***UPDATE: Bridge re-opened*** Citing structural damage, Tacoma closes aging Puyallup River Bridge

UPDATE | MON., APRIL 13, 2015 @ 2:08 P.M. – The City of Tacoma reports the following: “The Puyallup River Bridge is now open. The City of Tacoma will revisit it within the next month for permanent repairs.”

UPDATE | MON., APRIL 13, 2015 @ 9:25 A.M. – The City of Tacoma reports the following: “The Puyallup River Bridge remains closed at this time. Puyallup Avenue is closed from Portland Avenue to Milwaukee Way, and detours are in place.”

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The City of Tacoma closed the Puyallup River Bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic Friday due to structural damage, according to a statement released by City officials. City of Tacoma Public Works crews installed detour routes to divert traffic, and the closure is in effect until further notice.

In May 2014, City officials cited safety concerns when they reduced maximum vehicle weight restrictions from 18 tons to 10 tons on the 88-year-old bridge (officially recognized as the Eells Street Bridge, but more commonly known as the Puyallup River Bridge) located near Portland Avenue and linking Tacoma to Pacific Highway in Fife (see “***UPDATE*** Tacoma to further restrict weight limits on Puyallup River Bridge,” Tacoma Daily Index, April 30, 2014). The City previously reduced load limits on the bridge in 2009 (see “Load limits will soon be enforced on Puyallup River Bridge,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 13, 2009).

Last year, City officials reported nearly $40 million in funding was secured to begin a project to replace two of the bridge sections, and the City has applied for additional grants to continue work on four remaining sections in the future. The remaining sections could cost approximately $100 to $110 million.

The Puyallup River Bridge is one of several local bridges that needs or has undergone rehabilitation work. A $10.5 million project is under way to rehabilitate the Tacoma Avenue South Bridge, which was built during the 1930s (see “City awards $10.5M contract to repair aging Tacoma Avenue South Bridge,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 1, 2014). In July 2014, City officials cited safety concerns when they announced a plan to close the century-old East 11th Street Bridge, which spans the Puyallup River near the Port of Tacoma tide flats (see “City of Tacoma to close East 11th Street Puyallup River Bridge,” Tacoma Daily Index, July 1, 2014; and “Tacoma’s East 11th Street Bridge will close Friday,” Tacoma Daily Index, July 15, 2014). The century-old Murray Morgan Bridge re-opened to vehicles and pedestrians in 2013 following a $57 million rehabilitation project (see “Officials gather to officially re-open Tacoma’s historic Murray Morgan Bridge,” Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 15, 2013). In May 2012, the Hylebos Bridge spanning Blair Waterway on East 11th Street near the Port of Tacoma tide flats re-opened after a failed drive shaft left the double-bascule bridge platforms upright for more than a decade (see “Year In Review: Hylebos Bridge Re-Opening,” Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 31, 2012).

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Puyallup River Bridge replacement project, click on the following links: