Local residents, bus drivers and emergency responders have been keenly aware of the headaches brought by the closure of the Spiketon Creek Bridge. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel, as crews have started working on a temporary solution.
It will be mid-October before work is finished and traditional traffic routes are restored, but Hamilton Construction Co. workers have kicked off the process. Under the terms of a contract with the Washington State Department of Transportation, Hamilton will install a modular bridge across Spiketon Creek, just outside Buckley. The temporary bridge will sit just above the existing structure and, when open, will accommodate two lanes of traffic with no load restrictions.
The Spiketon Creek Bridge, prior to its closure, was crossed by an estimated 5,600 motorists daily.
The well-traveled bridge, on state Route 162 just west of the SR 165 junction, closed Aug. 16, shutting off traffic flows to Buckley, Wilkeson, South Prairie and two schools, Mountain Meadow Elementary and White River High. Detour routes took drivers to highways 165 and 410, Mundy Loss Road or through Lower Burnett. Those existing detour routes will remain in place while Hamilton Construction installs the temporary bridge.
The added minutes have inconvenienced many, but also posed a threat for those in need of emergency services.
At the bridge site, crews will work daytime and weekday hours through mid-October until the project is complete. Their first order of business will be to construct the footings and retaining walls for the new bridge abutments and roadway approach. The steel modular bridge is currently under fabrication and is expected to be on site in mid-August.
The popular Foothills Trail passes under the bridge and its many walkers and bicyclists should expect short, intermittent closures during construction.
The Spiketon Creek Bridge was due for a month-long repair project last year, but plans dramatically changed when workers discovered the bridge pier had settled by as much as four inches. The planned repairs were part of a WSDOT plan to keep the bridge operational until 2022, when it was scheduled to be permanently replaced.
Out of concern for public safety, WSDOT immediately closed the bridge and implemented the current detour routes.
Information about the bridge project, which carries a price tag of $3.2 million, is available online at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr162/spiketon-creek-bridge.