Shine: Hood Canal Bridge cable breaks; engineers assessing
extent of misalignment for drawspan, but road traffic unaffected
SHINE -- One of the dozens of braided steel cables holding the Hood Canal Bridge in place has broken from a concrete anchor.
Although the anchor helps to keep the bridge in alignment when the draw span is opened to let boats, ships and submarines pass, the broken cable is not expected to affect highway traffic.
State Department of Transportation workers discovered the cable hanging slack Wednesday during a regular inspection of the aging floating bridge that serves as the North Olympic Peninsula's lifeline to the Puget Sound region.
Divers inspected the cable late Wednesday afternoon, but the specific location of the break and the reason it broke wasn't immediately known.
Department of Transportation spokesman Lloyd Brown said the cable and anchor are located on the Kitsap County side of the bridge and are at the very northeast part of the drawspan that opens to allow vessel traffic to access Hood Canal.
That 43-year-old half of the 1.5-mile bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2007 by new anchors, pontoons and road deck constructed in Port Angeles and towed to Hood Canal.
Attached by 3-inch cables
The anchors holding the bridge in place weigh 685 tons to 1,875 tons each and are attached to the bridge by 3-inch cables.
Depth of the water under the floating bridge is 80 feet to 340 feet.
The bridge carries up to 18,000 vehicles daily.
Divers were investigating the slack cable on Wednesday afternoon.
``We're not sure how deep it is or where the break happened,'' Brown said.
What Transportation officials are sure of is that pleasure boat traffic requiring the bridge to open for passage will have to wait.
Normally, maritime traffic has right of way at the bridge, requiring it to draw open, according to Brown.
But now the bridge will not be opened for marine traffic during some
tidal movements and storms, he said.
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