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.