Monday, June 1, 2009

And now, with out further delay... your 'Sunday' update

Hello all,

Our apologies for not providing you the progress report as promised on Sunday. We blew it big time and are truly sorry about that because we know how trying the closure has been on everyone.

We're in the final stages of the project now and are scheduled to complete 20 perfect openings of the bridge tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2. These tests are required to show that the bridge meets the operational standards for providing a safe and reliable draw span.

When the tests are done, we'll have an extremely clear idea on when the bridge will be ready for 16,000 vehicles that cross it daily.

Over the weekend, crews from contractor Kiewit-General and WSDOT completed the following operations:

• Pulled together or “tensioned” the majority of the pontoon UVWX/RST joint
• Started Truss and transition span expansion joints
• Continued electrical wire installation and connecting and final ballasting
• Completed bolting started final tensioning

The exact opening time is still unknown because the testing work is unpredictable. Even if the crews have 19 successful tests and then the draw span doesn’t work on the twentieth test, they must begin the testing sequence with a count of zero once again.

An update on draw span work and testing progress will be provided on Monday afternoon (We'll make certain of it).

After the bridge is open, WSDOT will continue to provide transportation services for the day the bridge opens and one day after to help travelers return to their normal commute. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead by visiting www.HoodCanalBridge.com or by calling 1-877-595-4222.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why the ambiguity with the "hint, hint" what does that mean does that 75% chance for tuesday Or say maybe 75% chance for wednesday. The aforementioned percentages would be far more appreciated than hint hint and it will not kill anybody to throw us a bone and give something to look towards other than a week period

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

The hint, hint simply means that -- once these tests are complete -- we should have a very, very clear idea of when the bridge will be reopening.

It's all dependent on the tests right now.

If there are serious problems, it could very well be later this week. If it's smooth sailing, it will be sooner.

Anonymous said...

Either way don't you think it will be later this week I mean come on. Suppose these test have the positve results you/we should expect does that mean thursday most likely or saturday more likely I know you have a day in your head and it would be so assuring to the public to hear some positive info.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

To be totally honest, and at the risk of giving you negative information, I don't have an end date in my head. I don't know exactly when we're expecting to reopen.

And I'd rather not hazard a guess, get everyone's hopes up, be wrong, and leave you facing another day or two of bridge closure.

I do know when the 20 draw span tests are complete, we'll be much more certain when we can reopen the bridge to traffic.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your update. Remember with commuters, patients seeking care at Harrison, people of all walks of life; they are scheduling for this event - the sooner the better! Rumors are rampant that wsdot wants to hold the opening for Gregoire to do the dedication. That would be very sad to do to the folks here on the Olympic Peninsula.

Anonymous said...

Timing is so crucial to us here on the Peninsula. I live in Sequim. I need to get over to Sea Tac to catch a 5:00 am flight on Thurs 06/04 and planning when I have to leave could require that I request an extra day off work coming and going. A target date would be helpful.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

When the bridge is ready, it will open.

We know how patient everyone has been and truly appreciate it, and won't be delaying the opening at all.

In fact, a lot of people asked about having a ribbon cutting ceremony on the bridge itself.

We're having the dedication at Salsbury Park instead, because as soon as the bridge is ready to use, we know people will want to use it.

Anonymous said...

Jamie, I could kiss you! Thank you for the update and the "hint hint". May I pardon my community members? The bridge being down is hairy for us commuters, but the communication has been top notch. I'm feelin' Tuesday!

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Joe here,

I'll pass the kiss onto Jamie for you.

He'll get a kick out of it no doubt but we both may have some serious explaining to do to our wives.

Thanks for bearing with us.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the updates. I am so glad to hear the opening won't be delayed due to parties and ceremonies. Those of us who work on either side will be glad for the completion. My concern is for the construction workers, I am hearing the bonus money won't get to the crews. Is that correct? I hope not, those people work hard!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited! I live in Sequim also and as soon as that bridge opens I'm going to take the day off and go to the mall. It's so hard to find clothes around here, and I need to stock up on summer clothes! Thanks for keeping us updated, I really appreciate it!

Archie said...

I predicted the opening would either be on Tuesday or Wednesday on the PT Leader Page and I still stand by that prediction here.

We are all pulling for an early opening whether it's Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday or Friday is in-material it will happen when it will happen. We all are on hold waiting for that day so that we can get on with our lives.

Sure it's been an inconvenience to us here on the peninsula, we are spoiled. For the most part this closure has gone very smoothly thanks to WDOT, the prime contractor and the many people who worked to pull this off we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts you have gone far beyond yeoman's work. Job well done.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the updates, I live in Wenatchee and have to be on the Peninsula for a graduation ceremony. I was dreading trying to find my way to the Mukilteo ferry dock, over Whidbey Island, to the Keystone dock and back again. It's very hard to make reservations for the Keystone/Port Townsend ferry when one is not sure how long the drive time will be.

Anonymous said...

OMG! If we have to wait for Grego-ire! That would be ludicrous. I seriously hope that was merely a speculative statement.

