Crews began placing bridge girders on Aug. 3 for the South 228th Street overpass in Kent that will span over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and Interurban Trail.
The 1,400-foot long overpass between 72nd Avenue South and 76th Avenue South will eliminate the need for vehicles to stop for trains. The project includes a 200-foot long bridge, formed by the girders.
Crews are expected to finish this week installing the 24 girders — 12 for the westbound span and 12 for the eastbound span, said Mark Madfai, city engineering supervisor, in an email Aug. 5. The girders for the westbound span are 100 feet long while the eastbound span girders are 110 feet long.
When complete, the road will be four to five lanes wide with sidewalks on both sides. There will be new connections for bicyclists and pedestrians to the Interurban Trail. The trail is closed for the next couple of weeks because of construction.
The estimated $40 million project is in the fifth and final stage of construction. State, city and federal funds have covered most of the costs. City officials expect the overpass to be completed by spring 2021.
“So far most of the walls and embankment is constructed on the west side of the railroad tracks, bridge girders are going in now, remaining walls and embankment fill are being constructed on the east side of the tracks,” Madfai said. “Sidewalks and barriers are also being constructed.”
When done, the overpass will look similar to the BNSF Railway overpass along South 228th Street that was completed in 2009, just east of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
The grade separation will help provide a regional connection between Kent’s large warehouse district and industrial center with the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport, according to city officials. It will also eliminate daily traffic delays and provide a safer route for freight haulers and commuters at the crossing.
“The project is moving along very efficiently other than a couple of months suspension due to COVID-19,” Madfai said. “Adjacent businesses have been very patient with us during construction which we really appreciate.”