The bridge damaged in Washington after a semi truck lost its load last week will be reopened in the next four to six weeks, city officials say.
The timeline for repair was announced on Tuesday, December 21st and takes into account potential rain and snow, holidays, and includes two weeks needed for structural calculations and inspections following the completion of the repair. Tukwila Mayor Allan Ekberg signed an emergency proclamation in order to accelerate the repair, which will cost an estimated $221,000.
The bridge will be repaired by a specialty contractor called Flame on Inc., which will use heat-straightening, or flame-straightening, to restore one overhead beam and two side beams to their original positions, reported The Seattle Times.
“We’re just shrinking where it got stretched,” explained Tyler Thomas, company vice president.
The most damaged part of the bridge includes an overhead sway brace, which was moved 18 inches by the semi truck’s too-tall load. The impact also moved a weight-supporting vertical beam 10 inches.
The bridge serves 3,000 semi trucks a day, but was already in need of replacement when the recent wreck occurred. For now, the bridge is closed to traffic, but city officials are still working to determine what the next best truck route may be.
“It’s been very nice [with the bridge closed]; the kids are safer walking to the community center. People are congregating on the bridge. There are no diesel fumes,”said Sally Blake, a nearby resident. Residents hope that the city will soon build a new bridge near an Interstate 5 truck stop farther south, or even a truck-only bridge near 48th Avenue South, which would lead directly into the BNSF railway freight yard.