Special Reports

Bridge Update: May 21, 2006

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Last week crews finished assembling the gantries that will be used to lift deck sections onto the side spans. This week they’ll start installing gantry cranes on the main span – a harder job because those gantries are bigger and farther off the water.

The ship loaded with the first 16 deck sections is expected to leave Korea today or Monday. If the weather cooperates, the vessel will take 18 days to get to Tacoma.

Workers will continue attaching suspenders on the north cable this week. They won’t finish the job by the time the first deck sections arrive. Instead, they’ll continue hanging suspenders as needed while the deck sections are being lifted into place.

Big excitement coming up for bridge commuters: Traffic headed for Tacoma will be switched onto permanent eastbound lanes past the toll plaza late this month. Commuters will get a chance to try out the new transponder lanes – for free. This week road crews are laying down the final coat of paving in the area.

On the Tacoma-side approach to the new bridge this week, crews will be breaking up concrete used for the cable spinning operation and preparing to fill up the area to the required level.

Rob Carson, The News Tribune