HOQUIAM, Wash. - Department of Transportation crews have detour signs in place, and the Simpson Avenue Bridge in Hoquiam is silent this morning, to begin a 4-week closure for permanent repairs.
The work requiring the bridge closure is scheduled to be complete by mid-November. In the meantime, the 13,000 vehicles that use the bridge each day will be detoured onto the nearby Riverside Bridge, which will be reconfigured for two-way traffic.
Since July, the Washington State Department of Transportation has been constructing new foundation supports for the east pier in preparation for this four-week closure. This work will complete the remaining foundation repairs that began with emergency repairs in the summer of 2010.
In August 2010 Grays Harbor drivers experienced a five-month detour when WSDOT engineers closed the US 101 Simpson Avenue Bridge over the Hoquiam River in August 2010, after maintenance personnel noticed unusual movement of the bridge. During a follow-up inspection, bridge experts discovered deteriorating timber piles under the east pier. Crews worked continuously until January 2011 to stabilize the structure enough to reopen it to traffic.
During this final round of work, crews will complete the foundation repairs and also take advantage of the closure to raise the vertical clearance through the bridge’s trusses. WSDOT maintenance crews will replace the truss portals raising them from 14 feet to 16 feet 6 inches. At the end of the closure, the east pier will be fully supported upon the new foundations and the bridge’s vertical clearance will improved.
This closure will not impact marine traffic.
Motorists are encouraged to allow extra time for their commutes during the four-week closure of the US 101 Simpson Avenue Bridge. WSDOT recommends leaving early, carpooling or taking transit. Drivers can check traffic conditions before they leave at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic. Up-to-the-minute traffic information is also available via the voice-activated driver information line, 511.