Milwaukee Bridge Replacement

Veterans Memorial Bridge (Milwaukee Bridge Replacement Project)

The Milwaukee Bridge was originally built in 1962 by Pierce County Public Works. This cast-in-place box girder bridge spans the Puyallup River at Milwaukee Avenue NE and 5th Street NE in Puyallup and consists of 1 main span (200 LF) and 5 approach spans. The total length of the crossing is 472 LF.

The 2011 sufficiency rating for the Milwaukee Bridge was 15.32, and is Structurally Deficient (SD) as well as Functionally Obsolete (FO). The bridge was posted with load restrictions in 2009. The 2012 Average Daily Trips (ADT) on the existing span is 9,733 and the future (2032) ADT is anticipated to be 17,750. It should be noted the bridge is still safe to drive and walk on! A sufficiency rating is just a way to measure the components of the bridge and measure the state of its various components. The bridge is constantly being monitored per mandated State and Federal guidelines. If the bridge were ever to pose a threat to the traveling public, the City, working with State officials, would take the steps necessary to ensure the public’s safety

The bridge deck is 26 feet wide, is considered functionally obsolete, and consists of two lanes (one each direction) at 12-feet wide with 1-foot shoulders. There is a sidewalk on one side only and does not meet current ADA requirements. It has been determined the expected life span of the existing bridge is 10 years (+/-). Depending on the future bridge inspection results, closure of the bridge could be sooner than the expected 10 year life span.

In response to a request for proposal for funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the City now has an opportunity to take advantage of an 80% cost share, up to $10,000,000 grant from the FHWA. Staff is also trying to obtain an additional $2.5 million of Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) funding through the State. If successful, this grant would pay for the balance of funding needed for this project.

To learn more about this bridge, replacement project, and potential funding read the Milwaukee Bridge Report (PDF) (February 2013).

Project Status (May 22, 2014)

In December 2013, the City approved a consultant contract with Berger ABAM, from Federal Way, to perform preliminary design work on the Milwaukee Bridge over the Puyallup River. At that time, the City also approved an ordinance to rename the structure Veterans Memorial Bridge in honor of the City’s residences who have served, are still serving, and have given their lives in the service of their Country.

Beginning in January 2014 and continuing through April 2014, the consultant will be performing on-site work in, under, and around the current structure.

These activities include tasks such as:
  • Hydraulic surveying to determine/verify the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) and flood elevations
  • Parcel research to determine the amount of right-of-way needed for the proposed structure
  • Preliminary bridge and roadway layouts
  • Soil borings to determine the soil conditions the existing and new structure will be bearing on
  • Surveying the road, adjacent parcels, and bridge
  • Traffic counts
  • Wetland delineation to determine the extent of wetlands areas adjacent to the River
All of this work will result in 30% level design plans that will give a general idea of where the future structure and road will be located at. The 30% plans are anticipated to be completed in October 2014. Prior to this date, City staff, with assistance from the Consultant, will hold an open house for residents to provide comment as well as see what is going on in their City.

May 2014 - Initial field investigation complete. Consultant moving towards completing site plans and 30% design plans.

December 2013 - Public Works staff and BergerABAM completed negotiations for the phase 1 design work on the project. An agenda bill was brought before Council at the December 10, 2013. Council approved the phase 1 design tasks agreement in the amount of (approximately) $1.2 million.

November 2013 - Negotiations with the top design firm candidate, BergerABAM, completed. An agenda bill will be brought before Council for approval of the phase 1 design tasks.

September 2013 - Public Works staff, along with WSDOT Highway and Local Programs staff, interviewed the top 3 candidates for the design of the Milwaukee Bridge. The top three candidates were BergerAbam, KPFF, and Sargent Engineering. Public Works staff scored and ranked the firms based on their interview and selected the top candidate, BergerABAM, to move forward into the negotiation phase with the City.

August 2013 - Public Works staff reviewed the Statement of Qualifications for 8 highly qualified firms. Of the 8 firms, Public Works staff selected 3 firms to move onto the interview phase with the City.

July 2013 - Public Works advertises for qualified bridge design firms to submit a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) for the Milwaukee Bridge Replacement project.

April 2013 - City Council accepts Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee (BRAC) funds in the amount of $10 million. By accepting the funds, it obligates the City to move forward with the Milwaukee Bridge Replacement project.

November 2012 - City receives notification from the Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee (BRAC) of the intention of awarding the City with a $10 million grant to fund 80% of the cost, up to $10 million, to replace the Milwaukee Bridge over the Puyallup River.

August 2012 - Public Works staff apply for Federal Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee (BRAC) funds to replace the Milwaukee Bridge over the Puyallup River. The funds, if awarded to the City, will pay 80% of the costs, up to $10 million, to replace the Milwaukee Bridge over the Puyallup River. Preliminary estimates to replace the structure are $12.58 million. The balance of any funds in excess of $10 million would need to be paid by the City or other funds.