It has been a major inconvenience for local motorists and a potential disaster for emergency responders, but relief is in sight – a temporary fix is coming to the Spiketon Creek Bridge.
The now-closed bridge is a key link in state Route 162, just west of a junction with SR 165. It’s in close proximity to both White River High School and Mountain Meadow Elementary and traditionall provides an easy means of access for drivers headed toward Bonney Lake, South Prairie or Orting. In the other direction, the bridge closure reduced access to Wilkeson and, farther up 165, Carbonado.
The welcome news was delivered Monday morning in a press release issued by the Washington State Department of Transportation. It was noted that a recently-approved $3.2 million contract will install a temporary modular bridge – which spans both Spiketon Creek and the popular Foothills Trail – beginning this summer.
Hamilton Construction Co. will install a temporary bridge over the existing bridge that will, when opened, accommodate two lanes of traffic with no load restrictions. Work is slated to begin in July, though an exact start date will be announced later. It is expected the temporary bridge should open to traffic by mid-September.
“Our decision to invest in a temporary span restores access and eliminates the extended detour,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator John Wynands. “We appreciate the vast range of comments we received from residents and local elected officials about the bridge’s importance to the greater Buckley community.”
The existing Spiketon Creek Bridge closed to traffic on Aug. 16, 2018, after crews discovered pier settlement while preparing for an unrelated month-long deck repair project. Since the closure, travelers have detoured around the bridge using a variety of routes.
Because SR 162 is already closed at the bridge site, construction of the temporary bridge will not affect current traffic patterns. Users of the Foothills Trail under the bridge will encounter short, intermittent closures during construction.
With an eye to the future, WSDOT engineers are moving forward with plans to design and construct a permanent bridge crossing. The exact date of the permanent replacement has not been announced. When construction begins on the permanent bridge, the temporary bridge will be removed and stored by WSDOT as an asset to use at other locations as needed.