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Raft Island Bridge


Raft Island Bridge

Oblique view from North

Photo taken by K. A. Erickson in May 2011


BH Photo #199341



Raft Island is a private community that began in 1957 when developer Archie Matthew Sr., bought the island from Jess Kuhns for $80,000. Matthew hired Sitts and Hill Engineers to design a bridge that would connect the island to the mainland. The contract went to Hart Construction Co. of Tacoma. On August 1, 1958 the bridge work was completed at a cost of $52,000. In May of 1959 Matthew sold all but one lot on the island to the McDonald and Parish families for $348,000, not a bad return on his investment.

In the mid 1990s an annual inspection showed deterioration in some of the timber supports and the Raft Island Improvement Association responded by requiring its members to pay into a Bridge Replacement Fund. The hope would be that there would be enough to build a new bridge in 2016. As of 2011 the funds are not nearly where they should be and at a May board meeting it was voted to increase required contributions of those living on the island. Options are being considered and consultants contacted to prepare for Phase 1.

The last bridge inspector, Harvey Coffman, hired by the Raft Island Improvement Association in 2010 rated the sufficiency at 41.93, about fair.


Lost timber stringer bridge over Henderson Bay on Raft Island Road
Pierce County, Washington
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1957; replaced 2014
- Hart Construction Co. of Tacoma, Washington of Tacoma, Washington
- Sitts and Hill Engineers
Timber stringer
Length of largest span: 23.0 ft.
Total length: 788.0 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.32479, -122.66825   (decimal degrees)
47°19'29" N, 122°40'06" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/525068/5241311 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Fox Island
Inventory number
BH 48794 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 19, 2011: Added by K. A. Erickson