Puyallup: Sumner

Work starts soon on project to alleviate Sumner traffic headache

Brace yourself, commuters.

Construction at the state Route 410 and Traffic Avenue interchange in Sumner begins Sept. 9 and is expected to bring traffic delays.

The project to convert the two-lane bridge over Route 410 into a four-lane, double bridge begins this month. Once the project is completed, the current bridge will carry traffic into Puyallup, while a new adjoining bridge will carry traffic into Sumner.

The work is expected to last until January 2021. The project includes renovating on- and off-ramps and adding left-turn lanes on Traffic Avenue to prevent bottlenecks, said Andrew Leach, the project’s construction manager.

The new lanes are expected to cut traffic delays from Sumner to Puyallup by 7.5 minutes at peak hours, Leach said.

In the meantime, traffic could get worse. Much of the construction will occur during the night to minimize impacts, but drivers can expect periodic day closures.

“It’s going to get a little messier before it gets better,” he said.

Sumner relied on city, state, federal and Sound Transit funding to jump-start the long-awaited $17 million construction project. As people continue to move out of Seattle, East Pierce County is seeing rapid growth, leading to longer commutes and more traffic.

“So you end up with that daily movement, and you have a transportation network that can’t meet the demand,” Sumner’s Mayor Bill Pugh told The News Tribune in May.

A separate, 14-foot-wide pedestrian bridge will be added as well.

Sumner’s also addressing a second, congested Route 410 intersection at 166th Avenue. Funding has yet to be secured, and designs are in the preliminary stage, spokesperson Carmen Palmer said. City officials have called it unsafe and a “congested mess.”

Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.