By Mark Edward Nero
A project to rebuild and replace the internal mechanics of the Hood Canal Bridge draw span begins in western Washington later this week, and is expected to require some bridge closures and marine vessel limitations.
Starting Saturday, March 18, contractor crews working on the SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge special repair project will begin rehabilitating the structural, electrical, mechanical and hydraulics systems of the floating bridge, which connects the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas.
Crews will replace or rebuild the mechanical devices that open and close the bridge; replace the hydraulic hoses and fluid; and adjust the wheels that allow portions of the bridge to move. The maintenance is expected to help prevent breaks and malfunctions in the bridge’s mechanisms, which can multiply if not prevented or addressed early.
Marine vessels may be affected by this project because although bridge operators will still be able to open the drawspan up to 300 feet, there will be times during the project when they will not be able to open it up to its maximum 600 feet.
The work requires up to 12 long-term overnight closures between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and a maximum of 20 short-term closures of up to an hour each between midnight and 4 a.m., according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The initial overnight closures begin Saturday, March 18 and continue nightly through Saturday, March 25. Additional periodic closures are expected to be announced as dates are scheduled.
The project is expected to be completed this fall.