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West-half repairs mean nighttime closures for Hood Canal Bridge in May

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Date:  Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Lisa Copeland, WSDOT Communications, 360-357-2789 (Tumwater)

SHINE – The State Route 104 Hood Canal Bridge will be closed for a minimum of four nights beginning May 7 as repairs will be made to portions of the west-half draw span.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said closures are scheduled from 8:45 to 10:45 p.m., 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., and 1:15 to 3:45 a.m. – leaving three, 15-minute intervals for cars to cross the bridge. The work is weather-dependent, and will carry over to the following weeks, if necessary, until completed.

“With this repair schedule, we can reduce the impact on drivers by allowing any backed-up traffic to flush through every two hours or so,” said Kevin Dayton, WSDOT regional administrator. “Compared to closing the bridge for seven hours a night and asking drivers to use a 130-mile detour, we feel it’s not a bad option.”

For the Hood Canal Bridge, wind, waves and tide changes are just part of the daily grind. The east half of the floating bridge was replaced in 2009, but for the west half, after 30 years, this grind is not only wearing out its welcome but key components on the bridge’s west-half draw span pontoon, as well.

Divots are appearing in the 1.5-inch thick steel plates running the length of the draw span, making it increasingly difficult to open the west half of the bridge. The plates protect the pontoon’s concrete from 4-foot diameter steel rollers, which guide the draw span as it opens and closes.

The repairs must be made with the draw span open and involve welding low spots in the guide-roller rails.

“The draw span is closed 99 percent of the time, and the points where the rollers and the plate meet are exactly where the rub is taking place,” said Dayton. “With all that grinding, it’s kind of like our bridge has developed a bad hip and we need to repair it.”

Real-time information about the Hood Canal Bridge or any state highway is available by dialing 511, signing up for email/text alerts via the Web, or visiting WSDOT’s Travel Alerts page

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