Bridge update: April 1

April 1, 2007 

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

The expansion joint stranded at the Idaho-Washington border stole the news last week, but it’s not what’s foremost on Tacoma Narrows Constructors’ agenda.

The two expansion joints are not on the bridge builder’s “critical path” of construction, so nobody’s biting their nails over them yet. As long as they get here in the next couple of weeks, they won’t delay construction.

TNC’s emphasis is on finishing the cable-wrapping and permanently connecting the deck sections, work that is progressing steadily.

As of Friday, 14 of the 45 joints between deck sections remained to be welded, and the cable-wrapping machines were working their way through the midspan.

As for the expansion joint, Big Boat Movers, the Texas company contracted to move it and a companion from Minnesota to the Narrows, decided late last week that it would have to go to a double-wide trailer configuration to meet Washington’s weight restrictions.

On Friday, Big Boat was waiting for the state’s approval of its new proposal.

Watch for a nighttime lane closure on the old bridge starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Crews will close one eastbound lane so they can beef up the Tacoma anchorage to withstand earthquakes.

They might close a westbound lane on the Gig Harbor side that night, too, so they can fix a guardrail.

From noon Monday to noon Wednesday, the state will be testing lights at the new toll plaza on the Gig Harbor side of the bridge.

The toll plaza is already lighted, but the lights being tested will be much brighter. They must provide enough illumination so the automatic toll collection system will work at night.

During the test, the state’s “Good to Go!” contractor will make sure the lights are set for automatic toll collection when the bridge opens this summer.

Rob Carson, The News Tribune

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