Hood Canal Bridge may reopen sooner than later
May 30, 2009 · Updated 2:21 AM
There may be truth to the rumor that the Hood Canal Bridge might reopen a week ahead of schedule.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and its contractor, Kiewit General, stated in a news release that workers completed the “first major weather-dependent joining operation” Thursday.
While WSDOT is optimistic the work will be complete by June 8, Becky Hixson, a spokesperson for the project, said the date is weather-reliant. The project began May 1, with a target completion date of June 12. Three days of high winds delayed work, pushing the completion date back to June 15.
“We want to give our contractor and WSDOT crews a lot of credit for working through difficult weather and complicated technical issues to get us to this point,” Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said. “This has been a very difficult project that required highly technical and precise work and we are pleased that things have gone well.”
Workers held the new pontoons in place with special fittings on old anchor cables. Extra tugboats were used to allow the crews to work through the rough weather. During nicer weather, pontoon installation was accelerated and crews were shifted to begin new tasks when they finished jobs before they were scheduled for completion, the news release stated.
“What really put us in a good position to know we will finish early was getting past joining pontoons UVWX and RST,” Hood Canal Bridge Principal Engineer Dave Ziegler said. “Despite wind and weather, we found a way to get the job done.”
Hixson also said come Monday, WSDOT will have a firmer grasp of when the bridge will reopen, as several major phases of construction are slated for the weekend.
To watch the progress of the Hood Canal Bridge project, go to www.HoodCanalBridge.com.