lift for Columbia River traffic at 8:15 p.m.
Some of those stuck in traffic resorted to evasive maneuvers like backing up on I-5 to the nearest exit to get out of the stalled lanes of traffic.
By 10 p.m. the Oregon Department of Transportation estimated that the southbound span "will remain closed for several hours while crews make repairs".
The official explanation of what went wrong from ODOT is that the southbound span "failed to properly close when a roller in the lift mechanism came off track".
The southbound span opened in 1958. Efforts to fund a replacement for the Interstate Bridge came off track when the Washington Legislature failed to approve a funding package to supplement what Oregon has committed to building a new span.