Point Defiance Zoo to build new entry ramps, walkway

Metro Parks Tacoma commissioners have awarded a contract to Tacoma-based Serpanok Construction Inc. to build a new switchback ramp and stairs that will connect the new entry at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with the upper parking lots.

The $184,000 project is being undertaken as a safety measure for visitors, particularly those with disabilities. Once the project is complete, handicapped parking will be move up to the “A” parking lot. The new switchback ramp will meet standards required by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

As part of the renovation of the Zoo, the lower parking lot where handicapped parking is currently situated will become a service area for shipping and receiving.

Construction will pose some temporary inconvenience for Zoo visitors. Until the project’s scheduled May 27 completion, the only access to the Zoo from the upper lots will be via the concrete ramp leading from the “I” parking lot. Large signs in the parking lots will help visitors find their way.

The project will require removal of trees and brush to make room for switchback ramps and stairs. The area will be professionally landscaped with new trees, shrubs and flowers.

“We’re undertaking this project to provide safe passage for our visitors, and in this case our most vulnerable visitors,” said Zoo Deputy Director John Houck. “I’m confident that, once the landscaping is completed, the public will find the new ramp area very attractive.”