The White River bridge in Enumclaw will be closed for a while, after a routine inspection Saturday found damage to an overhead support structure. The cause: It was struck by an overheight load.
The White River bridge in Enumclaw was closed for emergency repairs after a routine inspection Saturday morning found damage to an overhead support structure caused when it was struck by an overheight load, according to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
The bridge on Highway 410 between Enumclaw and Buckley will be closed for several days and require at least $200,000 in emergency funds to fix, said WSDOT spokesman Travis Phelps.
“We think it happened pretty recently,” based on the way the steel support is resting, Phelps said. “Probably in the last couple weeks would be fair to say.”
He suggested people who routinely use the bridge start thinking about alternate routes, since the emergency closure will impact travel on Easter Sunday, as well as the commute throughout the week.
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An estimated 20,000 vehicles use this stretch of Highway 410 daily.
“We’re looking at a fairly sizable detour here, especially if you’re traveling between Buckley and Enumclaw,” Phelps said. The detour between the towns is about 24 miles and in good traffic conditions, will add 35 minutes to the trip, “but that could change,” he said.
The steel-truss bridge, built in 1949, has an arched, overhead steel-support structure, with signs notifying drivers that the height limit is 15 feet. Low-clearance warning signs are also posted along the shoulder leading to the ramp, according to WSDOT. Residents can call 253-372-3933 to hear a recorded message about the bridge’s status.
The strike occurred in the westbound lanes of the bridge.
Highway 410 is closed to all but local traffic at 244th Avenue Southeast in Enumclaw and Park Avenue in Buckley. Drivers can detour around the bridge using highways 164, 18, 167 and 410.
Phelps said WSDOT’s top priority is ensuring public safety, and crews will be inspecting the other steel supports to make sure there isn’t additional damage.
The State Patrol will be trying to track down the driver of the overheight load, with troopers checking recent permits for vehicles carrying oversized loads in the area, said Trooper Chris Webb. He also asked that any witnesses who may have seen the bridge strike call the patrol’s District 1 office in Tacoma, 253-538-3240.
In May 2013, two vehicles and three people fell into the Skagit River after an oversized truck hit 11 arced sway braces on the Skagit River bridge, causing the catastrophic collapse of a section of Interstate 5. No one was injured, but a state trooper was killed a week later while detouring traffic.
A temporary span was in place for a month before a permanent span opened in September. In November, work was completed squaring the support beams and raising the clearance.
In February, WSDOT filed a lawsuit to recover at least $17 million in costs related to the bridge collapse. The bridge clearance at its lowest point was 15 feet, 9 inches. The truck that hit the braces had a load that measured 15 feet, 11 inches.