Area needs another bridge to decrease traffic



We need another bridge. When this Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) plan is completed, all the traffic will be gridlocked between Roy and Walmart. I drive this stretch daily, and if someone sneezes, the whole thing is a mess in that stretch. The traffic through town is just a part of the problem. 

I drive mainly from Yelm to Joint Base Lewis-McChord East Gate, and during the 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. window, approximately one-third of the traffic splits off in Roy the same as I do. We need another bridge.

I have brought it up before in many circles, including an information fair about five years ago at the (then) new building at the city park. Both WSDOT and the City were represented there. The DOT rep was intrigued by the idea, and the City rep thought I’d lost my mind. “We’re going to turn that into a bike path. Nobody wants to drive through a gravel pit!” he said, as if riding a bike through the Miles pit is any better.

Get out your map. Google works fine. Follow the Yelm Trail bike path. It’s city property, I believe, all the way to the river. Keep going. I’m pretty sure Pierce County owns the other side up to the center of Roy. It’s a wide enough right-of-way for a two-lane road and already owned by public entities, thereby negating the usual concerns for the purchase price of new land for roads.  

The existing bridge is obviously not functional for cars in its current state, even if it were in good repair. But having one already in place skirts many of the environmental impact concerns that would normally be in effect.  

Need a bridge? Easy fix. Scroll on over to the Puyallup River Meridian Ave crossing. The old steel structure was removed about 15 years ago and set to the side where it still awaits demolition or repurposing. You’ll see it just to the west of Meridian and north of the river. Last I saw, it was part of the historic bridge registry for Washington, and they were willing to give it away to any who might need it. And yes, it’s long enough, oh yeah. It has so much extra length to spare that it could be set up without even coming close to touching the banks of the river. 

If you need more information, of course, I can do a little. I’m not an engineer, but I work construction so I am good with general figures.

Rob Smith