Submitted by Thurston County
County commissioners were joined by Public Works staff and guests from the community and partner agencies to break a symbolic bottle of sparkling water to “christen” the new L-4 Salmon Creek Bridge.
“Today, we’re not only celebrating the end of noisy construction and detours and delays, we are celebrating the incredible success of taking what was a failing bridge and creating a brand new bridge under budget and ahead of schedule,” said County Commission Chair Karen Valenzuela, whose district includes the bridge.
“I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating—we could not have done this project without the help of so many partners,” said Commissioner Cathy Wolfe. “Our county staff members, our contractors, and our partner agencies have all done a top notch job. We are truly grateful for all of your efforts, and I know the community is grateful, too.”
The L-4 Salmon Creek Bridge on Littlerock Road Southwest located between 110th Avenue Southwest and 93rd Avenue Southwest was first closed on Monday, January 27 after structural deficiencies were discovered. After thorough inspection, county engineers determined that the damage to the center pier was severe and the bridge structure was compromised beyond the point of repair, and that a new bridge structure with up-to-date safety standards was needed.
The L-4 crossing was re-opened temporarily on March 22 thanks to the loan of a temporary Bailey bridge from the Washington State Department of Transportation. Passenger vehicle traffic was able to use the Bailey bridge until Monday, August 11 when crews removed the temporary bridge and began demolishing the old bridge to make way for a new bridge structure.
The new bridge has a longer span and is 15 feet wider than the old bridge, which will improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The new bridge does not require a center pier in the water like the old bridge structure, and this will allow better fish passage and can accommodate larger stream flows. It also reduces the potential for the kind of scouring that undermined the center pier of the old bridge structure and caused it to crack, making the old bridge structure unstable and unsafe.
The L-4 Bridge project is paid for using a combination of federal highways grant funds and county road funds. The L-4 Bridge project is on track to be approximately 25 to 30 percent under the budgeted amount of $3.4 million—that’s a savings of about $750,000 to $1 million.
Along with the Thurston County Public Works Department, project partners include the Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Fish and Wildlife, the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Army Corps of Engineers, and contractors Active Construction, Inc. and Zemek Construction.