Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s happening with the SR 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge in Buckley?

The inside scoop on future bridge plans, local detours and public safety

By Tina Werner 

In case you haven’t heard, the 82-year-old State Route 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge – also called the Pioneer Way Bridge – in Buckley is now permanently closed.
Pond forming on the bridge deck as a result of pier settlement. 

The closure was put into place on Aug. 16, 2018, prompted by pier settlement discovered by crews surveying the bridge in preparation for a month-long deck repair project. Our goal with the deck repairs was to keep the bridge operational until 2022, when it was scheduled for replacement.  Unfortunately, the discovery of the pier settlement changed that timeline. Out of concern for public safety, the bridge was closed and a detour for the 5,600 daily motorists who had been crossing the bridge was implemented immediately using Mundy Loss Road, SR 410 and SR 165.
A look at the detour during the Spiketon Creek Bridge closure.

If you went to the bridge today, you would not see much activity. That is because we cancelled the deck repairs and our teams have instead focused on design alternatives, permitting, funding options and timelines to find the best solution for the community. Jersey barrier blocks the bridge to motorists due to concerns over the stability of the structure.

Can we repair the bridge?

Initial estimates to reinforce the bridge structure to offset the settlement exceeded $2 million and over a year’s work for the repair to be installed. We felt that level of investment in a bridge that is already more than three-quarters of a century old did not make a lot of sense. We are still analyzing if other temporary options are feasible, including whether temporary Bailey or Acrow spans over the failing pier are feasible.

Will we replace the bridge?

Something that people by now have learned is that we had already programmed a replacement of this bridge, with design scheduled to begin in 2019 and construction scheduled in 2022. Our discussions are now focused on what kind of crossing we think should be built and if we have the option of moving that schedule forward. A crossing could be a bridge or embankment support of the roadway. Either strategy has both short- and long-term ramifications for the area’s transportation system.

Can you declare an emergency to get funding sooner?

You may wonder why the money isn’t available now.  Based on legislative direction, we schedule projects by biennial funding cycles, and that’s when the resources become available. Some of your neighbors have asked if we can declare an emergency and expedite the funding process. Unfortunately, the bridge closure does not qualify as an emergency since there was no natural disaster, and we already had the replacement bridge scheduled in our program. We know that’s a bureaucratic answer to the question. We also know how inconvenient the bridge closure is, and we are working hard to figure out alternatives.

We are as eager as you to resolve this issue, but it’s not as straightforward as one might think.  Complicating matters is that two fish barrier culverts identified in the 2013 U.S. District Court injunction, one under SR 162 and one under SR 165, are within close proximity of the bridge. The fish barrier removal will likely require relocating the stream into the ravine, something that could potentially increase the environmental timeline and the start of construction.

Our goal is to keep the community informed as we more clearly define a path forward. Community feedback is important to us, and we appreciate hearing from you.

To that end, we invite you to subscribe to an email distribution list for information as we move forward with the future of the SR 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge.

2013 U.S. District Court injunction

4 comments:

Unknown said...

2022 is a long way away. When you first closed it..you had a sign saying it was to be closed for a month... now NO SIGNAGE. How about a project board on site to explain that this is a long term closure.... 2022

WSDOT said...

Thanks for your comments about the SR 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge in Buckley. We recognize that 2022 is a long way away for replacement and are still analyzing alternatives to restore the crossing over Spiketon Creek. This includes design, permitting, right of way, alignment and construction. We can forward your suggestion about signing a "long-term closure" message to our traffic engineers.

Unknown said...

When it takes emergency personnel 10+ extra minutes to reach our community...how is that not an emergency? When there is a natural disaster and all of these communities have to leave the area we have 1 of 2 ways out, Johns road or taking this detour. Lower Burnett isn't an option. That's a dangerous narrow road and is now closed to thru traffic. What happens when, heaven forbid it happen, we have a mass wildfire in the area? We will all be stuck in a traffic jam. What then? Hopefully both of our 2 outs will be open and not congested with other people trying to make it to safety! Or the natural disaster itself clogging the road. Carbonado is already 1 way in 1 way out. That stretch of highway between Carbonado and Wilkeson is known for terrible accidents blocking the road, which leaves everyone stranded. Hopefully nothing happens by 2022. Could be very tragic to many towns and families. I feel like our livelihood has been put on the back burner. Very unfortunate. Now if we were in the city, no way would this take until 2022. Officials would be spending that 2 million in a heart beat. We have to deal with tourists for a good part of the year. 5600 people on a daily basis isn't enough to expedite a plan into action?

WSDOT said...

Hello,

We understand your concerns and recognize how important the SR 162 Spiketon Creek Bridge is to the local community, schools, first responders, drivers and elected officials. We announced earlier today our plans to install a temporary bridge to restore the crossing over Spiketon Creek by fall 2019. Significant preparatory work has to take place prior to the temporary structure being erected, which includes building new foundations to support it. A permanent replacement remains scheduled for 2023. You can read more about our most recent announcement here: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/news/2018/12/05/moving-forward-wsdot-install-temporary-bridge-sr-162-over-spiketon-creek-buckley.

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