WSDOT plans milestone Puyallup River Bridge relocation

Drivers traveling on State Route 167 during the weekend of July 11 will need to plan for delays as contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) work to move the northbound Puyallup River Bridge 60 feet to the east. Moving the bridge will give design-build contractor Atkinson Construction the space they need to begin building a new northbound State Route 167 span over the Puyallup River. To keep traffic moving, northbound drivers will continue to use newly relocated northbound span until construction of the replacement span is complete in late 2015.

Relocating a 379-ton steel truss bridge won’t be easy, and will require contractor crews to close State Route 167 across the Puyallup River for most of the weekend, according to WSDOT officials. Contractor crews will use a complex system of Teflon pads, steel rails, and hydraulic jacks designed to slowly raise the bridge, slide it over, and lower it into its final position. The same system was used to move the replacement Skagit River bridge section into place in September 2013.

Crews will prepare to move the northbound bridge overnight on Fri., July 11. The actual bridge move is scheduled to begin the morning of Sat., July 12. The move will be a slow process and will take most of the day to complete. Once the bridge has been relocated, crews will use the remainder of the weekend to pave roadway connections to both ends of the bridge and inspect it for any necessary repairs. At 9 p.m. Fri., July 11, all lanes of northbound and southbound State Route 167 will close at the Puyallup River in Puyallup. The closure will remain in effect through 2 p.m. on Sun., July 13. Drivers will follow signed detour routes via State Route 512.

Earlier this year the bridge was strengthened with steel plates to ensure it could be used as a detour during construction of the new bridge.

“Our goal is to minimize impact to drivers during construction of the new bridge,” said WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton. “It is an opportunity to get more use out of the old bridge while we build a new span.”

Drivers who need to travel through Puyallup during the weekend of July 11 should create a commuting strategy, such as allowing extra time to travel along the detour; traveling early in the morning or later in the evening; rescheduling discretionary trips; and riding transit, carpool, or other alternate forms of transportation.

The existing northbound bridge, built in 1925, will be replaced because it is reaching the end of its useful life, according to WSDOT officials. In 2011, WSDOT limited trucks to the right lane. Although the new bridge will have the same number of lanes as the existing bridge, it is being designed and constructed to accommodate additional lanes in the future if funding becomes available.

In addition to moving the northbound bridge, contractor crews will also work to resurface the concrete along the southbound bridge deck.

More information is available online here.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the State Route 167 Puyallup River Bridge, click on the following links: