Construction on the Peter Western Bridge – which suffered from storm damage and was demolished in May, 2017 – will begin in early 2019, the City of Burien announced.

The bridge, located in the 2200 block of S. 116th Street in Burien (map below) – was demolished after winter storm damage significantly weakened the pilings.

The city says the new structure will open to traffic in the fall of 2020.

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.

A few facts about the bridge:

  • 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.

The bridge’s namesake – Peter H. Western (pictured, left) – was born in Kent, WA on March 11, 1883, and passed away just a week shy of his 71st birthday on March 4, 1954.

“Peter Western was from a pioneer family who settled in the Duwamish Valley where Peter was born in 1883,” Researcher Karen Portzer said (via Maiya Andrews and Emily Inlow-Hood at the City of Burien). “He died in 1954.”

Western was a farmer, and he also owned a battery repair store in Boulevard Heights. He married Olive Avenell in Nov., 1911, and fathered three children: John Henry Western (1912-1978), Donald Hovel Western (1916-1993), and William Avenell Western (1918-1988).

Western resided at 11837 25th Ave S., and his son Donald appears to have lived at 2400 S. 118th, which is near the bridge.

Here’s the latest update from the city:

Project Overview
On February 9, 2017 City staff responded to a report of severe erosion occurring below the bridge. The bridge was closed for structural inspection, which revealed two bridge columns had been completely undermined. A third column was only partially supported. The bridge was declared structurally deficient. Burien applied for and has been 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 project will occur in two phases. Phase 1 will demolish and remove the bridge, temporarily stabilize stormwater facilities and the streambed. Phase 2 will install a permanent replacement bridge, permanent stormwater facility repairs, and restore the streambed and adjoining ravine side slopes.
Project Status
Phase 1 Status:

  • Demolition is complete. Watch video of the demolition.
  • Staff is working with agencies to secure after-construction permits as required by law.

Phase 2 Status:

  • Based on the current design progress, the bridge will be under construction in early 2019, and will open to traffic in the fall of 2020. This timeline assumes there are no issues in obtaining the necessary property rights to do the work.
  • Estimated project completion date: Project completion date is dependent on requirements from environmental permits.

And just because we think it’s interesting, here’s a video of the bridge being knocked down on May 19, 2017:

The Project manager for this is Maiya Andrews, (206) 248-5514,[email protected].

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