Special Reports

Bridge update

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Dirt removal will continue through the week in what will become the new bridge's toll plaza, just west of the 24th Avenue Northwest overpass. Trucks are moving most of the dirt across the bridge to the new Jackson Avenue offramp.

Expect nightly single-lane closures on the Tacoma side of the bridge Monday through Friday. Crews will install drain crossings from the north side of Highway 16 to the south.

Work will continue on the new retaining wall separating eastbound and westbound lanes on the Gig Harbor mainline. Crews will pour a section of the wall Thursday.

Anchorages: A concrete pour is scheduled for Monday on the Gig Harbor anchorage. On the Tacoma side, crews will spend the week setting forms for the anchorage's north wall.

Caissons: The final stage of dredging has begun on the Gig Harbor side. Crews will dig all week. The caisson is expected to reach its final position about May 1. There will be a concrete pour Thursday on the Tacoma caisson.

The new on- and offramps at 36th Avenue Northwest will open Saturday morning. At the same time, the temporary on- and offramps at Stone Drive will close to private vehicles.

Q&A

Q. I just found out that the existing bridge will be reconfigured from four lanes to three, all westbound. This seems like nonsense. Why not keep it four lanes?

KEN PAULSON, UNIVERSITY PLACE

A. Safety. The existing lanes are 2 1/5 feet narrower than the 12-foot standard, and there are no shoulders.

Rob Carson, The News Tribune

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