Historic Puyallup River bridge resists move

Relocating a 1925 Puyallup River bridge proved more difficult than the Washington State Department of Transportation expected.

Crews worked all day Saturday moving the old steel truss bridge to its new position 60 feet east, where it will carry northbound traffic across the river on State Route 167 in Puyallup.

The plan was to reopen the bridge Sunday, along with a parallel southbound bridge that was resurfaced.

The resurfacing project went well. The southbound bridge reopened to traffic at 11:50 a.m. Sunday, two hours earlier than scheduled.

Opening the old bridge has been delayed, however. WSDOT officials said Sunday they expect it to reopen at 5 a.m. Monday.

In addition, North Levee Road and 4th Street under the Puyallup River Bridges will also remain closed until that time.

“A combination of equipment failures, yesterday’s unusually hot weather and a bridge resistant to being freed from its 89-year home have required more time than originally planned,” WSDOT spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker said in a release.

As of 9 a.m. Sunday, the bridge had been successfully relocated to its new home using a system of rails similar to the system used to move the I-5 Skagit River Bridge into place earlier this year, Bingham Baker said.

“Crews now face the task of placing the bridge onto new bridge piers by using hydraulic jacks to lower it approximately two feet into place,” she said. “Once that work is complete, crews will finish the roadway connections to the bridge on both sides of the river.”