Rainy forecast changes plan for weekend SR 509 closure

Rain in the forecast prompted WSDOT engineers to change plans for a weekend closure of State Route 509 in Tacoma. The new plan is for a shorter duration closure, from 11 p.m., Sat. Oct. 31 to 4 a.m., Mon., Nov. 2. Previously, the plan was to begin the closure Friday night.

The SR 509 closure points are I-705 in downtown Tacoma and Port of Tacoma Road in Fife. During the closure, a signed detour will reroute motorists to I-705, I-5 and Port of Tacoma Road.

“Critical parts of the planned work, such as restriping the roadway, require dry weather,” said Project Engineer Rumina Suafoa. “Canceling the closure and rescheduling the work was considered, but our contractor is confident crews can complete the work in a shorter time frame. This is good news – the project stays on schedule and there will be fewer traffic impacts for motorists.”

Crews are beginning a project that repairs damage on the SR 509 Puyallup River Bridge caused by a December 2002 rail car fire. The closure allows crews to set up a work zone and reconfigure traffic on the bridge. When the roadway reopens, there will be one lane of traffic in each direction through the work zone and the speed limit drops from 60 mph to 35 mph. Construction continues through June 2010.

Additional weekend closures of SR 509 between I-705 and Port of Tacoma Road will be necessary as the project progresses. To reduce the traffic impacts for commuters and commercial traffic, the closures will be scheduled on weekends. The closures allow contractor crews to safely reconfigure the roadway, perform demolition work, remove existing girders and set new bridge girders.

WSDOT awarded the $2.9 million repair contract to Granite Construction Company of Everett, Wash., in June 2009. Funding comes from a settlement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe and federal bridge replacement funds.