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Point Defiance bridge is nearly done. But this is why you can’t use it for another year

'Bridge that will connect everything' will have to wait

The Wilson Way pedestrian bridge, part of the Point Defiance Waterfront Project linking the city park to new development on Point Ruston and Ruston Way, will not open to the public until late summer or fall 2018.
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The Wilson Way pedestrian bridge, part of the Point Defiance Waterfront Project linking the city park to new development on Point Ruston and Ruston Way, will not open to the public until late summer or fall 2018.

Taste of Tacoma revelers can eat their corn dogs this weekend within feet of Point Defiance Park’s grand new pedestrian bridge.

They just won’t be able to use it.

Ditto for next year’s Taste.

Wilson Way, also known as Tacoma’s “missing link” because it will unite Point Defiance Park with the Ruston Way waterfront, will be finished this summer.

But Metro Parks Tacoma won’t open the 600-foot-long span until summer or fall 2018.

“The main value of the bridge is connectedness,” Metro Parks spokesman Michael Thompson said this week. “Until we finish the trail on the other side that links to (the Ruston Way waterfront) there is no connection.”

As recently as March, Metro Parks was looking at opening the bridge in fall 2017. Since then it’s decided to wait until all the projects in the southeast section of the park are done and then open them all at once.

The bridge crosses over a new boat trailer parking lot and the trail beyond that cuts through a rebuilt hillside and connects to a new, as yet unnamed 11-acre peninsula park. All are under construction.

Heavy rains this winter delayed the projects.

Another consideration for when the bridge should open is safety, Thompson said.

The 18-foot-wide span that hangs over active constructions sites, plus the bridge has only one entrance, which could complicate things in an emergency.

The parking lot will be an active construction site for another year and the hillside — which will feature a series of slides — still needs to be planted.

“It’s going to take months for those to take root,” Thompson said.

There is something coming sooner: the park’s new entrance roundabout will be completed this fall, Thompson said.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

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