Efforts to temporarily relocate birds from the Yaquina Bay Bridge beginning this week won’t require road closures, but motorists might hear booming on evening crossings.
The Oregon Department of Transportation said Monday crews from the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service would be on site March 25 to begin work “encouraging the birds on the center span of the Yaquina Bay Bridge to relocate.”
Crews tested the technique on the Astoria-Megler Bridge earlier this month, briefly holding traffic during the hazing to see how the birds would respond.
The bridge across the Columbia River is a roosting site for thousands of cormorants, which must be relocated in order to complete a multi-year repainting. Yaquina Bay Bridge hosts a smaller roost of a few hundred cormorants, mostly in the center span, that need to go elsewhere temporarily so a contactor can undertake summer work in an ongoing retrofitting and hardening project.
ODOT determined further closures would not be necessary for additional hazings at either site.
“They are going to use an automated noise cannon that makes a ‘boom’ sound a few times around dusk each evening until the containment structure is in place,” ODOT Public Information Officer Angela Beers Seydel said via email. “A few times a week, crews will be out using other techniques that make different noises and flash. They look like little fireworks, because that’s basically what they are.”
She said the US Coast Guard is notifying mariners, but there would be no effect to marine navigation.