UPDATE: WSDOT restricts lane — not weight — on SR-167 Puyallup River Bridge

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) this week took a load off the minds of commercial truckers who rely on the SR 167 Puyallup River Bridge, lifting a previously announced weight limit on the northbound lanes. The weight limit was scheduled to begin Feb. 15, but will be replaced with a lane restriction that reduces stress on the aging bridge while keeping commercial traffic moving northbound on SR 167.

“This is an important route that links both the city and Port of Tacoma with east Pierce County,” said Chris Keegan, WSDOT bridge engineer. “By limiting the lane in which commercial and transit vehicles can travel, we’re also limiting the impact on travelers until we can replace the bridge.”

Under the new restriction, which begins Feb. 22, northbound traffic with more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight must use the right lane when crossing the SR 167 Puyallup River Bridge. Approximately 15,000 vehicles — including 2,400 commercial trucks — travel the bridge daily. A recent annual inspection revealed deterioration in the floor beams of the structure. The wear reduces the bridge’s capacity. Restricting heavier northbound vehicles to a single lane is expected to slow the deterioration. Keegan said while this extends the life of the 86-year-old structure, WSDOT has plans to construct a new SR 167 Puyallup River Bridge. A replacement bridge is currently scheduled for design in 2014. With Legislative approval, the estimated $53.7 million project could take place sooner, he added.

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Weight limit coming for northbound SR-167 Puyallup River Bridge (01/28/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1916449&more=0