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Crews prepare for Simpson Ave Bridge closure

October 8, 2012

Halloween is still four weeks away, but crews making final repairs to the US 101 Simpson Avenue Bridge are already thinking about Thanksgiving travels and holiday shopping.

Since July, the Washington State Department of Transportation has been readying the bridge for a four-week closure to complete permanent repairs. Crews began repairs during the summer of 2010 after engineers discovered severe degradation of the timber piles that supported the bridge’s most easterly pier.

The closure is set to begin during Monday, Oct. 22, and finish up before Thanksgiving. Vehicles that use the bridge will be detoured onto Riverside.

“We understand the importance of this bridge to the community,” said Scott Ireland, WSDOT project engineer. “WSDOT and our contractor will work diligently to finish repairs and reopen the bridge to traffic before the big holiday shopping season arrives.”

During the closure, crews will complete the remaining stabilization work on the bridge including installing two additional pier supports and strengthening the walls of the existing pier.

Drivers saw a five-month detour when WSDOT engineers closed the bridge in August 2010, after maintenance personnel noticed unusual movement. During a follow-up, experts discovered deteriorating timber piles. Crews worked from August 2010 to January 2011 to make emergency repairs and stabilize the bridge enough to reopen it to traffic.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to allow extra time for their commutes during the four-week closure.

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