Looky-loos love the weird thing

March 29, 2007 

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – A key part of the new Tacoma Narrows bridge, ruled too heavy to travel across Washington’s highways last week, has become a tourist attraction at the state line weigh station where it’s been stranded 11 days.

“We had a lot of looky-loos over the weekend, people stopping by to take pictures of it,” said Nicholas Hopper, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division.

The part, a 73-foot-long expansion joint, will be used to connect the bridge to the Gig Harbor side of the Tacoma Narrows. Manufactured in Minnesota, the part left March 1 and made it through five states before reaching the Idaho-Washington border March 17.

Employees at the Interstate 90 Washington weigh station 20 miles east of Spokane stopped the load after it tipped the scales at 330,000 pounds. That’s 13,000 pounds more than the load and trailer’s permit allows.

The state Department of Transportation says Texas-based Big Boat Movers, the company hauling the part, is still working on a way to make the load pass state requirements.

That probably means lengthening the 149-foot-long trailer on which the part sits. That would spread the part’s weight over a larger area.

A second, identical piece awaits shipment.

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