The new L-4 Salmon Creek Bridge structure will open to all vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic by 7 p.m. on Friday, September 19—that's more than two weeks earlier than the scheduled deadline for re-opening on October 6. The L-4 crossing was closed on August 11 so that construction crews could demolish the old failing bridge and install a new bridge structure.
"I know that having the bridge closed was a major inconvenience for residents and businesses in that area, and for those of us who regularly travel to and from south county on Littlerock Road," said County Commission Chair Karen Valenzuela, whose district includes the bridge. "I am so pleased we are ahead of schedule and can get the bridge open so soon."
"This is really good news," said County Commission Vice Chair Sandra Romero, "and a real testament to how hard everyone has worked to address this challenge. From top to bottom, our Public Works team has been committed to getting this project done as quickly as possible, but always with safety as the number one priority. We can't thank them enough."
"We could not have accomplished this without the help of so many people and so many partners," said Commissioner Cathy Wolfe. "The contractors have done a tremendous job, our partners at WSDOT came through with the Bailey bridge earlier this year, and of course all of the staff from the Public Works Department and from other parts of county government and other agencies—it has truly been a team effort, and opening two weeks early is a big team win."
Construction crews with Active Construction, Inc. and Zemek Construction have been hard at work since August 11 when the bridge was closed and the temporary Bailey bridge that had been on loan from the Washington State Department of Transportation since March was dismantled.
The L-4 Salmon Creek Bridge on Littlerock Road Southwest located between 110th Avenue Southwest and 93rd Avenue Southwest was first closed on Monday, January 27 after structural deficiencies were discovered. After thorough inspection, county engineers determined that the damage to the center pier was severe and the bridge structure was compromised beyond the point of repair, and that a new bridge structure with up-to-date safety standards was needed.
The new bridge has a longer span and is 15 feet wider than the old bridge, which will improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The new bridge does not require a center pier in the water like the old bridge structure, and this will allow better fish passage and can accommodate larger stream flows. It also reduces the potential for the kind of scouring that undermined the center pier of the old bridge structure and caused it to crack, making the old bridge structure unstable and unsafe.
While the new bridge structure will re-open to all traffic on Friday, including heavy trucks, crews will continue working on the bridge, and motorists using the bridge are asked to drive slowly and take caution in the active construction zone to help keep workers safe. The speed limit will be reduced to 25 mph within the construction zone until all work is completed. The new bridge is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
The L-4 Bridge project has a budget of $3.4 million and is paid for using a combination of federal highways grant funds and county road funds. Along with the Thurston County Public Works Department, project partners include the Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Fish and Wildlife, the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Army Corps of Engineers, and contractors Active Construction, Inc. and Zemek Construction.
To learn more about the L-4 Salmon Creek Bridge Project, and to stay connected with project updates and traffic alerts, visit the L-4 Bridge project web site at www.co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks/Projects/61489.aspx
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