Special Reports

Bridge Update: Dec. 5, 2006

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Bridge crews still have two days of work aboard the Swan before they move the transport vessel from Commencement Bay to the Tacoma Narrows.

They are removing the elaborate packing trusses installed on the deck sections to keep them stable during the voyage from South Korea.

They’re also installing the winch system that will move the ship back and forth and from side to side while it’s under the bridge, and they’re putting up ladders and handrails for worker safety.

The Swan is carrying the last 15 of 46 deck sections that will be bolted and welded together to form the mile-long bridge deck.

Tacoma Narrows Constructors’ plan at this point is to move the ship into the Narrows on Thursday. If all goes well, the first deck lift could occur the next day.

The first section crews will move is No. 9, a 120-foot module that will go at the end of the eight sections in place at the Gig Harbor end of the bridge. Section No. 9 will be lifted directly from the ship to the cables. The rest of the sections first will be transferred to the positioning barge.

TNC has an aggressive lift schedule planned for the rest of this year. It hopes to have all 15 sections off the ship and hung from the cables by the first week of January.

As the lifts take place, crews will be permanently bolting and welding other sections together. This week they’ll start the first of the permanent welds – the one connecting the ø-inch surface steel on sections No. 5 and No. 6.

Wednesday night, crews will close the eastbound exit to 36th Street in Gig Harbor and the far right lane of Highway 16 near the 36th Street exit so they can fix potholes.