County Will Retrofit, Reopen Damaged White Center Heights Park Footbridge

King County Parks announced that the pedestrian footbridge at White Center Heights Park, damaged and closed to public access since early summer of last year, will be repaired this year and is expected to be open by this fall.

The suspension bridge was constructed across a small pond in September 2009 as part of a series of improvements to the park. To protect the public, King County Parks closed access to the footbridge in June 2010 (read our previous coverage here) after the bridge was discovered to have lost several of the many bolts that hold the complex structure together.

According to a press release:

The County’s bridge engineers examined the damaged bridge and analyzed its design. They identified design flaws, and proposed solutions to safely return the bridge to service. Last week, an outside peer review of the County’s engineering study concluded that the proposed solutions would fix the identified flaws.

The County proposes to retrofit the bridge by beefing up the arch and portions of the deck with additional steel to stiffen the structure, and installing several “dampers” or suspended weights to help the bridge absorb vibrations and reduce its range of motion.

The bridge was designed and built by Sahale LLC in a partnership with King County, the Cascade Land Conservancy and the White Center Community Development Association. Funding was provided by the Washington State Community Trade and Economic Development Grant Program.

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