On Tacoma's tideflats, Lincoln Avenue Corridor offers easier route for cargo

Representatives from the City of Tacoma, the Port of Tacoma, and the Washington State Department of Transportation gathered Monday at the Gog-Ie-hi-te Wetland to celebrate the completion of two major infrastructure projects within an area on the Tacoma tideflats known as the Lincoln Avenue Corridor.

The dedication celebrated completion of the City of Tacoma’s refurbished bridge over the Puyallup River and the Port’s construction of the Lincoln Avenue overpass over rail lines.

The sound of freight trucks rumbling along Lincoln Avenue punctuated Monday’s dedication ceremony for the completed corridor. “The sound of trucks and trains, we see that as jobs,” Commission President Dick Marzano said during the ceremony. “Whether it’s the longshore workers on the docks or the farmers in eastern Washington, that’s what we do.”

In June 2011, the Lincoln Avenue Bridge closed for a rehabilitation project that replaced two deck spans and re-paved the remaining two deck sections. The bridge was also completely re-painted and underwent bearing, sidewalk and guardrail repair. The project also included a minor amount of street improvements on Lincoln Avenue from the west end of the bridge to Portland Avenue.

In September 2009, the Port of Tacoma began the Lincoln Avenue grade separation project, which raised Lincoln Avenue over key railroad tracks, removing the at-grade conflict between rail activities and heavy vehicular traffic. At that time, the Port had completed three surface streets and relocated utilities to support the overall project. The final piece, the overpass itself, remained unfunded until the Port received $15.4 million in March 2009 from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Scarsella Brothers Inc., of Kent, Wash., was awarded the $21.8 million contract to build the overpass.

Nearly two years later, the project was completed.

According to Port officials, the Lincoln Avenue grade separation significantly improves rail and road efficiency, aides in the flow of goods through the Port’s South and North Intermodal Yards and APM Terminals, and enhances air quality by giving truck drivers direct access to APM Terminals instead of idling while trains pass. Rail plays an essential role in moving freight quickly and efficiently in and out of the Port, with trains averaging 8,000 feet in length. Lincoln Avenue is a major arterial, serving as the primary connector between Interstate 5 and the Port for a high number of trucks. Historically, rail switching operations and mainline trains cause vehicular delays of up to 30 minute every two hours.

The entire corridor is now open for business. For more information, visit http://www.portoftacoma.com/Page.aspx?cid=3540 .

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City, Port to celebrate Lincoln Avenue Corridor project completion (03/09/12) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2128411&more=0

Lincoln Avenue Bridge now open for traffic (12/29/11) — http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=17709

Lincoln Avenue Bridge opening delayed (12/14/11) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2085547&more=0

Bridge projects abound in Tacoma, Pierce County (06/14/11) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1991328&more=0

Lincoln Avenue Bridge closes today for construction (06/13/11) — http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=16802

Above The Fray: Port of Tacoma completes vital Lincoln Avenue overpass project (06/08/11) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1988588&more=0

Lincoln Avenue Bridge re-opens (11/07/06) — http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=4291

Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation — http://www.portoftacoma.com/lincoln-ave

Lincoln Avenue Bridge Project Web site — http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=16424