Tacoma project to remove East 11th Street viaduct nears completion

The city says adjustments to the East 11th Street Bridge will not only help the port’s operations, but also make it safer for people to fish in the area.

TACOMA, Wash. – If you’re interested in learning more about bridges in Tacoma, engineer Steve Carstens is the place to be.

Born and raised in Tacoma, Carstens recalls riding his bike across the East 11th Street Bridge to buy fireworks.

Now he’s working on a project to tear down one of the city’s most iconic bridges.

“I thought at first I wanted to be this great builder, but then I go, I love bridges, I think they’re so cool,” he said. “It’s been around since the ’20s and it’s a focal point and a landmark. People tell me all the time, “I’m going to Milwaukee, and it’s weird not seeing this structure,” you know? They say: ‘This used to be here.’

During Tuesday’s session, the City Council approved spending $3.5 million on an inter-local agreement with the Port of Tacoma for the emergency removal of the East 11th Street Viaduct.

Carstens said the project will open up around five acres of space for the port.

Matthew Mauer, who serves as the Port of Tacoma’s manager of local government affairs, said the port is excited about the additional space.

“The ability to use this space for port purposes can definitely have a major impact on our ability to move cargo more efficiently,” Mauer said. “We need to talk internally about how best to use this land, but it’s definitely being used productively.”

The project is also setting up safeguards to catch debris that might fall off the bridge and protecting members of the Puyallup tribe when they launch boats and hold fishing ceremonies.

“We don’t want anyone to lose their life or get hurt… just because they’re doing what they’re allowed and supposed to do on their own property, which is fishing,” said Carstens.

Carstens said Tacoma has plans to update and repair some of the city’s other bridges.

He can’t wait to get started.

“Every time I change careers, I always come back to bridges. So now I’m staying with this until I die…”

Carstens said the portion of the project serving the port should be completed by mid-July. The backups to the underside of the bridge are expected to be completed by mid-August.

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https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/tacoma/tacoma-east-11th-viaduct-removal/281-e3b5b168-f505-4e83-a430-b3531ef396ad Tacoma project to remove East 11th Street viaduct nears completion

Alley Einstein

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