Q: I heard something about the Puyallup River Bridge closing soon. What's going on?
A: Consider this newspaper's traffic column your destination for finding out about all the inconvenient road, exit and bridge closures that are about to go down around Pierce County.
The city of Tacoma announced last week that it will be closing the Puyallup River Bridge starting May 21. That bridge is used to cross between Tacoma and Fife and is located just east of the Portland Avenue East and Puyallup Avenue intersection in Tacoma on Eells Street.
The closure is expected to last nine months, and the repairs are badly needed, said project manager Chris Storey. That work should be done in February.
The bridge is made up of seven bridge segments and this project will replace three of those segments, the city said. The project has been 10 years in the making, Storey said.
"Over the last roughly nine months we’ve been redesigning the bridge to current concrete-girder format to fit within our funding, and now we’re ready to build it," he said.
"It will look more modern. The one we have no has the old style railings with the balustrades. This will have a more standard railing on the side but have a gateway structure as opposed to an actual truss over the river."
During the closure, drivers will be directed to the Lincoln Avenue Bridge and Interstate 5 to cross the Puyallup River, the city said.
"Traffic is going to be impacted," Storey said. "There aren't many routes over the river being the problem."
Storey said they're trying to align the closure of the bridge with the state Department of Transportation's work on I-5: According to state DOT, the new northbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge could open to all traffic this weekend.
"We're trying to hit the best time as possible to close the bridge," Storey said.