Weight limit coming for northbound SR-167 Puyallup River Bridge

In an effort to preserve the aging northbound SR-167 Puyallup River Bridge and keep traffic moving, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will implement weight limits next month.

The new load restrictions will not affect standard passenger vehicles, but may impact the 2,400 commercial trucks that use this route daily. Beginning Feb. 15, the new maximum allowable weights are as follows:

— Three-axle vehicles: maximum load 19 tons or 38,000 pounds.

— Five-axle vehicles: maximum load 30 tons or 60,000 pounds.

— Six-axle vehicles: maximum 36 tons or 72,000 pounds.

Drivers with vehicles exceeding the new weight limits can take SR-512 to SR-167 or use I-5 as an alternate route.

WSDOT crews will begin installing signs along northbound SR-167 in Puyallup advising truckers of the restrictions as soon as next week. Electronic signs will also be used to alert drivers of the new weight restrictions.

After 10 years of annual inspections, WSDOT bridge experts agree that the most recent examination confirms the need for load limits.

“This bridge was built in 1925. It has been the workhorse for the Puyallup area for many years, but now the floor beams are deteriorating,” said Chris Keegan, bridge engineer. “Limiting the amount of weight this bridge has to bear keeps traffic moving until we can replace it.”

Keegan said a replacement bridge is scheduled for design in 2014 and ranks No. 12 on the statewide bridge replacement priority list.

Approximately 15,000 vehicles cross this bridge daily; of those, 16 percent are commercial vehicles.

To learn about load restrictions on state-owned bridges throughout Washington, please visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/commercialVehicle/Restrictions/bridgelist.aspx .