Extending Canyon Road North to I-5

PIERCE COUNTY — As social distancing continues to be the not-so-new normal, we are adding a new way to get in touch with our project team. Visit us during our virtual office hours to learn about the project and ask questions! 

Virtual office hours 

We loved hearing from the community at our virtual town hall in July, so we will hold virtual office hours later this month. This an opportunity for you to speak one-on-one with project team members and ask questions or make comments about the project. 

If you would like to join us, please select the date and time that works best for you and click on the link to register. We will email you instructions to join the virtual meeting.  

If you are unable to attend at these times or would like us to brief your organization, please email canyonroadconnection@piercecountywa.gov to schedule a project briefing.  

Summer 2020 environmental review community engagement  

The River Crossing portion of the Canyon Road Regional Connection Project is in environmental review. The River Crossing includes a new bridge from Canyon Road East across the Puyallup River into Fife.  

Pierce County began scoping for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process over the summer and gathered community feedback through an online open house and virtual town hall.  

We received a total of 82 comments during the public comment period. Most comments fit into one of the following themes: 

  • Preserving and/or moving the Milroy Bridge  
  • Local congestion and problem areas 
  • Project design 
  • Project timeline 
  • Right-of-way impacts 
  • Agricultural community  
  • Bicycle/pedestrian improvements and safety 
  • Environmental impacts 

You can read the full community engagement summary and comment summary with responses to questions on our project website.  

The team plans to share draft discipline reports in early 2022 and conclude the NEPA Process with a final public hearing in late 2022. Stay tuned for more details on how you can get involved at that time.  

Milroy Bridge Q&A 

The Milroy Bridge was a hot topic during our summer engagement and there were a few questions we heard multiple times. Here are some responses to frequent questions we heard about the Milroy Bridge. 

Q: Do the project plans include a bike/pedestrian bridge? 

A: We’ve looked into repurposing the Milroy Bridge for bicycle/pedestrian use, but it is not financially or environmentally feasible. Estimated cost for rehabilitation ranges between $7.9 and $12.4 million. Not included in this cost estimate is the cost to acquire rights to have the bridge over Puyallup Tribal land (per the Puyallup Land Claims Settlement of 1990). Removal of the Milroy Bridge provides the opportunity to restore the river and riparian habitat that will help offset impacts associated with the new crossing. Also, the bridge could potentially be hazardous for fish in the Puyallup River because of the potential for paint, rust, or sediments to fall into the water. 

Q: Can the Milroy Bridge be moved to a different location?

A: Pierce County does not have funding to move the bridge or maintain it in a new location. We estimate the cost to remove the bridge in a way that allows reuse at between $4.3 and $5.3 million.  

We also looked into the option of removing the bridge for the purpose of offering the bridge to other interested parties. However, the costs (and risks) associated with moving and constructing the bridge in a new location would far exceed the cost to construct a new steel truss bridge of similar size and purpose in the desired location. 

Q: When will the Milroy Bridge close to traffic?   

A: The Milroy Bridge will remain in use until the new bridge is open to traffic. We intend to remove the Milroy Bridge once the new bridge is ready for traffic. 

Q: Why doesn’t the proposed new bridge offer a ramp to River Road (SR 167) in either direction? 

A: With the completion of both the Canyon Road Regional Connection Project and the SR 167 extension, we project traffic flows to change dramatically. The primary flow of traffic through this area will be north/south along the Canyon Road corridor, not east/west along River Road. Without the high traffic demand, the proposed local surface street network improvements provide a more cost-effective solution to provide these connections compared to elevated ramps. 

Best, Letticia M. Neal, P.E. 

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