Local Information

Month-long inspection of SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge cables begins Aug. 4

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 10:50

Linda Robson, communications, 360-357-2789
Cara Mitchell, communications, 360-357-2703

Work requires around-the-clock closure of westbound SR 16 HOV lane

TACOMA – The iconic 1950 Tacoma Narrows Bridge is getting ready to undergo an inspection of one of its more important and visible features – work that will close the westbound State Route 16 HOV lanes for about a month.  

Starting Sunday, Aug. 4, Washington State Department of Transportation bridge crews will set up a work zone to begin inspecting approximately 60 feet of suspension cables located on the westbound SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

“On the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the main cables suspend the bridge deck, which carries most of the bridge's weight, and all of the vehicles on the bridge,” said Olympic Region Operations Engineer Chris Keegan. “It’s vital to inspect the cables to keep them in a state of good repair and identify any needed preservation work.”

The cables are compacted and encased strands of parallel wires that are carried back and forth across the bridge span. To perform the inspection, crews will set up an elevated containment system around the cables to keep any debris from falling into the water. They will unwrap and open the cable for the inspection, make any needed repairs and then rewrap the cable.

What this means for westbound SR 16 travelers
During the set up and inspection work, travelers can expect:

  • From 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, two lanes will be closed starting at Jackson Avenue while crews set up the containment system.
  • One lane will be reopen at 11 a.m., but the westbound HOV lane will remain closed throughout the month-long work.
  • Westbound SR 16 HOV drivers will use one of the three general purpose lanes over the 1950 Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
  • Traffic on the newer 2007 Tacoma Narrows Bridge (eastbound SR 16) will not be affected.
  • A second double lane closure at the end of the work.

This is the second time the 69-year-old Tacoma Narrows Bridge cables have been inspected. The previous inspection took place in 2000. The cables on the south side of the bridge will be inspected this year, with the cables on the north side of the bridge to be inspected in 2020.

The work, which requires dry weather, is expected to be complete at the end of August.

Visit the Tacomatraffic.com web page for updated HOV construction information. Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.

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