We’re often asked, “Why are you closing the bridge for six weeks?” Safety concerns, its age and the need for improvements are understandably overshadowed by travelers’ need to get across the canal.
I know where they’re coming from. I lived in North Kitsap for nine years while I worked at the Herald and headed over the Olympic Peninsula fairly regularly – to camp and hike or celebrate a special occasion by donning a clown wig and eating fine cuisine at The Ajax Café in Port Hadlock. The region’s isolation is truly part of its unique charm. Like folks say in Port Townsend, “We’re all here because we’re not all there.”
Indeed. But they still have to get across the canal and to the “east side” every now and then.
When the bridge closes for six weeks in May-June 2009, you won't be left high and dry. There are several options to help you get to your destination on either side of the Hood Canal.
You can find the fare-free transit schedules and connecting water shuttle service schedule between South Point in Jefferson County and Lofall in Kitsap County on-line at http://www.hoodcanalbridge.com/.
Of course, timing water shuttles and catching the bus means thinking outside the box and planning ahead.
As a recent transplant to Gig Harbor – actually living on the land my great grandfather and namesake Joseph Goodman homesteaded after the Civil War – I’ve been taking the bus to and from work in Tacoma. All that hiking in the Olympics must’ve paid off as runs and all-out sprints to catch the 102 have become the norm. You’d think someone who caught ferries out of Kitsap for so long would know better.
While the bus/water shuttle might work for some people, others might opt to take the car ferry out of Port Townsend, fly out of Port Angeles, take a boat, drive around – it takes awhile but is about as scenic as it gets – or stay put and shop locally. If you can, I’d recommend the latter, and the Ajax while I’m at it – their pork chops are to die for.
The bridge may be closed for six weeks but, rest assured, your favorite businesses will be open.
Map your route now, see if the fare-free transit will work for you and then share your plan here to help others plan ahead. The water shuttle/transit option is definitely less expensive than driving around on US 101 and might just make a bus rider out of you.