WSDOT slows southbound Steamboat Slough Bridge traffic after structural concerns

State says bridge is safe, but slower traffic, ‘lessens stress on the entire bridge structure.’

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MARYSVILLE — Concerns with aging bridge connectors has led the state Department of Transportation to slow traffic to 25 miles per hour Thursday on 96-year-old southbound Steamboat Slough Bridge.

The speed change, from 55 mph, on Highway 529 takes effect immediately.

The southbound bridge is 96 years old and was rebuilt in 1993.

“The bridge remains safe for travel, but regular inspections discovered 12 of the original gusset plates – which connect steel beams on the bridge – need to be replaced,” a press release from the state transportation department reads. “The lower speed limit reduces vibrations on the bridge, which lessens stress on the entire bridge structure.”

Three multi-day closures of southbound Steamboat Slough Bridge will be needed to complete repairs, according to the state. As of Thursday, there were no dates set for the closures. When construction comes, traffic will be diverted to I-5.

Those additional bridge repairs have been added to a larger project that includes work on northbound Snohomish River Bridge and both north and southbound Steamboat Slough Bridge.

The northbound Steamboat Slough Bridge was built in 1954 while the northbound Snohomish River Bridge was built in 1927 and rebuilt 66 years later.

Work on the larger project will begin later this summer, according to the Department of Transportation. It will cost $13.5 million and is expected to be completed by winter 2024.

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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