After a nearly sixth month closure, the Simpson Avenue Bridge is open again. Early this morning, Department of Transportation workers removed barriers and detour signs, reopening that 83 year old span that had been shut down for repair work to a damaged pier. Hoquiam Police Officer Dennis Luce was the first to cross the re-opened bridge.
Now the problem for Luce and his fellow officers is undoing almost six months of practice by Hoquiam drivers who have grown used to the detour, especially those eastbound on Simpson Avenue where Sergeant Steve Fretts says there have been a number of near collisions, especially at the intersection of Simpson and 6th Street. The bridge was closed in early August after divers found rotted timbers in the support pilings of the easternmost pier of the bridge. The DOT had hoped to open the bridge Saturday morning, but allowed two extra days for the foundations to settle.