Special Reports

More bridge deck arrives in port

The second shipment of Korean-made deck sections for the new Tacoma Narrows bridge arrived in Commencement Bay on Monday.

Fifteen of the massive steel sections, averaging 420 tons each, arrived at the Port of Tacoma at 4:30 p.m. aboard the semi-submersible Dutch vessel, the Teal. It’s sister ship, the Swan, delivered the first 16 deck sections June 8.

The Swan is anchored under the Gig Harbor sidespan of the new bridge, waiting for the sections to be unloaded and hoisted onto the suspender cables.

A total of 46 sections eventually will be bolted together to form the mile-long deck of the new bridge. The deck sections were fabricated at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard on Koje Island, South Korea, using Japanese steel.

Tacoma Narrows Constructors, the Bechtel/ Kiewit partnership building the $849 million bridge, is testing gantry cranes mounted on the new bridge’s main cables that will lift the deck sections into position.

This morning and Wednesday morning, TNC will test the midspan gantries that will lift the first deck section. The tests include lifting as many as 12 polyethylene bags, each filled more than 9,000 gallons of water.

TNC has not announced when it will lift the first deck section, but Claudia Cornish, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said it probably will take place within a matter of days.

When the Swan is unloaded it will return to South Korea for the last 15 sections, which it is scheduled to deliver sometime in October.

In the meantime, the Teal will be anchored in Commencement Bay.

The new bridge is scheduled to open in July 2007.

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693