Northwest NEWS

June 25, 2001

Front Page

One-day Duvall Bridge closure set for June 30

Load limits to be imposed July 3
   by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   DUVALL-The King County Department of Transportation will be closing the Woodinville-Duvall Bridge on Saturday, June 30, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., for bridge inspection and repair.
   The W-D Bridge is the main bridge on the Woodinville-Duvall Road over the Snoqualmie River leading into Duvall. Bridge crews will repair expansion joint and rail sections, while the engineers perform an in-depth inspection of the underside of the bridge with a special under-bridge inspection truck.
   Traffic will be rerouted south to the Novelty Bridge on NE 124th St.
   "It's a regular two-year inspection," said Linda Thielke, King County Department of Transportation spokesperson. "But the engineers have also decided to place load limits on the bridge."
   On July 3, a 20-ton load limit will be imposed until further repairs are completed, said King County Road Engineer Ron Paananen.
   "The bridge was designed and built in 1951," he said. "The problem is that currrent legal loads are about one-third higher now than when the bridge was built. And it was not designed with extra capacity."
   Paananen said the superstructure of the bridge is cracking under the weight of the numerous heavy trucks that travel it daily. Commuters have noticed the bridge shaking, especially when dump trucks are on it.
   But that's not unusual with bridges, said Paananen.
   "The bridge is flexible, and it will shake," he said. "But a thorough analysis of the bridge by consulting engineers has shown us that we need to take this step now. The work we have planned will increase the load capacity and we will also be resurfacing it."
   The limitation will affect trucks with a 20-ton rated "gross vehicle weight," which will include dump trucks, tractor-trailer rigs and articulated Metro buses, even if empty.
   "Otherwise we would have to weigh each truck that comes across the bridge," he said.
   Paananen said engineers are still studying whether or not standard coaches will be able to use the bridge, but added that school buses will be allowed and that they are also working with the fire district on how to handle the need for fire trucks to use the bridge.
   Paananen said work on the bridge will begin early next year and take about four to six months to complete.
   "It is expected that load restrictions will be removed about a year from now," he said.
   Paananen said a seismic retrofit, which will shore up the substructure, is scheduled for 2004.