Anonymous said...

Many, many, many thanks to everyone involved. I've never seen ANY government agency try to hard to keep everyone informed of a project's status.

Anonymous said...

Would you be able to identify what other work needs to be completed for the bridge to open in addition to the 20 perfect openings test? I would think that there are still many smaller items to complete though this work could probably be done while the bridge is open. I appreciate the workers tightening all the bolts before commuters begin using the bridge!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't understand why you can't make a statement as simple as: "In the best possible case scenario, if all test openings go well, the bridge COULD open as soon as _____."

Even knowing of the possibilities can help us in making plans and contemplating alternatives.

I understand that you don't want to create false hopes or expectations, but we are adults, we understand the difference between a committment ("We WILL provide an update on Sunday") and a CONDITIONAL statement, i.e. "IF all goes well." Seems to me the best service you could provide us would be to share fully the information and insight you have, not treat us like children by withholding it. ("Hint hint.")

Thanks.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

We're not trying to treat anyone like children here. And my apologies, if you took the "hint, hint" in this way as I was merely trying to convey that -- once the tests are complete -- we will have a very, very good idea as to when the bridge will be ready.

Since those words are causing such an uproar, and not wishing to inadvertantly offend anyone further, I have removed them from the post.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, sounds like people in Washington can't TAKE a "hint, hint."
What's with all the whining, seriously? I thought the hint thing was cute. Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in there.

Anonymous said...

They did say that the TESTING if all goes well will be done by Tuesday... so I would think we will find out tomorrow, most likely, a date, or at least a more specific *estimation* date. Am I right?

Anonymous said...

It IS funny how people are whinning! and yet stating that they are adults! :o) Hummmm...
I think the updates on the wedsite are and have been helpful. Why do you want them to put an exact day on the opening? Just so you can turn around and be mad when it doesn't open and ruins your plans you made in accordance to the opening date? So the poor planning falls on someone else other than yourself?

Anonymous said...

Man, I don't blame you for not putting in a date. From all the flak you're getting for the hint, I can imagine what the response would be if the bridge didn't actually open the day/time given as an estimate. I, for one, am extremely greatful for the hard work everyone has put in to getting the bridge open as soon as possible. I was not expecting it to be open until June 15, almost two weeks early is phenominal for construction on the water. Good job!

Anonymous said...

People are strange. Everyone wants an exact time. We should all just be thankful the bridge is almost complete and be grateful for each day before the 12th we open!!! If it doesn't open this week expect to really see people act like children, being rude and throwing their fits. lol!

Anonymous said...

Well with all the lack of a final date. There will be a point when its done and they let you know its ready. Like if they say k its 5 pm whatever day its done where going to open it at 9 pm the same day. Is there going to be a massage to us by the news or email? With the info asap so we can go drive on the bridge and move on with are life. I and alot of others would like to know.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, show a little respect for the folks who have worked SO HARD to make this as painless as possible. I knew I would be commuting for six weeks. They've only been announcing this for what? six years? Anything less than six weeks is a blessing. I so appreciate every effort on both sides of the canal as wells as the crews on the bridge and the DOT. Thank you all so much!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing the performance tests. I would hate to see you open it and THEN have it closed again for a week or so because the mechanical or electrical equipment failed or the safeties did not work properly.
I am just glad you are having it done before Sequim HS's graduation on June 12th so I don't have to drive all the way around. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

To hell with the ribbon cutting party. Take the money and put it on the bill for the bridge.
But I know that if the goverment hands out a few hot dogs and sodas everyone will feel like they have been treated like kings.

Anonymous said...

Well, lets see if we can add 2+2. The testing has to be done before we can get a "very, very" good idea of the opening date. The state has already said they will give 3 days notice before opening. 3 days notice has not been given. So, Tuesday testing, plus 3 days notice equals a Friday opening if the testing goes well.

Stewart said...

Hehe, this IS sort of amusing. The closure is taxing on all of us of course. Really though you guys at WSDOT and the bridge crew have been doing a great job. It sucks to have the bridge out for so long, but when you think of how big a project this has been, and how long it took to replace the other half after it sank, four-six weeks is nothing! Great job guys, I'll look forward to an reopening soon. If that's tuesday or friday, it's still ahead of schedule and communication has been great.

Anonymous said...

Did the state say they would actually give us three days notice or is this still just a rumor

Anonymous said...

Hats off to WSDOT and Contractors for a good job to date and getting the bridge open under schedule. To all the Oly Pen whinners just chill and enjoy the peaceful pennisula time before all those east siders come back on over. Save your energy for that issue to whine about!!

Anonymous said...

Jeez "anonymous 2+2" guy, total buzz kill.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

It's actually two days notice, not three. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

It was announced on the ferry one morning that a 3 day notice would be given prior to the bridge opening. Two days prior they would announce a morning or evening opening. One day prior they would announce a six-hour window for opening. Not sure that the source was the state but it came from member of the crew.

edavidt said...

