HOQUIAM, Wash. – Due to the closure of the US 101 Simpson Avenue Bridge, motorists traveling to Ocean Shores or other coastal destinations this weekend should plan ahead for congestion and delays in Hoquiam.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced Thursday, Aug. 5, the US 101 Simpson Avenue Bridge is closed until further notice after severe degradation of piles in the easterly pier was discovered.

Drivers can expect the heaviest congestion on US 101 through Hoquiam on Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon continuing into the early evening. The Riverside Bridge has been reconfigured to accommodate two-way traffic during the closure. Between May and October, bridge traffic noticeably increases as tourists visit nearby ocean beaches via US 101.

In recent weeks, WSDOT crews noticed unusual movement on the bridge, which prompted the inspection. After removing a portion of the cofferdam that construction workers sank into place in the mid 1920s, divers this week were able to see scouring, marine boars and worm-infestation, which led to the degradation of the piles– all of which factored into the engineer’s decision close the bridge.

WSDOT determined the closure necessary for preservation of the bridge’s safety and structural integrity. Built in 1927, the Simpson Avenue Bridge is a 1,978-foot-long bridge that spans the Hoquiam River and today carries 15,000 vehicles a day over the Hoquiam River.