Friday, March 20, 2009

What should bicyclists and boaters expect when the bridge closes?

People who choose to get around on two wheels or by water will face some unique challenges starting May 1 when the SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge closes for six weeks.

Due to ongoing construction on the bridge during the replacement project, boaters will have to stay informed on whether bridge-related work will affect their routes. They can accomplish this several ways, including:

  • Calling the live project information line at 1-877-595-4222
  • Following construction updates at http://www.hoodcanalbridge.com/
  • Reading answers to FAQs written specifically for boaters

Bicyclists can travel across Hood Canal on the water shuttle, but are reminded that the vessels can only accommodate five bicycles per sailing. Transit buses – which must be taken between the water shuttle docks and the Port Gamble park and ride in Kitsap County, and the Gateway Visitors Center park and ride in Jefferson County – can only accommodate three bicycles per trip.

For the safety of bicyclists and drivers, the only vehicles that will be allowed direct access to the water shuttle docks include transit, approved buses and emergency service vehicles. As stated earlier, this means bicyclists won’t be allowed to bike down to water shuttle docks to catch the passenger-only boat across.

We’re reminding boaters and bicyclists that although the temporary bridge closure won’t be easy, the new bridge will feature improvements that will make their travels much easier and safer for years to come. More reliable openings will help mariners as they journey in and out of Hood Canal and wider lanes and 8-foot shoulders across the bridge will create a much safer passage for bicyclists.

What do you think about the travel options for bicyclists and boaters?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the tentative re-open date Jun 12 (or sooner depending on incentives and how things go)? Can you display that info in your header more prominently, with a disclaimer in case of changes? Thanks for setting this blog up!

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

The tentative reopen date is 42 days after May 1, so you are correct that June 12 is indeed the scheduled date. Our concern with posting it as the end date -- even with a disclaimer -- is that many people will set their watches by it.

If we open the bridge early, or late, some people will point to June 12 as the advertised end date and will have made plans before or after that date.

Because of the magnitude of the project -- we're replacing half a bridge and two 1.6 million-pound trusses -- we feel more comfortable saying approximately six weeks. That way, if we open late people are forewarned and if we open a few days early we won't be ruining anyone's plans.

Anonymous said...

Thanks much!

Anonymous said...

So the boat can handle 5 bikes but the bus only takes 3.... I really question how it can be unsafe for bikes to ride directly to the ferry. We do it all the time and the area near the terminals has little or no car traffic. Please reconsider.

Davis said...

I feel that not enough consideration has been given to the fact that bicycling could be a transportation alternative. Why could cyclists not be allowed the same access as the busses? This is a unique opportunity to encourage potential highway travellers to use their bicycles instead of their cars. In my opinion this restriction to cyclists is a good example of poor planning, poor management and short sighted thinking. Something our government has shown a lot of in the past regarding ferry travel, but this is not good for our future.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

It is a safety issue because the bus drivers will be taking passengers between the water shuttle docks and destinations as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Having bicyclists on the roads -- which aren't very wide to begin with -- creates an unsafe environment not just for the bikers but those on the buses as well.