***UPDATE*** City seeks bids for $9M Tacoma Avenue South Bridge rehab project

The City of Tacoma is accepting bids on a $9 million project to rehabilitate the 81-year-old Tacoma Avenue South Bridge, according to a legal notice published this week in the Tacoma Daily Index.

The beams, sidewalks, guardrails, and deck on the bridge have deteriorated to the point of limiting traffic lanes, closing sidewalks, and reducing maximum vehicle weight restrictions, according to City staff. The bridge is a key transportation corridor between downtown Tacoma and the Lincoln International Business District. Three years ago, the City accepted a $7.1 million federal grant to help pay for the project. One year later, Tacoma City Council awarded a $1.2 million contract to Bellevue, Wash.-based TranTech Engineering to complete the bridge design. In February, councilmembers directed an additional $400,000 toward the bridge design.

In addition to building a new concrete deck, guardrails, streetlights, and sidewalks, the rehabilitation project would replace the girders and paint all the steel members on the bridge. A pre-bid meeting will be held on Tues., July 15, at 11 a.m., at 747 Market St., Room 537, in downtown Tacoma. The bid deadline expires on Tues., July 29, at 11 a.m. More information is available online here.

The Tacoma Avenue South Bridge is one of several local bridges that needs or has undergone rehabilitation work. Last week, City officials cited safety concerns when they announced a plan to close the 103-year-old East 11th Street Bridge, which spans the Puyallup River near the Port of Tacoma tide flats. In May, City officials cited safety concerns when they reduced maximum vehicle weight restrictions from 18 tons to 10 tons on the 87-year-old Puyallup River Bridge linking Tacoma to Pacific Highway in Fife; the City previously reduced load limits on the bridge five years ago. The 101-year-old Murray Morgan Bridge re-opened to vehicles and pedestrians last year following a $57 million rehabilitation project. Finally, 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.

*****UPDATE | Weds., July 16 @ 11:36 a.m. – The bid deadline has been changed to Tues., Aug. 12, 2014, at 11 a.m.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Tacoma Avenue South Bridge Rehabilitation Project, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengerssecond-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State; third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; and third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright. His work has appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.