Special Reports

Bridge Update: July 15

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Tacoma Narrows Constructors is still testing the equipment and procedures it will use to lift the deck sections onto the suspender cables. They might be ready to lift the first section late this week, depending on how the tests go.

Workers spent last week making sure the gantry cranes and winches that will be used to lift the heavy sections were assembled correctly and can handle the 46 deck sections. Each weighs an average of 450 tons.

TNC will continue the lifting tests at least through the first part of this week, using polyethylene bags filled with water to simulate the weight of the sections. When filled, each water bag weighs 77,000 pounds. The gantries and other lifting devices are being tested with as many as 12 bags each.

Elsewhere on the project, road crews will continue bringing in dirt to raise the grade of the area between the Tacoma anchorage and what will be the new eastbound alignment of Highway 16. The old eastbound exit to Jackson is gone. This week, road crews will grade and align the new exit.

Lots of lane closures and slowdowns are coming up this week for nighttime traffic on the bridge. Starting tonight, look for left-lane closures in both directions as crews remove material used in the seismic retrofit of the Tacoma tower on the old bridge. The work will continue each night this week, until 5 a.m. Friday.

Lanes will close at 8 p.m. and reopen by 5 a.m. each day. Expect delays as long as 30 minutes.

Rob Carson, The News Tribune