Special Reports

Bridge part might not move until Friday

A 100-ton expansion joint stranded near Spokane got no closer to the new Tacoma Narrows bridge Wednesday and might not be ready to move until Friday.

The 70-foot-long bridge piece – which the state has refused onto Interstate 90 because it violates Washington’s weight restrictions – remains parked in a state Department of Transportation lot.

The Texas-based transport company, Big Boat Movers, and local contractors are working there to assemble a new set of trailers and supporting beams beneath it. If the weight is more broadly distributed, the truck can take to the freeway.

“The way it looks now, Thursday is a possibility for it to start, but Friday looks more likely,” said Claudia Cornish, a Transportation Department spokeswoman.

Because of state regulations governing how heavy loads are distributed on axles, Big Boat will have to lift up one end of the load with a crane, and reassemble trailers. Some will need to ride side-by-side, with cross beams between them to spread out the load.

The new configuration, approved by the Transportation Department, will have a 22 axles and take up two traffic lanes.

“It’s a Tinkertoy system,” said Bill Sinclair, a Shelton-based heavy hauler who has assisted Big Boat. “You put them together as needed.”

If all goes well, Cornish said, the joint could be at its destination – the Gig Harbor end of the new bridge – by Sunday.

TRACK IT | Keep an eye on the bridge piece and its truck.