Port of Tacoma could direct $500K toward City’s Puyallup River Bridge project

The Port of Tacoma Commission is scheduled to decide Thursday whether to offer $500,000 originally set aside for the Hylebos Bridge Rehabilitation Project to the City of Tacoma in its effort to replace the aging Puyallup River Bridge, according to documents prepared for this week’s commission meeting. If approved by the commission, Port staff would send a letter of intent to City Hall outlining the offer and some contingencies.

The 84-year-old Puyallup River Bridge stretches from Portland Avenue, across railroad tracks and the Puyallup River, and into Fife. In 2008, City staff reported two bridge sections needed the most attention because of failed columns supported by wood and steel shoring. To date, the City has raised approximately $25 million of the $38.7 million needed to replace the crumbling structure with a modern cable-stay bridge.

In a March 6 memo to Port commissioners, Port CEO John Wolfe outlined a variety of reasons for funding the project, including the bridge’s key role serving Port operations (citing a 2006 study, Wolfe notes 800 of the 16,000 vehicles that cross the bridge daily were destined for or departing from Port of Tacoma facilities; he also notes the bridge is located midway along the five-mile Puyallup Avenue/Pacific Highway corridor, which serves over 100 manufacturing businesses and a major commercial sector in the Tacoma/Fife/Port of Tacoma region); the Port’s contribution could leverage partnership dollars with the City of Fife and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.; and the new cable-stay bridge could expand future rail operations in the area.

Wolfe also listed several contingencies tied to the $500,000 contribution, such as the money “would be a credit with the City of Tacoma for future right-of-way purchases by the Port of Tacoma”; the Hylebos Bridge must be open to vessel and vehicle traffic; and the funds must by used by the end of this year.

The Port of Tacoma Commission meeting will be held on Thurs., March 15 at 12 p.m. in Room 104 of The Fabulich Center, located at 3600 Port of Tacoma Road. For more information, visit http://www.portoftacoma.com . A copy of the agenda is online at http://portoftacoma.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=4&event_id=65 .

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City Council OKs more funding for Puyallup River Bridge design (01/20/12) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2102547&more=0

More funding needed for Puyallup River Bridge design (01/13/12) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2098963&more=0

More money needed for $32.5M Puyallup River Bridge replacement (04/27/11) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1965734&more=0

Broken Link: Partnership sought for Puyallup River Bridge replacement (11/06/08)