Photo by John Stamets, courtesy of King County
An overhead view of construction on the new South Park Bridge, now delayed into 2014.

UPDATE: South Park Bridge completion delayed into 2014; community meeting set

Update for Nov. 9
King County's Department of Transportation is holding a community meeting on Nov. 15 for more information on the South Park Bridge construction delay. Here are the details:

Please join King County Roads Staff next Thursday, Nov. 15, from 7-8 pm at the South Park Neighborhood Center (8201 10th Ave S) to hear more about the need to shift the South Park Bridge construction schedule to early 2014. At the meeting, we’ll provide an overview of the challenges faced in sinking Pier 3—complete with pictures and a diagram—and set aside time for questions and answers.

Original report on Nov. 2
As first mentioned by Jay Osborne, King County Road Services Manager, at a North Highline community meeting on Nov. 1, completion of the South Park Bridge is being pushed back into "early" 2014 instead of the original September 2013 date.

The delay, according to Osborne, is a result of a construction snag.

“There have been some difficulties in the construction … those caissons (the bridge supports) go down quite deep and there was a hard clay deposit at the bottom of one of those and the methodology the contractor was using to dig it out (to sink that caisson) was unsuccessful, so they had to retool and redo it in a different way.”

Osborne said the caisson is now where it needs to be, and King County Department of Transportation confirmed on Nov. 2 that the delay will push back completion into 2014.

This is rough news for commuters who prefer the route, and businesses along 14th Ave S. in South Park that have been anxiously awaiting the new bridge to provide more customer traffic and access. The county said they will assist small business in “marketing and promotion” to help offset the delay.

The new bridge is expected to meet “current structural, seismic, and traffic standards” along with bike lanes and moveable spans with a solid deck instead of open grating which will lead road runoff into a raingarden for natural filtration instead of dumping it directly into the Duwamish Waterway.

Here is the announcement from King County’s Department of Transportation:

As many of you are already aware the excavation to complete the in-water caissons (Piers 3 and 4) took longer than expected. The contractor, Kiewit Massman JV, has informed us that they believe the bridge will be open in early 2014, rather than the originally scheduled opening date of September 2013. The County and the contractor are now working on a revised construction schedule. A more definitive date should be announced within the next few weeks.

We understand this delay could cause further hardship for residents and businesses, particularly small businesses along 14th Avenue S who are awaiting the bridge’s reopening. As a result, Executive Constantine has directed the County to identify additional resources to support and assist small businesses in marketing and promotion, and to work with the community and city on other ways to mitigate some of the unintended consequences resulting from the bridge closure during its construction.

On the horizon
Major steel components for the new bridge have started arriving for assembly about a mile downriver of the project. Most of the moveable parts of the draw spans have already been fabricated. Early next year you’ll start seeing these giant components barged to the site and erected. You’ll also see the demolition of portions of the old bridge get underway later this month.

Community Meeting
Stay tuned for details about a community meeting where you can learn more about the construction progress and hear an update on the schedule. We’re aiming to hold the meeting within the next two weeks and we'll also have people attending the upcoming South Park Neighborhood Association meetings to answer people's questions. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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