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Manette Bridge construction finally begins

A couple watches as construction begins on the historic Manette Bridge. - Tony Steiner/staff photo
A couple watches as construction begins on the historic Manette Bridge.
— image credit: Tony Steiner/staff photo

After weeks of delays, the construction of the Manette Bridge's replacement began Monday, kicking off a year-and-a-half-long project.

Equipment was brought to the site on the Port Washington Narrows Monday, with workers setting silt fences to prevent soil erosion and preparing to install work platforms. Next week, workers will install shafts for the piers, said Andy Larson, assistant project engineer with the the Washington State Department of Transportation. Larson said neighbors can expect to hear construction noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. in the coming weeks.

Originally to begin at the start of July, bridge construction was delayed as the department finalized a bid from contractors. Manson Construction and Mowat Construction jointly offered the lowest bid in May at $44.1 million. The total cost for the bridge replacement, including predesign and contingency dollars, is $57.8 million, according to the transportation department.

The 80-year-old bridge is being replaced due to extensive rust and corrosion. The damage cannot be reversed or fixed, making a new bridge necessary, according to the department. The newer bridge, which will be built immediately south of the existing steel structure, will be concrete, resembling the Warren Avenue Bridge.

Pedestrians will have access to the bridge throughout construction, there will be a four-month closure to vehicle traffic next summer. Drivers will be redirected to the Warren Avenue Bridge a mile away to cross the Port Washington Narrows. Bremerton city officials have tried to negotiate a shorter bridge closure with the state, but no such agreement has been reached. Before the four-month closure, 26 additional closures of up to 24 hours will take place and pedestrians may see sporadic delays of up to 15 minutes, according to the Department of Transportation.

Along with the new bridge, a new roundabout will be constructed on the Manette end of the bridge, replacing the current intersection with blinking red and yellow lights. The traffic configuration on the downtown end will remain the same.

The new bridge is scheduled to be open at the end of 2012. When the new bridge opens, derrick barges will be used to disassemble the old structure.

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