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Owners hope priority for 'structurally deficient' bridge

A group of Stretch Island property owners is hoping Mason County Public Works makes replacement of the Stretch Island bridge a priority.

The bridge has been declared "structurally deficient" according to the department's 2024 Annual Bridge Report.

The bridge is the only way on and off the island and now has a posted load limit.

"The Stretch Island Property Owners (SIPO) is in receipt of Mason County's Public Works Department's 2024 Annual Bridge Report. Accordingly, we have formed the SIPO, an informal organization, to address our concerns to you. There are over 190 parcels on Stretch Island and all residents are dependent on a structurally sufficient bridge," Glenn Carlson, a Stretch Island resident and facilitator of SIPO wrote to Phil Wolff, chair of Mason County Transportation Improvement Program – Citizens Advisory Panel.

"We are distressed to learn that our bridge is structurally deficient. We are already suffering additional expense for concrete deliveries due to the posted load restrictions. During the last king tides we were cut off from the mainland due to water and logs covering the west approaches. This is a dangerous situation as access by fire, EMT, school buses and trash trucks is not available until the water recedes and the debris removed," Carlson wrote.

Carlson, a former Port of Grapeview commissioner, told the Herald in an email he was worried about residents being stranded.

"Most of the island's residents are elderly and subject to emergency services. During these king tides we are deprived of fire and emergency medical technicians which are unable to drive over the debris or through salt water until the tide recedes – usually an hour and a half." He added, "We are already suffering from restricted loads – the only bridge of the 97 in Mason County that is so restricted. Concrete trucks must deliver in 'short loads' which about doubles the cost."

The bridge report says the Stretch Island bridge is "scour critical."

A scour evaluation determines susceptibility of a bridge's foundation to flowing water, excavation and carrying away material from the bridge foundation, according to the report.

Bridges that are scour critical require a plan of action, the report states.

"These bridges are monitored during and after 25-year storm events," according to the report.

"There are various locations of rot in the timber members. Piers 1, 8, and 19 are spread footings and are scour critical based on calculations. This structure is the only vehicle access to Stretch Island. The structure will need to be replaced in the future," the report states.

Stretch Island residents want the future to come sooner than later.

Mason County Public Works did not respond to a request for comment before the Herald's press time.

Author Bio

June Williams, Reporter

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald

 

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