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Source: Washington State News 2

Cara Mitchell, communications, 360-357-2703

Longest prestressed concrete girder built in the U.S. is one of 30 girders being installed on new southbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge

TACOMA – Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation are kicking off 2021 in a big way – and travelers should prepare now to alter travel or allow extra travel time.

Throughout the month of January, Guy F. Atkinson Construction will install the final 30 bridge girders on the last three spans of the new southbound Interstate 5 Puyallup River Bridge.

This work will require overnight weeknight lane closures, Monday through Thursday, on both southbound I-5 and State Route 167 in Tacoma that start Monday, Jan. 4. Several ramps and exits also are affected. Signed detours will be in place.

What to expect:

Monday, Jan. 4 through Thursday, Jan. 7

  • One lane of southbound I-5 across the Puyallup River Bridge will close each night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Southbound SR 167/Bay Street/River Road will close at East Grandview Avenue each night from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour to East Grandview Avenue to East 32nd Street to Portland Avenue.
  • The Port of Tacoma Road on-ramp to Southbound I-5 will close each night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour north on I-5 to 54th Avenue East and back to southbound I-5.
  • The southbound I-5 exit 135 to Portland Avenue and North SR 167 will close each night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour to City Center Exit 134 to I-705 and back to the northbound I-5 to exit at Portland Avenue

Monday, Jan. 11 through Thursday, Jan. 14

  • One lane of southbound I-5 across the Puyallup River Bridge will close each night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • The Port of Tacoma Road on-ramp to Southbound I-5 will close each night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour north on I-5 to 54th Avenue East and back to southbound I-5.
  • The southbound I-5 exit 135 to Portland Avenue and North SR 167 will close each night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour to City Center Exit 134 to I-705 and back to the northbound I-5 to exit at Portland Avenue

Monday, Jan. 18 through Thursday, Jan. 20

  • Two lanes of southbound I-5 across the Puyallup River Bridge will close each night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Southbound SR 167/Bay Street/River Road will close at East Grandview Avenue each night from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour to East Grandview Avenue to East 32nd Street to Portland Avenue.
  • The Port of Tacoma Road on-ramp to Southbound I-5 will close each night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour north on I-5 to 54th Avenue East and back to southbound I-5.
  • The southbound I-5 exit 135 to Portland Avenue and North SR 167 will close each night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
    • Travelers will detour to City Center Exit 134 to I-705 and back to northbound I-5 to exit at Portland Avenue

Why the closures are needed

Crews will move three girders into position each night with the help of super-sized cranes inside the work zone. Crews are installing the girders on three different bridge spans. High winds and railroad activity can delay this work.

One of those girders holds the record as the longest pre-stressed concrete girder manufactured in the United States. The 223-foot-long record-breaking girder was necessary so clearances could be maintained across the existing railroad tracks. The remaining girder lengths range in size from 173 to 220 feet.

“This is a significant milestone in completing the new bridge,” said WSDOT Project Engineer, Gaius Sanoy. “We truly appreciate everyone’s patience while crews work to finish the project.”

About the project

The new southbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge is part of the final project that connects high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes to Interstate 5 and SR 16 in Tacoma. The new bridge is not only built to current seismic standards, but it is wider and straighter than the old 1960s era bridges. The project also:

  • Rebuilds the L Street overpass across I-5,
  • Replaces the original I-5 roadway surface from McKinley Avenue to Portland Avenue,
  • Upgrades signing, lighting, and traffic data sensors,
  • Improves stormwater collection and treatment facilities,
  • Removes the old 1962 I-5 bridges, over the Puyallup River.

Additional overnight ramp closures for Pierce County maintenance and construction is available at TacomaTraffic.com. Before heading out the door, travelers can find the latest road conditions on the WSDOT app and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.

MIL OSI USA News