SOUTH BEND — Plans to remove a dilapidated bridge formerly used as a dock at a cannery went awry when the span collapsed, causing some of it to sink into the Willapa River.

No one was injured in the operation, said John Quigg, co-owner of Quigg Brothers Inc. of Aberdeen.

Quigg Bros. was hired to remove the bridge at East Point Seafood and Dungeness Development by property owner Odin Bendiksen.

The bridge originally spanned the South Fork of the Willapa River. When it was replaced it was floated downriver from Raymond decades ago to the cannery and placed on pilings.

East Point plant manager Jerry Duckworth said as far as he knew the dock was used only occasionally.

DNR made removal of the structure a condition of leasing the land the cannery uses for its normal dock operations, said Toni Droscher, communication manager for DNR’s Aquatic Resources Division.

The agency sought removal of the makeshift dock because of environmental health concerns related to the creosote-soaked pilings as well as its effect on navigation safety, Droscher said.

Structure disintegrates

Quigg Brothers Inc. of Aberdeen attempted to use pontoons to float the crumbling bridge off its pilings at high tide on Wednesday, Oct. 9, company co-owner John Quigg said.

“The wastage in the steel on the structure was more severe than was anticipated,” he said. “It is a very dangerous structure to begin with; it was lacking structural integrity.”

The bridge collapsed and most of it sank, Quigg said.

Some of the pontoons and timber cribbing got loose during operation and had to be rounded up, he said. Some of the pontoons were damaged in the process, he added.

Quigg Bros. is removing the sunken portions of the bridge. The work permit runs until after the first of the year, Quigg said, but he hopes to have the work done by the end of October.

Safety will remain the top priority on the project, he said.

“We’ve been very cautious and will continue to be so.”

When the project ends, Quigg Brothers Inc. is scheduled to move downstream to Coast Seafoods to remove a 380-foot section of derelict dock.

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