Bridges

The county road system currently has 266 bridges and short span structures on system. Of these, 112 have a length of 20 feet or greater, which classifies them as bridges. Each year the county inspects approximately 50% of its bridges on an alternating basis to comply with National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) requirement of a 24 month maximum inspection cycle. During these inspections potential problems and maintenance issues are identified and documented. These findings are scheduled for repair with either County Forces, WSDOT Bridge Crew or by contract. Routine inspections identify deficiencies early and corrective measures can be taken in order to eliminate a potential for major repairs or a hazard to the driving public. This program has been successful in identifying problems, quickly correcting deficiencies in county bridges and extending the life of existing bridges in county infrastructure.

  • Bridges are considered structurally deficient if they have been restricted to light vehicles, closed to traffic or require rehabilitation. Structurally deficient means there are elements of the bridge that need to be monitored and/or repaired. The fact that a bridge is "structurally deficient" does not imply that it is likely to collapse or that it is unsafe. It means the bridge must be monitored, inspected and maintained.
  • A functionally obsolete bridge is one that was built to standards that are not used today. These bridges are not automatically rated as structurally deficient, nor are they inherently unsafe. Functionally obsolete bridges are those that do not have adequate lane widths, shoulder widths, or vertical clearances to serve current traffic demand, or those that may be occasionally flooded.

Posted Bridge Load Limits

This is a listing of all of the bridges on the county road system that have load limits posted less than legal loads.
Download the List


AASHTO sign

AASHTO signs to be posted

AASHTO sign

AASHTO signs to be posted

SHV sign

SHV signs to be posted

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Why are vehicle weight restrictions being added to some county bridges?

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed new calculations for determining the weight that a bridge can safely carry following a bridge collapse and, importantly, a recent decision by FHWA to allow heavier trucks on roadways. All state and local governments are evaluating publicly owned vehicle bridges using these new criteria and determining whether additional vehicle weight restrictions must be placed on bridges.

What is different about the new federal calculation methodology?

Key components of new method:

  • Added requirement to rate bridge’s ability to carry four additional types of “special haul vehicles.” These are newly authorized vehicles on roadways that can have heavier loads.
  • Added requirement to evaluate and rate the gusset plates and connections on bridges with structural steel members.

The county already has weight load limits on 15 bridges with another 2 bridges with shoulder closures.

Is the new weight load rating criteria impacting other jurisdictions?

Yes. There are approximately 600,000 bridges nationwide that must be reviewed under this new federal requirement. About twenty-five percent of these bridges are categorized as deficient: either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Given that many of these bridges are aging and were designed when there was less traffic and smaller, less heavy vehicles, it is expected that a significant number of bridges nationally will require new weight load restrictions. The county has contacted other jurisdictions throughout the state and has confirmed that they are also adding or anticipate adding vehicle weight restrictions to their bridge inventory as a result of the new federal requirements.

Are you closing any county bridges?

There are currently no plans to close any of the county’s bridges due to these new calculations, and we do not expect any closures, although we must complete all evaluations to be certain.

Can bicyclists, pedestrians and commuters use the bridges that have new load restrictions?

The load restrictions do not affect pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and typical passenger vehicles.

When the weight restrictions go into effect, will the speed limits be lowered too?

There will be no change to speed limits.

Do any of the bridges lead to a dead-end? If so, how would heavy trucks reach these properties?

Truck companies and agencies can request the county to review specific delivery trucks for an over legal load moving permit for deliveries to dead end or otherwise inaccessible areas.

Can fire engines, school buses, or hauling trucks safely go over the bridges that have weight restrictions?

Many vehicles like school buses, fire engines and ambulances are still allowed depending on their weight and the loads they carry.