Spiketon Creek Bridge close to opening

The bridge was clsoed in the summer of 2018 after it was discovered a pillar had sunk into the ground below.

The state DOT notes there will be 5,320 of these bolts in place, holding together sections of the replacement Spiketon Creek Bridge. WSDOT PHOTO

The state DOT notes there will be 5,320 of these bolts in place, holding together sections of the replacement Spiketon Creek Bridge. WSDOT PHOTO

Drivers who have been inconvenienced by the year-plus closure of the Spiketon Creek Bridge will likely be detouring for just two more weeks.

Work on a temporary span being installed over the existing bridge is moving quickly, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation. Tina Werner, who works in the DOT’s communications office, credits cooperative weather and the fact that crews have been on-site six days a week with the lack of any noteworthy construction delays.

Now, the end is in sight for the 5,600 drivers who typically cross the bridge daily.

“For the most part, things are moving smoothly,” Werner said. “If the weather holds, we are hoping to have the bridge open before the Thanksgiving holiday.”

The Spiketon Creek Bridge isn’t necessarily a huge span, but it serves as a key link to popular travel routes. It sits just west of the junction of highways 165 and 162 and has created detours for drivers heading south to Wilkeson and Carbonado, west toward South Prairie, Orting and Bonney Lake, into Buckley or to a trio of nearby schools (White River High, Mountain Meadow Elementary and the school district’s Early Learning Center).

During the bridge closure, motorists have skirted the bridge by using Mundy Loss Road, 112th Street East and state Route 410.

The bridge drama began more than a year ago when DOT began preparing for a deck-repair project. Survey crews discovered piers supporting the bridge deck had settled more than four inches. Citing public safety, Transportation closed the bridge on Aug. 16, 2018, and it has remained off-limits since.

Initial fears were that the detours would last for years. When planning the deck repair, DOT was hoping to keep the bridge – built in 1936 – in operation until 2026 when it was slated for permanent replacement. Concerns were quickly raised and, after working with the community and elected officials, WSDOT decided to have a temporary structure put in place.

The temporary bridge is a steel, modular design that sits just above the existing bridge. It will have one lane in each direction with no load restrictions.

According to the DOT, it is one of the largest single-span, multi-lane temporary bridges ever produced, approximately 240 feet long and 32 feet wide.

Contacted last week, Werner confirmed the temporary bridge deck is in place. Now, crews are working at each end, aligning SR 162 with the new, higher surface. Then there will be some paving, striping and guardrail installation.

Adding the temporary bridge carries a price tag of about $3.27 million, according to the DOT website.

As for a permanent replacement, Werner said DOT’s plans have not changed much. The schedule calls for bids to be taken in the fall of 2025 and all work to be finished by the winter of 2026.

BRIDGES NORTH AND SOUTH

Bridges are integral on the Plateau, where both the White and Green rivers rush away from their glacial origins. Bridges over those two waterways keep traffic moving (or, in the case of the White River Bridge, moving slowly at peak hours).

The Department of Transportation is charged with keeping tabs on all the state’s bridges and maintains a rating system for each structure. Generally, a bridge is highlighted only when it rates a “poor” status; in years past, the term for such bridges was “structurally deficient” but the terminology has changed.

Bridges with a “poor” rating fall into WSDOT’s Bridge Preservation Program and this is where the Spiketon Creek Bridge landed.

That’s not the case for the White River Bridge on state Route 410 between Enumclaw and Buckley; nor does it apply to the SR 169 span over the Green River between Enumclaw and Black Diamond (historically known as the Kummer Bridge). Those two are presently in the “good” or “fair” categories.

Here’s what Werner had to say, in an emailed reply, about the White River span: “Currently, the bridge is not programmed for replacement and is not classified as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.”

The bridge was featured in a 410 Corridor Study completed by WSDOT in 2018. The study addressed traffic issues between Garrett Street in Enumclaw, through Buckley and to the 410/234th intersection and the eastern edge of Bonney Lake.

The study noted the need for additional lanes across the White River and stated a second bridge was a preferred option over expanding the width of the current bridge. The prime takeaway, however, was that bridge relief is likely decades away.

More in News

Suspect with violent history killed by officers outside Enumclaw

It’s unclear why Anthony Chilcott was not being held after a late October arrest for resisting arrest and damaging a patrol car before this most recent incident, which resulted in his death.

Father charged with assault after giving step daughter chloroform

Though initially put on life support, the girl has recovered enough to talk to police.

Black Diamond police blotter | Nov. 18 – 24

A juvenile with a knife and trespassers.

Mountain View Fire moves to end contract with Black Diamond

Three years remain on the current contract, but this move highlights the financial tensions between the city and fire department.

Fire along Twisp River Road in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest in 2018. Courtesy photo
Wildfire response: State unveils funding legislation proposal

Last year, Department of Natural Resources responded to record number of wildfires.

A new report, complete with recommendations to the Legislature, has been released by a statewide task force that was formed to address a lack of child care in Washington. File photo
Report outlines lack of child care in Washington

In King County, supply doesn’t meet demand for child care.

Students work to bring holiday cheer to Buckley

It’s the second annual Merry on Main, brought to you by the White River High School DECA club.

St. Elizabeth practices chemical emergency

Staff were able to handle a high-volume number of patients and were able to “decontaminate” them quickly, but they did find some holes in their procedures.

Demonstrators from La Resistencia protest Amazon’s involvement with ICE. Photo courtesy of La Resistencia
How will the U.S. respond to climate refugees?

Business as usual has been harder borders, are there other ways to address climate migration?

Most Read