Last of Tumwater Creek bridge girders delivered; truck route reopened

PORT ANGELES — The last of the 25 girders for the Tumwater Creek bridge were delivered and lowered into place by 1 p.m. Wednesday, and the Tumwater Truck Route was reopened to through traffic.

A truck carrying one of the massive girders carefully backed down Eighth Street toward the construction site and its equally massive cranes on Wednesday morning.

Lights flashing, a Port Angeles police car sat at the intersection of Eighth and C streets, and an employee with contractor Parsons RCI Inc. of Sumner waved northbound drivers on C Street to the west.

“Everything went very, very smoothly,” said city spokeswoman Teresa Pierce.

“There was excellent cooperation from drivers.

“It was done very quickly.”

Parsons is replacing the two timber trestle bridges along West Eighth Street with concrete ones.

Each bridge will be 47 feet wide with two 12-foot travel lanes, two five-foot bicycle lanes and two 6.5-foot sidewalks, and will feature two pedestrian viewpoints.

Parsons continues building the support columns and pouring the concrete piers for the Valley Creek bridge to the west, and the 25 girders for that bridge are expected to be delivered in mid-June.

“They will have a better idea when they get closer,” Pierce said.

Now that the girders are in place atop the concrete piers set in the Tuwmater Creek valley, the structure is beginning to more closely resemble a bridge.

Pierce said now the contractor will start preparing to install the decking, which will sit underneath the asphalt that will begin carrying the route’s approximately 12,000 drivers sometime later this year.

But nothing in the immediate plan should be as disruptive as the girder delivery and installation has been, she said.

The old Tumwater Creek bridge closed in August 2007, followed by the Valley Creek bridge in September 2007.

The construction schedule had the bridges re-opening in mid-November, although that might change now that the end product is coming into sharper focus.

“They are shooting for late 2008,” Pierce said.

“Now that they have that big part done, they will be looking at the schedule and maybe revising it in the next week or so.”

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