Traffic Q&A: Demolition of part of Nalley Valley columns no mistake

Staff writerMay 5, 2014 

Question: "Someone needs to go down and take some pictures of the Nalley Valley Viaduct. It looks like they poured some of their columns wrong, and they’re out there with jackhammers cutting part of them off." — Anonymous, via phone call

Answer: We always appreciate news tips from alert readers. In this case, though, there’s no screw-up to report, although it did look like it.

Workers spent much of last week jackhammering the tops of two support columns that are visible beneath the new eastbound viaduct along South Tacoma Way, but it was planned demolition, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The columns were erected as part of the temporary eastbound viaduct built to carry traffic while the permanent viaduct was under construction.

Most of the temporary viaduct was completely taken out; these columns, when modified, will be re-used when WSDOT builds new high-occupancy vehicle lanes beginning in 2020.

“This was part of the original plan and certainly not a mistake,” said WSDOT spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker. “In fact, by building some of the permanent HOV connectors structure in the eastbound project and using it as part of the temporary eastbound viaduct, we are saving the public millions of dollars.”

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693

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