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Puyallup River Bridge

Puyallup River Bridge Aerial View

Puyallup River Bridge Project Updates

Phase I of the project is expected to start in February 2018 with the relocation pole line to the south of the bridge being undergrounded.  This work will not affect traffic on the bridge.


Phase II of the project includes the actual demolition and replacement of the structure is planned for April 2018 pending final agreements from both Union Pacific and BNSF railroads and final certification of the projects right of way needs.  The project anticipates being complete in January 2019.


About the Bridge

The Puyallup River Bridge, that links Tacoma to the city of Fife to its east, was opened in 1927. It was opened as one of Washington's last segments of the famous Pacific Highway, also known as State Route 1 and in later years, Highway 99. The bridge is made up of five steel-truss spans linked by reinforced concrete sections. It was financed in approximately equal measure by the federal and state governments, took barely more than a year to build, and was finished early and within budget. The bridge lost much of its daily traffic load when the first Washington segment of Interstate 5 opened in Tacoma in December 1960, but it has remained an important commercial arterial, linking Fife to Tacoma's industrial area and the facilities of the Port of Tacoma. In 2013, after more than 85 years of nearly trouble-free service, age and the elements were catching up with the Puyallup Avenue Bridge, and the City of Tacoma was well along with plans to replace 950 feet of the span on the Tacoma side of the river with a cable stay bridge.


Funding for this work was primarily split between two Federal grants, Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee (BRAC) and Surface Transportation Program (STP), to replace two sections of the bridge F16A and F16B along with a partial replacement of section F22.  No work is anticipated on the three sections spanning the river and running east. Augmenting the Federal funding were two State grants from the State Department of Commerce and the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board to replace these bridge sections.

Specifically project will replace the bridge sections required to span the BNSF and Union Pacific Main Lines through Tacoma.  The project will have a right of way component and design review by both railroads and the State.  The Puyallup River Bridge is on an arterial street consisting of four travel lanes with three currently crossing over the bridge. Construction of the bridge will impact traffic patterns in the area forcing traffic onto I-5 and Highway 509.

Unfortunately the design work for a cable stay bridge proved financially unviable in 2013 and required rethinking of the project in order to protect the federal grants acquired to replace the bridge.  In February 2016 an Alternative Assessment Workshop was completed with WSDOT and other agencies and professionals to determine if the project should move forward.  The Workshop determined that the project was of value to the area and the bridge should be replaced.  Following the workshop, the design-build procurement process was found to be the only way to secure the Federal funding prior to the December 2016 obligation deadline.


The design-build selection process started in November 2016 when the City opened the RFQ and scored the ten statements of qualification received. Then in January 2017 the City issued the RFP to the three finalists selected. The design-build teams submitted their preliminary designs for scoring in April 2017.  The submittals received represented three different steel and concrete girder bridge designs.  On April 18, 2017 the City opened the proposals received.  Atkinson Construction was found to be the best value proposer with a design of a continuous span precast concrete girder bridge replacing F16 A&B and all of the F22 span.


All permits for the project have been updated and the City anticipates its environmental documents to be approved prior to the end of January.  At the same time the project has received permission to phase its Right of Way acquisition to allow utility relocation work to begin prior to the anticipated demolition of the bridge.

Links to Project Documents

Puyallup River Bridge Design Build Submitter's Meeting Sign-in Sheet - October 4, 2016

Alternatives Assessment Summary Report - February 2016

Puyallup River Bridge Plans - October 2013

Puyallup River Bridge Specs - October 2013

GeoTech Report - December 2010

GeoTech Report - June 2013

Proposed Railroad ROW Plan Page - June 2008

The data/designs/plans available on this website are provided on an As Is, As Available, and With All Faults basis. The City of Tacoma, its Department of Public Works, its officials and employees, hereinafter referred to as the "City" makes no warranty of any kind for this information, express or implied, including but not limited to any warranties of accuracy, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, nor shall the distribution of this information constitute any warranty.

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 Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee - BRAC  $15,628,538
 Federal Funding - FHWA(STP)  $12,200,000
 Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board  $5,000,000
 Dept. of Commerce  $6,950,000
 Port of Tacoma  $500,000
 City of Tacoma  $1,607,505




Phase Estimated Start Date Estimated End Date
RFQ for DB Teams September 2016 November 2016
RFP for DB Teams November 2016 June 2017
Design/Construction June 2017 December 2018
Estimated Construction April 2018 February 2018
Anticipated Opening January 2019  


Questions and Comments

The City of Tacoma is managing the project. Contact City Project Manager Chris Storey with questions or concerns at (253) 573-2484 or via email.