Special Reports

BRIDGE update

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Crews are removing the concrete forms from the bottom struts connecting the tower legs. The struts are more than 150 feet above the water level but still aren’t high enough to be visible from the bridge deck.

Strut crews also will start building the middle strut (at the 350-foot level) this week. Their first task might be a traffic stopper – dangling on a construction swing to attach brackets for an access deck, where workers will stand during early phases of construction. That’s supposed to happen early in the week.

On top of the towers, crews in the “bird cages” will add the first half of the 19th section, or “lift.” Because the 18th and 19th lifts are where the middle struts attach, they are more complex and must be poured in sections. Each full lift is 17.5 feet high.

On the anchorages, crews will spend the week stripping forms and preparing to pour the lids of the massive structures, which will form the base for the roadway as it passes over the anchorages.

The deck of the Tacoma anchorage is tentatively scheduled to be poured March 15.

Also on the Tacoma side, road crews will be grinding and paving the new, realigned Jackson Avenue on-ramp. The work will be behind barriers and should not affect traffic flow.

In the toll plaza area, crews will be adding new sections to the retaining wall bordering the area, and they’ll put the finished metal roofing onto the covered walkway leading from the toll plaza to the toll operations building on 24th Street Northwest.

Coming events: The state Department of Transportation will install hardware for ramp meters on Highway 16 next week. Crews will shut down both eastbound highway lanes.

Weather permitting, they’ll divert highway traffic onto the 36th Street exit in Gig Harbor and onto a single lane paralleling the on-ramp while crews install sensors in the pavement. Data from the sensors will tell the signal lights when to change.