Residents and businesses affected by the closure of a dangerous bridge on Littlerock Road will get relief soon when the county installs a temporary bridge.
The two-lane L-4 Bridge on Littlerock Road SW, located between 110th Avenue SW and 93rd Avenue SW, was first closed on Jan. 27 after structural deficiencies were discovered.
Installation of the temporary Bailey bridge structure is expected to begin some time next week, according to an agreement reached Friday by the Thurston County Commissioners and the state Department of Transportation. Area residents will receive a postcard with more information once the installation schedule is finalized. Construction on a new bridge is expected to begin this summer, the county reports.
Owners of the Villa Grove gasoline station and convenience store are hopeful the temporary bridge will help restore some of their customer traffic.
Villa Grove is located at Littlerock Road and 93rd Avenue, about a mile north of the bridge. Co-owner Chong Na said business has decreased by 50 percent since the bridge closed Jan. 27. The bridge was re-opened Feb. 19, but closed a day later after county officials discovered heavy vehicles were crossing despite restrictions.
Villa Grove has collected nearly 1,800 signatures in a petition that calls for the county to re-open the road. About 300 of those signatures have come in the past week.
Customers who visited the store Saturday afternoon expressed relief over news of the temporary bridge. Littlerock Road is a main thoroughfare for locals. Several customers said they spend more money on gasoline and more time driving because of the detour.
“I stop here almost all the time. … This is the only community store,” said regular customer Susan McNeill, adding that word has spread about Villa Grove’s predicament. “It’s very unfair.”
Engineers found the soil and footing under the center pier of the 1950s vintage bridge had been washed away by scour, making the pier unstable and causing the bridge deck to sag in several places. Engineers determined that the bridge was in danger of collapsing with the weight and stress of continued vehicle traffic. The bridge was closed to protect the public’s safety.
Construction on the nearby L-5 Bridge will also continue next week, according to the county. Engineers recently found scour under the center support pier and some cracking in the bridge structure that is similar to the damage on the L-4 Bridge, but not as severe. Traffic is restricted to one lane while crews work to stabilize the bridge and prevent further damage.
Click here to check out a March 11 report by The Olympian for more information on the bridge.