Special Reports

BRIDGE UPDATE

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

With both caissons now setting squarely on the bottom of the Narrows, bridge builders will spend the week topping off interior walls and preparing to excavate material from beneath.

Four concrete pours are scheduled on the caissons this week, two on the Tacoma side and two on the Gig Harbor side.

Meanwhile, crews are continuing to work on stormwater drainage systems along the westbound lanes of Highway 16 between the golf driving range and the weigh station near Gig Harbor.

The first major concrete pour on the Gig Harbor anchorage, the massive concrete block that will hold down the suspension cables, is scheduled for Friday. The extensive pour, about 2,200 cubic yards, might be held over until next Monday if it conflicts with one of the caisson pours, which have priority in the construction schedule.

Representatives from Tacoma Narrows Constructors and WSDOT are hosting an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Gig Harbor High School to explain ongoing construction and answer questions.

The public is invited to view displays, speak with engineers and get up-close looks at bridge models, project renderings and virtual reality simulations.

Q&A

Q: Why is one end of that big new crane on the west end of the bridge sometimes suspended over traffic lanes on Highway 16?

A: The 100-foot tower crane is like a weather vane and turns with the wind, says Claudia Cornish, WSDOT's spokeswoman for the Narrows Project.

"When they're not using it, it needs to be loose and aligned with the wind," she said.

If the wind were allowed to hit the crane broadside, Cornish said, it could exert too much lateral force and possibly knock it over.

Rob Carson, The News Tribune

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