Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pontoon RST Returns Home

Three refurbished concrete Hood Canal Bridge pontoons, named R, S and T, were brought to Hood Canal, positioned and anchored in place today, making them part of this 1.5 mile floating bridge for the second time in their history.

The story behind R, S and T started back in the 1980s. The pontoons were first used to decrease the amount of time the bridge was out of service after the 1979 storm that destroyed the bridge’s west half. By putting R, S and T in the place of the current west-half draw span, engineers opened the bridge to traffic a year before the draw span was completed. Once the west-half draw span was completed, R, S and T were moved to Port Gamble Bay and stored until towed to Seattle for refurbishing in January 2007.

Retrofitting these pontoons helped the Hood Canal Bridge project meet its May-June 2009 float-in date and saved tax payers both time and money through refurbishing pontoons rather than building three new ones.

The work required to refurbish R, S and T was completed in only nine months. Crews removed the old roadway and constructed a new, taller, wider roadway on top of the 60-foot wide pontoons so the pontoons match the widened west-half pontoons. Minor structural modifications were also made, a leak detection system was added and lighting systems were updated.

The 900-foot pontoons were then returned to Kitsap Peninsula’s Port Gamble Bay on October 1, 2007, awaiting today’s event.

6 comments:

Robert W said...

"...1979 storm that destroyed the bridge’s west half."

To be more accurate, the west end of the bridge sank because WSDOT maintenance crews found it too inconvenient to secure the maintenance assess hatches on top of the pontoons. Some of the hatches were blown open by the wind allowing some of the pontoons to flood and sink.

Anonymous said...

I much appreciate having your photo collection of bridge construction progress available online.

I live in Bremerton and it's a half hour or so drive each way.

chris matzen
Bremerton, 983122

Cindy Lowman said...

This is a great blog! I didn't think much about the bridge until I saw it being pushed and pulled through Puget Sound. I was at my parent's house today, which is on the bluff in Kingston and got some great shots of it. I posted them on my blog if you want to see them.
www.childrenscharitiesundressed.com

Marguerite said...

When will the Bridge really re-open? Seems like most of the work is done! I need to know, because I go to the Mariners' games!

Marguerite

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Rest assured, we'll keep everyone posted as we near the expected reopening date of the bridge.

It is very important to note that while much of the placement and installation of major bridge parts has occurred, there is still quite a bit of work to do in terms of fastening everything together, post-tensioning the pontoons, and completing electrical connections throughout.

Anonymous said...

I wish the bridge would never re-open. It is so nice on the Peninsula now without having to fight the slow tourist. What a peaceful spring!