MABTON – The Mabton-Sunnyside Bridge on State Route 241 closed just after 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 16 to all traffic until later this summer.
The Washington State Department of Transportation implemented weight restrictions on the bridge in May 2014. The weight limit was lowered from 14 tons to 3 tons to prevent further damage to a cracking span in the middle of the bridge. Despite efforts to enforce the restrictions by the Washington State Patrol‘s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau, vehicles exceeding the 3 ton restriction continued to use the bridge.
“The weight restriction was put on the bridge for the safety of the traveling public to prevent a catastrophic failure,” said Don Whitehouse, WSDOT regional administrator. “In order to prevent further damage, we are closing the bridge to all traffic.”
Signs will direct drivers around the closure using an 8-mile detour onto local county roads.
WSDOT secured $350,000 in emergency funds to repair the 60-year-old bridge and restore the weight capacity back to 14 tons. Contractor crews are scheduled to repair the bridge in August and reopen later this summer.