Responding to concerns and complaints from the Plateau business community, the state’s Department of Transportation last week made things official: the White River Bridge between Enumclaw and Buckley will not be closed during the busy holiday season.
Instead, the DOT will conduct a week-long closure of the bridge from the evening of Friday, April 15 through Saturday morning, April 23. There may be single lane closures with alternating traffic across the bridge in the days leading up to and after the week-long closure.
A week-long closure was first proposed during a November meeting with WSDOT at the Enumclaw library, a gathering that attracted nearly 80 people. DOT’s original plan was to close the bridge for multiple weekends, which brought fears of closing off cross-county shopping opportunities and impacting the southern access to the Crystal Mountain area.
The bridge is used by approximately 20,000 vehicle per day.
Damage to the bridge’s overhead support structure was discovered during a routine inspection in April 2015, requiring an emergency seven-day closure for temporary repairs. Engineers believe an over-height load struck the bridge in the westbound lanes. Immediately following discovery of the damage, WSDOT crews closed the bridge so workers could install steel rods to help carry the load of the damaged support beams. Crews also straightened the damaged horizontal beam using a heat-straightening method by applying controlled heat in repetitive, heating-and-cooling cycles. Once straightened, the beam was secured to vertical beams.
Built in 1949, the steel truss bridge is an important 10-minute link between Enumclaw and Buckley. Without the White River Bridge, the next-fastest route between the two cities takes at least 45 minutes. SR 410 is also a cross-state route during the summer months, serving as a primary gateway to Mount Rainier National Park.