House considers Zeiger bill to expedite replacement of aging bridges

House considers Zeiger bill to expedite replacement of aging bridges

Legislation that would authorize expedited permitting and contracting for replacement work on Washington state's structurally-deficient bridges received a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee today.

Rep. Hans Zeiger introduced House Bill 2071 last June when the Legislature was in special session, but the transportation committee did not have any scheduled meetings at that point in time.

Under the proposed legislation, permitting and contracting would be expedited on Washington's aging and deficient bridges and would likely bring down the costs and cut down the timeline for planning and construction.

“The cost of replacing a bridge in Washington state is exorbitant and the timeline is lengthy. We need to reduce costs and speed up the process,” said Zeiger, R-Puyallup. “What happened in Skagit County is a perfect example of how quickly and efficiently bridge work can be done.”

The Skagit River Bridge collapsed on May 23, 2013 and a contract was awarded on June 18 for work on the temporary replacement spans. The spans were in place the following day. The permanent replacement bridge was completed on Sept. 15, 2013.

Zeiger sponsored the bill because he is concerned about the condition of the Meridian Street Puyallup River Bridge in his own 25th Legislative District. “The Meridian Street Puyallup River Bridge was built in 1925 and has a structural sufficiency rating of two out of one hundred. This bridge is prioritized for replacement by the Washington State Department of Transportation but work is not expected to be complete on a new bridge until late 2015. We shouldn't have to wait that long to replace a bridge that is structurally insufficient,” said Zeiger.

Concerns with the bridge's structure have already restricted northbound truck traffic to the bridge's right lane for two-and-a-half years.

Zeiger said he is committed to working with the department and other stakeholders to craft a workable policy to make it through the Legislature this session.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov