Hood Canal Bridge project reaches halfway point

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Peninsula News Network

There’s still work left to be done, but state officials say the project to re-build the Hood Canal Bridge reached a major milestone this week, crossing the half-way mark toward being finished.

Although the project has seen more than its share of delays, due primarily to the aborted plans to build the pontoons and anchors for the new bridge in Port Angeles, the pace of work has accelerated markedly over the past year.

In was just over a year ago that workers at the Concrete Tech dock in Tacoma began pouring concrete for the first of the massive pontoons that will replace the old east half of the bridge, which has been in service since 1961. The second phase of that fabrication is already underway with five more pontoons slated to flat from Tacoma to Seattle for finishing between now and July. That makes 8-of-the-14 pontoons complete.

Meanwhile, at the bridge site itself, crews from the Department of Transportation and Kiewit-General Construction are continuing to sink the massive anchors that hold the bridge in place. The 1,000-ton, 29-foot tall anchors are being submerged to the bottom of the canal with special equipment in work that will continue most of the summer. Ten more anchors are being finished and will be towed out of the dry dock in Seattle in the next couple of weeks.

State officials say the project is right on track to schedule a 6-to-8 week closure of the bridge in early summer 2009, exactly 2-years from now, so the new pontoons can be floated into place and connected for the re-built bridge.


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