Special Reports

BRIDGE UPDATE

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Drivers heading across the bridge from Gig Harbor will start taking a slightly different slalom course through the bridge construction this week. Tacoma Narrows Constructors crews plan to shift both eastbound traffic lanes slightly north, onto what eventually will be westbound lanes, to make a traffic-free work zone in the area of the new toll plaza and the approach to the new bridge.

They'll also change the alignment of the 36th Street Northwest on-ramp to eastbound Highway 16, lengthening it by several hundred feet and tapering it to the north so it will connect to the new highway alignment.

Shifting the lanes requires restriping, and for that the asphalt must be dry. Depending on weather forecasts, crews will do the work at night on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Eastbound traffic will be reduced to one lane whichever night they choose. The state Department of Transportation says eastbound traffic will stay in this alignment until the new bridge opens in 2007.

Anchorages: One concrete pour is scheduled for Friday on the Tacoma anchorage. Two pours are set on the Gig Harbor anchorage - one Tuesday, one Friday.

Operations building: The block walls should be completed by week's end.

Towers: Crews are working on the heavily reinforced sections of the legs where the first cross-strut will be attached. Monday, they'll pour the first half of the 17 1/2-foot tall sections. Later in the week, they'll pour the second half of the section on the north leg.

Q&A

Q: How soon can cars drive on new asphalt?

A: As soon as it's cool enough to touch, says the DOT's bridge project engineer, Dennis Engel.

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