Monday, November 28, 2022

Please plan ahead for 10-week detour starting Dec. 1 in Grays Harbor County for SR 109 Grass Creek Bridge repairs

By Angela Cochran

After months of a lane closure and delays on the State Route 109 Grass Creek Bridge in Grays Harbor County, there's some good news to share with the coastal community and travelers: work to repair the bridge is about to start.

Our emergency contractor, Rognlin's, Inc., is expected to begin work to fix the bridge on Thursday, Dec. 1. This also means closing the bridge to all traffic for up to 10 weeks. A detour will be provided. We know this is an inconvenience, so crews will work as quickly as is safely possible to restore the bridge's load capacity. The good news, though, is the sooner the work begins, the sooner the bridge – and traffic – will be back to full capacity.

The southbound lane of the bridge was closed before Memorial Day after an inspection revealed the piles could no longer support that lane. That led to alternating traffic, a reduced speed limit and extra travel time. We'll need travelers to be patient a bit longer during the repairs and detour, but we're glad that once the work is done the bridge can fully reopen.

From the top, this bridge, which was built in 1956, looks fine. Underneath is a different story. Several timber piles have various degrees of deterioration that cannot be repaired and need new steel piles added to the bridge. The early December work will have crews installing steel piles and support beams at three of the pier locations for additional support under the southbound lane.

Some timber piles have signs of corrosion so extra support will be added during repairs.

13-mile detour during closure

During the closure, travelers heading to the coast will use US 101, Ocean Beach Road, and Powell Road. The detour will be the same but in reverse for travelers heading to Hoquiam from the coast. People who live off SR 109 will still be able to access their homes on either side of the bridge. Holiday travelers will want to plan ahead for the 13-mile detour.

Travelers heading to and from the Ocean Shores area should follow the detour route via
US 101, Ocean Beach Road and Powell Road. 

While weather is usually one of the main concerns for a big construction project, our project engineers believe this work is not likely to be delayed due to the weather or the rise and fall of the tide. The crews will use a floating platform for storage of materials and smaller accessory equipment necessary for driving the new piles and installing the new beams. They can do all of this during high or low tides, in the rain, and even if it snows.

Thank you for your continued patience and planning ahead

We recognize that there is never a good time to close a bridge and appreciate the community's patience while crews work to keep this route safely open.

Once the repairs are made, the reduced speed limit will end and all lanes will reopen.

If your holiday plans include a trip to the coast, be sure to download the WSDOT app and check our statewide travel map for real-time travel conditions.