Bridge work to reduce southbound SR 167 for 6 weekends

Jul 5, 2023, 12:05 PM | Updated: Jul 6, 2023, 5:02 am

SR 167 bridge work...

The SR 167 bridge in Kent (Photo from WSDOT)

(Photo from WSDOT)

A 56-year-old bridge on State Route 167 needs some serious TLC, but it will take six weekends of work to get it done.

This bridge takes southbound SR 167 over the railroad tracks, just northwest of the ShoWare Center in Kent. The surface is in rough shape after nearly six decades of driving.

“This bridge was built in 1967, and the bridge deck has deteriorated,” Washington Department of Transportation project engineer James Harper said. “We have a number of locations where we have exposed steel reinforcing, and so this project is going to go in and reestablish that driving surface.”

It will take six weekends of work to do this job, and that work will take two of the three lanes each weekend.

“Friday night, starting at 10 p.m., we’ll take the first lane and then take the second lane at 11 p.m.,” Harper said. “We should be off the road by Monday at 5 a.m., so there will definitely be some impact.”

This applies to the southbound side only, but taking two out of three lanes of a road is never good. The plan is to do this for six straight weekends, which will include SeaFair weekend. But the special concrete the contractor is using can’t be put down in wet weather.

“This material that we’re working with, the polyester concrete overlay, is very weather sensitive, so if there is any rain in the forecast, we’re likely to have to move to a different weekend,” Harper said.

Right now, that doesn’t look likely.

What about the tolls on SR 167?

During some of these weekends, drivers will be forced into the HOV lane, which is tolled from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Harper said there will be no tolling those weekends.

“We’ll be forcing that traffic into that left lane, and that will be the only option so our traffic management center has the ability to turn tolling off during those times,” Harper said.

That is because the SR 167 tolls are a congestion tool and not tied to bond payments.

What about dealing with the railroad?

Many times projects above railroad rights-of-way have to deal with time constraints or mitigation issues because of the freight and passenger traffic below. That won’t be an issue, either.

“We’re just working on top, so all of our all of our work is going to be on the bridge deck contained by the barrier,” Harper said.  “No issues with working with the railroad, which can be kind of a lengthy, complex process.”

The northbound span over the railroad tracks appears to be in much better shape. There are no current plans to perform the same work on that side of the freeway.

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Bridge work to reduce southbound SR 167 for 6 weekends