Rep. Zeiger introduces bipartisan bill to fix bridges

Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, has introduced a bipartisan bill to expedite the process of replacing bridges rated as “structurally deficient.” House Bill 1219 would fast track the replacement of deficient bridges by shortening timelines for contracting and permitting.

Zeiger sponsored the bill because he is concerned about the condition of the Meridian Street Puyallup River Bridge in his own 25th Legislative District.

“I’m happy that the Department of Transportation is making progress toward replacing the Meridian Street Puyallup River Bridge, but that should have been done years earlier. We need to make it easier to replace our aging bridges,” said Zeiger, R-Puyallup.

The Washington State Department of Transportation currently identifies 130 bridges as structurally deficient. “We can’t afford to allow that list to grow,” said Zeiger. “The legislature needs to act quickly.”

Compliance with the state environmental policy act is waived as long as repair or replacement takes place in the existing right-of-way, except as needed to meet current engineering standards and environmental permit requirements. Repairs or replacement may not result in added lanes for automobiles in order to maintain the exemption.

“We need to focus on reducing costs and improving the amount of time it takes to replace these bridges,” said Zeiger. “The Skagit River Bridge collapse in 2013 proved we could replace bridges more efficiently and effectively under federal law, and we should use that model to address the state’s structurally deficient bridges.”

A public hearing was held for House Bill 1219 on January 28th, 2015 in the House Transportation Committee.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
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Washington State House Republican Communications