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Sumner Bridge

Bridge Street Bridge

Sumner Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 24, 2014

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Bridge Street Over White River (Stuck River)
Sumner: Pierce County, Washington: United States
Structure Type
Metal 10 Panel Rivet-Connected Parker Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete T-Beam, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1927 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
220 Feet (67.1 Meters)
Structure Length
360 Feet (109.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

Bridge Status: Demolished and replaced in 2018.

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge is an attractive example of a riveted Parker truss. It includes concrete t-beam approach spans at each end. The t-beam spans have concrete balustrade railing on the sidewalks, while the main truss span has riveted lattice railing. The approach spans retain decorative concrete lighting standards. The through truss provides an interesting and attractive gateway function for the road it serves. It also has apparently been decorated during the holiday season, something reportedly greatly enjoyed by the local community. Aside from altering the portal and sway bracing to increase vertical clearance for trucks, the bridge retains good historic integrity with no other major alterations.

Despite this bridge's beauty and function as a community gateway and holiday centerpiece, Sumner is bent on reducing this bridge to scrap metal and constructing a slab of concrete in its place. This represents a poor choice, since not only will this result in a loss of beauty and heritage, the bridge is in decent condition and would be easy to rehabilitate. Moreover, it is unclear what benefit a new bridge would provide. Certainly, wider bridges allow drivers to travel safely at faster speeds, and also helps drivers avoid collisions while texting, or engaging in other driving distractions. However, it is unclear why Sumner would want traffic driving faster through this area, since the bridge leads right into downtown Sumner.

What is worse, is Sumner is attempting to pass off the replacement bridge as something attractive and special which is absolutely nonsense. The proposed replacement bridge appears to be composed of standard pre-stressed concrete AASHTO girders on hammerhead piers and as such will look like an expressway overpass. Its barren concrete deck will offer no interesting geometry for users. The proposed superficial details such as ornamental railings and colored lighting on the bridge are elements that either already existed on the historic bridge, or could be added to the historic bridge. True bridge aesthetics are derived from a bridge that does not need to disguise or hide its ugliness but instead is itself beautiful such that superficial decorations are either not needed, or are simply complimentary to existing structural beauty.

A rendering of the replacement bridge is shown below.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Sumner Bridge

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Maps and Links: Sumner Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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