Demolition of Peter Western Bridge to begin Thurs.; could take 2 years to rebuild

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Demolition of the Peter Western Bridge – located in the 2200 block of S. 116th Street in Burien (map below) – is set to begin this Thursday, May 18.

Due to damage to the structural integrity of the bridge, it will require a total rebuild, and the City says it may take two years to complete.

As we previously reported, in February, 2017, the ravine below the 67-year old structure experienced severe erosion caused by a strong winter storm, significantly damaging the bridge’s support columns. The erosion undermined the structural integrity of the bridge, and the City closed it.

The creek running through the ravine also moved, causing further erosion.

The City of Burien was awarded emergency funding to demolish and remove the existing structure; and to construct a replacement bridge, repair damaged stormwater facilities in the ravine, and restore the eroded streambed.

The funding for both the demolition and restoration of the bridge will be coming from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)’s Emergency Relief Fund.

The estimated cost of this repair is:


  • Demolition
  • Emergency response, including traffic control, barricades, and emergency stabilization measures

$7.5 million:

  • Design and build

Construction work will be confined between 7 a.m and 10 p.m., and as the site is cleaned up and temporarily stabilized afterwards.

“It is not safe to walk on the bridge while it stands or to go into the ravine, even after the bridge is demolished,” the city said.

The City adds that the demolition project should last about one month, but since it will be rebuilt, “we anticipate the new bridge will be open to the public within the next two years.”

The project will occur in two phases:

  1. Phase 1 will demolish and remove the bridge and temporarily stabilize stormwater facilities and the streambed.
  2. Phase 2 will install a permanent replacement bridge, permanent stormwater facility repairs, and restore the streambed and adjoining ravine side slopes.

The demolition company selected is Rivers Edge Environmental Services, Inc. The bridge design and construction company has not been selected yet.

A few facts about the bridge:

  • Location is the 2200 block of S 116th Street (between Military Rd and 24th Ave S.; map below)
  • It was built in 1950.
  • It underwent a seismic retrofit in 1996.
  • It was inspected in June 2016 by King County. The report states that there were no issues with scouring of the hillside.
  • There is an apartment complex as well as a few private residences near the bridge.

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One Response to “Demolition of Peter Western Bridge to begin Thurs.; could take 2 years to rebuild”
  1. Jon says:

    Thanks for this – I live near this bridge, and travel over it regularly. Now I know I’ll need to detour for the next two years, but it’s better than climbing out of the ravine after the bridge collapses.

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