Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Balancing maintenance with traffic flow: Four-week closure of SR 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge for repairs begins Aug. 16

UPDATE 10:27 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16:  A month-long closure of the SR 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge will begin sooner than originally planned, with bridge engineers closing the structure near Buckley at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16. A detour route using Mundy Loss Road, SR 410 and SR 165 will be provided and the closure will remain in place around the clock through Sept. 20. In preparation for the planned closure, crews performed a survey of the bridge that revealed settlement of one of the bridge's piers, prompting the decision to close the bridge to traffic until engineers can fully analyze the effect of the settlement on the bridge's structural integrity. The cause of the settlement is unknown. Inspections of the bridge deck and spot repairs to the driving surface took place in May and June of this year.

By Tina Werner

Just as brushing and flossing is an important part of our personal daily maintenance, regular inspections are a vital part of our bridge maintenance program, and necessary for keeping our structures in good working condition. Taking care of your teeth can save you from bigger problems later on, and maintaining our bridges does the same for our highways.

And just as with aging teeth, older bridges require a special level of care and maintenance. That is why our bridge maintenance crews will be working on the State Route 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge (also called the Pioneer Way Bridge) in Buckley later this month.

Starting at 6 a.m. Monday, August 20, crews will close the bridge around the clock through 6 p.m. Thursday, September 20.

The Spiketon Creek Bridge was built in the early part of last century, and it is showing its age. It needs a thorough inspection and repair.
The 226-foot-long structure is located on Pioneer Way East just south of Mundy Loss Road across Spiketon Creek. After years of use and repairs, the driving surface needs an overhaul and an up-close look.
Small segments of the bridge deck will be tested at a time with a special hammer to hear if they are hollow, a process called "sounding the deck." Crews will be able to hear a distinct difference between normal and hollow segments, helping to guide their repair efforts. Then crews will patch strategic portions of the deck and apply a waterproof seal to prevent moisture from reaching steel rebar and other structural components.

During the closure, bridge maintenance crews will:
  • determine the extent of deterioration on the bridge deck;
  • patch and inspect strategic portions of the bridge deck during daytime hours, followed by overnight, 12-hour concrete cures; 
  • apply a waterproof seal to the driving surface.
This process will continue around the clock seven days a week until the work is complete.

Alternate Route
During the bridge closure, a signed detour will be in place along Pioneer Way East to Mundy Loss Road, to SR 410 and back to SR 165. Bicyclists and pedestrians will follow the signed detour. The Foothills Trail under the bridge will remain open. Drivers should expect minor delays.

Why can’t this work be done at night or while providing one-way alternating traffic? 

The repairs and inspections require up-close, detailed work. The best approach to the job is to “get in, stay in, get out, stay out.” By condensing the work into an around-the-clock schedule, we will finish the work more quickly, save money, and provide a safer work zone for our crews.

How did the bridge deck get into such a condition?

We manage approximately 3,600 structures in our state that require regular care and attention and we make repairs as funds and resources allow. The last round of asphalt patching on this bridge was completed in early spring 2018. Our bridge maintenance crews continue to monitor the condition of the deck and have made numerous repairs to the driving surface. Those repairs added 10 years to the life of the deck and now it is time to complete more repairs.

What about long-term bridge plans?

After the inspection, bridge preservation engineers will be able to determine the extent of wear on the bridge, and if any traffic restrictions may be needed in the future. In the long run, we plan to build a new Spiketon Creek Bridge when funding becomes available. But for now, we’ll do all we can to keep the bridge safe and operational. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we get this work done!

2 comments:

paul marsh said...

Glad WADOT is finally going to fix the bridge deck. Sad that we had to drive through potholes this winter when there is a WADOT Maintenance Shop less than 1000 ft away. Seems like the bridge maintenance program for WADOT has become purely reactionary. If WADOT had been proactive and responsible stewards of the critical piece of infrastructure this bridge deck would have been resurfaced 5 yrs ago which would have preventing the potholes and subsequent vehicle damage and would have keep the water out which I believe has now damaged the underlying concrete deck. Hard to understand that an agency with a very very large budget couldn't have managed to maintain and preserve the asphalt driving surface. Instead their choice seems to be a run to failure mindset. I wonder what the plan is for rest of the failing bridge decks on SR 162 through the Orting valley? Run to failure?

Wsdot Wsdot said...

Hi Paul,

The last round of asphalt patching was conducted on this 82-year-old bridge earlier this year. In fact, our bridge maintenance crews continue to monitor the condition of the deck and have made numerous repairs to the driving surface since then. But the fact remains the structure, after years of use and repairs, needs an overhaul and an up-close look by our bridge preservation crews.

We work hard to manage approximately 3,600 structures statewide that require regular care and attention. Our goal is to keep highways and structures within our state’s transportation system in good working condition. This process is not purely reactionary as you described. However with substantially more work than resources allow, we must increasingly do more with less. I can assure you every effort is being made to work as quickly and efficiently as possible while being good stewards of the tax dollars we have. This includes preserving other structures along State Route 162 as part of our yearly maintenance efforts. I do understand the apparent incongruity between an agency having billions of dollars and not having enough money for preventive maintenance. The fact of the matter is that those billions are already spoken for, in the form projects and activities defined by the Legislature. Our preventive maintenance funding is nowhere near the amount we need, especially as it concerns bridge maintenance.

In the long run, we plan to build a new Spiketon Creek Bridge based on available funding.

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