Special Reports

Bridge update: Feb. 11, 2007

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

The bridge doesn’t look much different than it did last week, but plenty of work is going on.

Now that all the deck sections are in place, crews are dismantling and removing the lifting equipment: gantry cranes, the winches used to lift sections off the ships, lifting beams and cables.

They’ll work on that for at least two more weeks.

Beneath the deck, bolting crews are permanently fastening the sections together. They have most of the bolting done on 33 of the 45 joints.

On top, welders have completed six of 45 joints in the steel top plates. Both welders and bolters will continue work through this week.

Meanwhile, Tacoma Narrows Constructors is getting ready to start wrapping and painting the main suspension cables.

Two wrapping machines have been installed – on each cable at the Gig Harbor anchorage. Next, crews will put machines on the cables on the Tacoma end and begin working upward from both ends.

By the time they’re finished wrapping – about two months from now if all goes well – they’ll have used 948 miles of wrapping wire.

Meanwhile, earth-moving crews have all but finished the massive backfilling job behind the Tacoma anchorage. This week they should have the road level to where it needs to be, and they’ll start contouring the slopes into their final shapes.