Special Reports

Bridge update: Jan. 15

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

High winds forced spinning crews off the bridge a couple of times last week, putting them slightly short of where they wanted to be.

Still, they expect to finish work on the 16th and 17th strands of the south cable early this week and lay down the final two strands by next weekend.

Once all the wires are spun, the south cable will be ready to be compacted and banded. Already, Tacoma Narrows Constructors crews are preparing for that phase of the operation.

The most visible feature of the shift will be a change in tower cranes, which will take place over the next two or three weeks.

The cranes in place on the towers will be exchanged for cranes mounted on the top struts. The new cranes will lift materials needed for compacting and banding. The first step: The yellow crane on the Tacoma tower will be replaced by a red one on the top strut.

Four compactors will be used simultaneously along the cable, shaping and compressing the strands into a single 20.5-inch-diameter cable. Steel straps will hold the strands in position.

Stockpiled wire still is being tested for corrosion. Replacement wire is on order and should begin arriving at the end of March.

Crews working inside the north leg of the Gig Harbor tower are nearly finished building stairs from the bottom to the top. The stairs will provide maintenance access on the finished bridge.

Landscaping will continue this week, weather permitting. In particular, look for planting around the pond created on the site of the old concrete batch plant on the Gig Harbor side.

Seismic retrofit work continues on the old bridge. Crews will work under the roadway this week, putting “jackets” on support columns to increase their strength.