Special Reports

Bridge Update: August 27

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Trapezing is the word of the week.

Tacoma Narrows Constructors crews will spend this week (and many more weeks) moving deck sections laterally along the main cables and into position at both ends of the bridge.

The complicated maneuver, accomplished by coordinating two sets of cables, is necessary because 16 deck sections need to be suspended over land or within the tower legs and cannot be lifted directly into position from the water.

Last week, crews completed two of the 13 trapezing maneuvers required for section No. 1 – the first piece on the Gig Harbor side – and three of eight maneuvers required for section No. 46 on the Tacoma side.

By the middle of this week, crews hope to have section No. 46 close enough to the Tacoma anchorage to lower it onto a rubber-tired dolly and roll it into position.

Meanwhile, road crews are stepping up the pace of work on the new Jackson Avenue exit from eastbound Highway 16 in Tacoma. They’ll be paving this week, trying to get the exit opened by the first week in September.

They’re moving faster than anticipated because highway crews doing work farther east on Highway 16 are pushing to get the Pearl Street exit closed.

Long traffic backups on Highway 16, caused by the spectacle of deck lifts, once again have raised a cry from impatient drivers for visual screens that would block views of construction.

Don’t worry, bridge watchers. The state Department of Transportation looked at screens early in the project and nixed them because they would affect the bridge’s aerodynamic stability.