City of Tacoma officials announced Monday they plan to close the East 11th Street Bridge spanning the Puyallup River and attached viaduct through the Port of Tacoma area.
“This is going to inconvenience some drivers, but our top priority is to keep people safe,” said Tacoma Public Works Director Kurtis Kingsolver. “I wish we could say it was going be short-term, but that’s not known and bridge infrastructure costs are difficult for many local communities, not just Tacoma, to absorb.” Kingsolver added deterioration to joints, beams, and trusses on the 103-year-old bridge warranted the bridge closure in the interest of public safety.
The City of Tacoma took possession of the bridge from the Washington State Department of Transportation in 1995.
The bridge closure will not impact bus routes, emergency vehicles, or trucking traffic as a previous 10-ton weight limit went into effect in 2005. However, about 2,000 vehicles per day have continued to use the bridge. Drivers may use one of four other Tacoma-area Puyallup River bridge crossings, though similar issues triggered weight restrictions on the Puyallup Avenue area bridge earlier this year. A definitive closure date has not been set, but is anticipated to occur within the next several weeks.
Long-term, the bridge and viaduct’s replacement would cost an estimated $40 million with a demolition alternative estimated at $10 million, according to Kingsolver.