Special Reports


This week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Bridge builders will lower the Tacoma-side caisson to the bottom of the Narrows on Thursday, so the early part of the week will be filled with preparation and drills.

Touchdown is scheduled for about 5 p.m., to coincide with the low tide, when the massive structure will be floating just 3 feet from the sea bed. Currently, 142 feet of the caisson is underwater.

Friday, crews will add concrete to the caisson's internal walls to increase its weight and anchor it more firmly.

Roadways: More delays on opening 22nd Avenue Northwest and ramps on 36th Street Northwest on the Gig Harbor side. The traffic signal, guard rails and ramp lighting are still needed. Tacoma Narrows Constructors now says the roads won't open until February.

Installation of the 100-foot tower crane next to the Gig Harbor anchorage should be complete this week. The crane is identical to the one on the Tacoma side but will be closer to Highway 16 and therefore more of a distraction.

The crane's counterbalance will hang over the roadway when in certain positions. And it will be lighted at night.

Q. What's happening with the ravine (north of the old bridge on the Gig Harbor side) that got washed out in the big rains last fall? Is TNC going to fix it?

A. This week TNC will build a temporary 60- to 80-foot dike on the beach at the foot of the ravine to help keep silty runoff from going directly into the Narrows. The bridge builders say their insurance company will engineer and pay for the fix.

Rob Carson, The News Tribune