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Big fix will cause big traffic around Enumclaw and Buckley for a week

The White River Bridge between Enumclas and Buckley will be closed for one week, cutting off nearly 20,000 drivers. (AP)

A truck driver rammed the White River Bridge on Highway 410 nearly one year ago. It was an over-height truck that smacked and severely damaged several of the support beams.

It was only after a state employee noticed the damage that inspectors went out to take a look. A temporary fix was put into place, but since then, the Washington State Department of Transportation has been developing a permanent repair.

“We need to go in and permanently fix that. We’ve had a temporary repair in place for the last year, but we need to go in an permanently fix those support beams and replace some,” said Kris Olsen with WSDOT.

To this day, it is unknown who caused the significant damage.

“They may have just decided to keep going, they might have not realized it and thought it was just a bump in the road. Who knows? We don’t know how that hit got there and who did it,” Olsen said.

But it certainly did enough damage to the bridge. The truck must have suffered significant damage, too.

The bridge repair work will begin Friday, April 15 and last through the following Saturday. That means a full week-long closure that will cause quite a disturbance for area drivers.

There are no other bridges. The closure will turn a 3 1/2 mile drive into a 35 mile detour. About 20,000 drivers a day use this bridge so they are going to need to make some alternate plans for that week.

“Drivers who are accustomed to running really quick between Buckley and Enumclaw over that bridge are going to have a detour route that will take them an extra 45 minutes to an hour. There just aren’t any other options for that traffic,” Olsen said.

Olsen says the state met with leaders from both Buckley and Enumclaw and local lawmakers about the plan. Engineers wanted to do the work over four weekends. But those leaders opted for this full closure, instead.

“They really pushed for this particular week because the ski season was expected to be over. It was outside any major events or holidays, and it did fall over a school break,” Olsen said. “It’s the best of the choices, none of which are idea.”

Only one of the local school districts is off that week. The others are on.

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