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Hood Canal Bridge closing this week

HOOD CANAL BRIDGE — It’s only been two years since construction began to repair the floating bridge that connects Kitsap and Jefferson counties. While Washington State Department of Transportation officials said they have been trying their best to keep the impacts to drivers to a minimum, construction is, well, construction and with it comes traffic delays and in some cases, closures.

WSDOT is gearing up for its first set of this month’s two anticipated closures of the Hood Canal Bridge, which will take place this week from 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 to 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 15. The second closure will be from 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 to 4 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 25.

During the closures, crews will be replacing approaches on both ends of the bridge. By the end of the project, which is expected to be finished in 2009, there will be a wider east-half floating section, plus new approach sections and transition trusses on both the east and west ends. In addition, the western half will be widened to allow for continuous 8-foot shoulders across the entire length of the bridge, matching the new east half.

Besides crews working day in and day out to build these new roads and make upgrades to the bridge in this first phase, WSDOT officials have been working with the public in an attempt to keep them as informed as possible and lessen the impact to drivers. But it hasn’t been without its hitches.

Roll out the old, roll in the new

While it is obvious to drivers there is major construction going on with the narrower-than-usual driving lanes and the presence of the familiar bright orange vests, what motorists are likely unaware of it the work that is being done just below their line of sight.

Since early spring, crews from the Poulsbo-based general contractor Kiewit General have been building new road approaches on large scaffolding systems just north of the bridge. During the first closure next week, crews will remove the old roadway on the west end first and roll in the new road.

And roll they will, literally.

There are four 300-ton rollers, only about 30-inches by 4-feet in size, that will be used to remove the old road from its current position. These rollers will slowly move the old road onto steel supports that have been constructed on the south side of the bridge. The new 190-foot-long

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