Tacoma to close East 11th Street Bridge due to safety concerns

(Photo by city of Tacoma)

TACOMA -- The city announced Tuesday that, for safety reasons, it is going to shut down the East 11th Street Bridge spanning the Puyallup River and attached viaduct through the Port of Tacoma area to all uses.

The bridge, built in 1911, has been monitored since the city took possession from the state in 1995.

"Deterioration to joints, beams and trusses has progressed slowly but steadily and conditions, in the interest of public safety, now warrant a precautionary closure," the city of Tacoma said in a news release.

The bridge closure will not impact bus routes, emergency vehicles, or trucking traffic as a previous 10-ton weight limit went into effect in 2005. However, about 2,000 vehicles a day have continued to use the bridge.

“This is going to inconvenience some drivers, but our top priority is to keep people safe,” said Tacoma Public Works Director Kurtis Kingsolver. “I wish we could say it was going be short term, but that’s not known and bridge infrastructure costs are difficult for many local communities, not just Tacoma, to absorb.”

Drivers may use one of four other Tacoma-area Puyallup River bridge crossings, though similar issues triggered weight restrictions on the Puyallup Avenue area bridge earlier this year.

A definitive closure date has not been set, but is anticipated to occur within the next several weeks, the news release said.