WA Plans for Major Bridge Renovation, Repainting
Design work is expected to begin this year for repainting, deck resurfacing and other related repairs on the Meeker Street Bridge in Kent, Washington. The Kent City Council approved an agreement earlier this month with an engineering firm to start design plans in anticipation for work to begin in 2024.
According to the city, portions of the bridge have “severe” paint scaling peeled to the primer, as well as exposed rebar on parts of the lanes.
Built in 1958, the Meeker Street Bridge is a steel stringer bridge with a Warren Truss Frame. It is part of the old SR 516, a major corridor linking I-5 and SR 167. It spans across the Green River at a total length of 245.1 feet.
Just west of the bridge, the city reports that the average daily traffic is 18,900 with 4% trucks and annual gross tonnage of just under 2 million.
Back in 2013, it was reported by the Kent Reporter that the structure was in need of a paint job, estimated at $1 million at the time. An additional $400,000 would have been needed to replace concrete panels on the bridge deck.
Public Works Director Tim LaPorte reported at the time that the bridge was last painted in 1994.
An inspection in April 2018 found that the bridge was in overall “poor” condition, with the deck condition also rating poor and the superstructure and substructure rating “satisfactory.”
According to Kent’s Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program, the bridge has severe paint scaling with 70% of top chords on the trusses peeled to the primer, as well as bottom trusses and vertical hangers. Pack rust is also visible.
Additionally, the bridge deck has “severe” exposed short transverse rebar with spalls concentrated in both eastbound and westbound lanes. The worst area is reportedly in the southern lane, with the lanes having about 50-55% exposed transverse rebar on the bridge decking.
“Due to aging of the bridge, the existing finger expansion joints need to be replaced, including the reinsert and glue bearing pads,” the City of Kent wrote in its project description.
About the Project
While construction and painting isn’t expected to start until 2024, the Kent City Council recently approved a $352,519 consultant agreement with Bellevue-based TranTech Engineering to develop design plans, specifications and cost estimates for the bridge repainting and deck resurfacing work.
TranTech was selected for the design work after a request for qualifications from companies and an interview process in October and November of 2022. Steve Lincoln, a Public Works engineer, noted that the company was the “most qualified.”
As part of the agreement, TranTech will reportedly complete:
Once these plans are finalized, the project will be put out to bid and the company will also provide bid support services, according to reports.
“It will require full repaint and structure repair,” Lincoln said. “There are cracks and corrosion on the bridge.”
Partial or full closure traffic during work on the bridge will be required, Lincoln noted, adding that the city will provide public notice prior to any closures.
“It depends if it’s full or partial closure,” Lincoln about the length of any shutdown. “We will discuss it further as we go into design.”
Lincoln said full closure will shorten the work period but force drivers to use alternate routes. A partial closure, one side at a time with one lane open, would require a longer construction period.
Work is anticipated to include replacing the existing finger expansion joins and bearing pads, deck resurfacing and bridge repainting. The project cost is currently estimated at $5,980,800, but TranTech is also expected to complete its own estimate.
Lincoln told the council committee that the city has obtained $4.5 million in federal grants to help pay for the project. Other funding sources could reportedly include the city’s business and occupation tax.