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Thursday, February 17, 2011
Lisa Copeland, WSDOT Communications, 360-357-2789
Dave Ziegler, Principal Engineer, 253-200-3562
ABERDEEN – A revival is under way at the former Aberdeen Log Yard– not in timber, but in concrete pontoons that will support the State Route 520 floating bridge for decades to come.
Construction started today when the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and contractor Kiewit-General (K-G) began transforming the 55-acre site into a facility capable of producing giant concrete floating bridge pontoons.
This week’s work includes site clearing and installation of high visibility and silt fences. Eventually, the site will include a concrete batch plant, a two-acre staging area and a casting basin measuring approximately 900 feet long, 200 feet wide and 30 feet deep. The site is scheduled to be complete by December.
While building the facility is an enormous undertaking, WSDOT principal engineer Dave Ziegler quickly points out that it’s just one step in the construction process.
“The work we’re starting now sets the stage for the real reason we’re here – to build pontoons and have a new SR 520 bridge in place by the end of 2014,” he said. “We’re on a very aggressive schedule to meet this timeline, but are confident we have the team in place and tools in hand to ensure this project’s success.”
Working with local unions in Grays Harbor County, WSDOT and K-G will construct 33 pontoons to replace the aging SR 520 bridge. Of these, 21 will be the largest pontoons ever built in the state. Each will be the length of a football field, the width of five sedans parked end to end, and nearly the height of a three-story building.
“The scope of this project is massive, but so is the potential for opportunities,” said Phil Wallace, K-G project director. “The people of Grays Harbor have been behind us every step of the way. They’ve been great to work with and we look forward to continuing to provide an infusion of new jobs into the community.”
Kiewit-General was awarded the $367.3 million project to construct the casting basin facility and new SR 520 bridge pontoons. The Federal Highway Administration approved the Aberdeen Log Yard as the project’s preferred alternative in January 2011. The community celebrated the start of construction at an event on the site Feb. 12.
The SR 520 Pontoon Construction Project is funded in part by future revenue from tolling that is scheduled to begin on the floating bridge in the spring. The state Legislature set the SR 520 program budget at $4.65 billion for improvements from Interstate 5 in Seattle to SR 202 in Redmond. Toll revenue along with state and federal funds provide about $2.62 billion for the SR 520 improvements. WSDOT will continue working with the lawmakers to identify additional funding for more improvements in the corridor.
For more information about the SR 520 Pontoon Construction Project, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520/Pontoons.htm.
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