Special Reports

Bridge Update: August 20, 2006

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

Piece by piece, the new bridge deck is taking shape.

Tacoma Narrows Constructors crews had four of the 46 deck sections hanging from suspender cables by the end of last week – two in the middle and one on each sidespan.

This week, probably Monday, they’ll lift section No. 1 off the transfer ship Swan as close as possible to the Gig Harbor anchorage. They’ll spend the rest of the week “trapezing” it into position next to the anchorage.

Section No. 46, the one that will go next to the Tacoma anchorage, is hanging from suspenders. Crews will trapeze it into place this week, too. (Deck sections are numbered sequentially from 1-46, beginning at the Gig Harbor end.)

The spectacle of the lift operation is causing backups on Highway 16.

The state Department of Transportation is urging drivers not to slow on the bridge. Officials are directing sightseers to Narrows Park, south of the bridge on the Gig Harbor side, to keep people off the sidewalk of the existing bridge.

The new Jackson exit is running slightly behind schedule. The state Transportation Department says it will be open in mid-September, not this month as hoped. This week, crews will place crushed rock on the new exit, preparing to start paving Aug. 28.