After nearly 100 years, the Ruston Way tunnel closed for demolition. Yet it still could have served a purpose as part of a network of bicycle and pedestrian trails across Pierce County.
That opportunity has passed, but another awaits: the Meridian Street Bridge (Highway 167) in Puyallup. The state Department of Transportation has fast-tracked replacement of this 1925 bridge, once the longest and biggest single-riveted span in the state, in the next five years.
As the last Turner-class bridge in America, it is deserving of a fate better than that of the tunnel, buried as a footnote in history.
The opportunity is there to connect a missing section of the cross-county bicycle trail across the Puyallup River. The Meridian Street Bridge could do just that at a new location, perhaps moved downriver near the old weigh station. This would be a win for all involved: historians, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.