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Photos: Excavator strikes Ellsworth Street Bridge, snarling morning commute

An excavator stuck on the Ellsworth Street Bridge snarled traffic for more than an hour Tuesday morning, delaying commuters' drive into Albany.

The construction equipment, owned by Salem-based North Core Excavating, clipped a truss as it was being pulled eastbound on Highway 20 crossing the Willamette River. The impact broke a hydraulic line, according to one of the workers on scene. 

Crews mopped up the spilled hydraulic fluid with absorbent pads, while Albany police closed one lane of traffic on the bridge. 

Workers lowered the arm of the excavator and adjusted the lowboy trailer to gain clearance under the span. 

The traffic backup extended for more than 2 miles with one lane of vehicles slowly passing the machinery. 

An Oregon Department of Transportation worker at the scene said there was some minor damage to the trusses but added that repair may be incorporated into work planned later for the structure.

ODOT is currently in the planning phase of increasing the height clearance of the Ellsworth Street bridge from 14 feet, 11 inches, to 16 feet, according to the ODOT website. 

The project is projected to cost $736,000 but is not currently funded, according to the ODOT website.  

Contact Photo Editor Mark Ylen at 541-812-6117

follow mark on social media on twitter @markylen

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