You guys are awesome. The alternative transit options have been amazing, on time, consistent and comfortable. My commute is longer, but a lot more confortable and environmentally friendly. I have enjoyed the bridge being closed so much, that I am thinking I wouldn't mind if stayed closed! Port Townsend has been a lot more liveable, at least for me, with less auto traffic.

Your communication has been top notch.

This long anticipated project has been as smooth as it can be from my perspective.

Thanks.

Tiffany said...

If anything, I've appreciated the blog updates and the quirky humor that I know possesses some of the WSDOT communications folks. I also appreciate the really hard work and having to deal with the public, some of which is insistent on the HOUR that the bridge will be open (Seriously? Come on!). My hats off to the WSDOT communications team, as well as the engineers and project managers who are making this bridge work happen 24/7.

BTW, the drive around Hood Canal isn't that bad, in fact, it's quite lovely on an awesome sunny PNW day.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know where the "3 days notice" promise came from, I hadn't read that anywhere before this comment thread. Given how reticent the PR people have been to comment on anything even remotely resembling an opening date or time I had been expecting the opening announcement to be made day of, not three days ahead. Given the current attitude towards releasing an opening date it seems like they would need to keep a finished bridge closed for an extra three days in order to be fully comfortable giving that much early warning.

Look at the now removed comment in today's post even, on first reading I interpreted the "hint, hint" to mean "if the bridge passes these tests, we'll open the gates" only on reading the comments did it become clear that it actually meant "we should have a very, very clear idea of when the bridge will be reopening".

Communication in early stages of this closure was amazing, but it seems to me to be breaking down as we near the most crucial point, the re-opening. We were promised an update Sunday which was not delivered until Monday morning. A previous post stated that there would be new construction images/videos, which as far as I see have not been uploaded. The "milestone" list hasn't been updated in a week or so, a recent post informed us that there was "more to be done" than what was included in that list, which raises the question why this additional work is not part of the milestone list.

Yes, the fact that the construction crews are finishing this project early is great, and I thank them for their tireless efforts, but I am growing very disappointed with the WSDOT employees whose duty it is to communicate with the public failing to provide informative updates on some sort of reliable schedule. The link to this blog from the official project website claims the blog will provide "Daily Construction Updates" which has hardly been the schedule for new information to be released.

Anonymous said...

We just appreciate all the hard work and planning that seems to have gone very well...and safely. Thanks for trying to keep us updated. Despite the whinning of some, we should all be appreciative...there have been times in the past when we all just had to sit in the dark and wonder. Thanks again.....Mike from Sequim.

Anonymous said...

Great work on the bridge AND the wonderful blog -- I can't stand to read some of these comments here by people who don't seem to grasp that if you announced an opening date those same people would count on it, plan around it (they've indicated as much) and FREAK OUT on the DOT for "lying" or being "late" or whatever. Everything being said is perfect; we have a doctor appointment in Poulsbo on June 5th and know that we can hope the bridge will be open but should plan to take the shuttle.

Some people are so unrealistic. It's not like you're building a doghouse . . . IT'S A GIGANTIC BRIDGE!! What planet are people on?

-P.S. in Port Townsend

Anonymous said...

Jeff Chew of the Pen. Daily News said that the Contractor would receive $75,000 per day for early completion for up to eight days of work. I expect the bridge to open eight days early. Cynical, I know but accurate.

Anonymous said...

There will be a dedication ceremony at Salsbury Park? This is the first time I've heard of it. When, and what time? Is the public invited (hotdogs!!)? How many people are you expecting, Salsbury park isn't very big.

Anonymous said...

They already said the dedication ceremony will be at Salsbury Park, not at the bridge, so as not to delay the re-opening. No public figure would want to be pictured cutting a ribbon at the bridge, since their opposition would accuse them of delaying the opening.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knew the closure was going to be an inconvenience but come on, this isn't something the WDOT is doing TO us, they're doing it FOR us. Hats off to you guys, over all it has been a positive experience. It's unfortunate that certain people can't be appreciative and just say thank you, or else do the rest of us a favor and just keep their mouths shut. The negativity isn't going to get the bridge opened up any sooner. Great job WSDOT!

Anonymous said...

These posts are really annoying. If you really need a day, stick with June 12th. If it opens early (duh) at least it will be good thing.
All you "adults" will complain and make a huge scene if the bridge doesn't make the assumed new opening date even though it is early.
These workers are working 12 hour days with no day off, away from their family and your complaining that you dont know how EARLY the bridge will open. I bet the day it opens you will know! I PROMISE YOU THAT!

Anonymous said...

If you think the people asking questions on here are babies and whiners. Maybe u need to think about the fact were paying for this with our tax dollars and time. Plus the cost to alot of us that work for a living still!! The more info and quicker they tell us all the info about the opening time the better.

Yes Great good But just remember were paying top dollar to the workers, that is up to about $200.00 hr per person do to over time and double time on sundays and more then 12 hr.

We need to know so much more,so some of us that tried to work around this bridge closer. Can get back to working as without spending up to an extra 2-3 hr.

We as tax payers need to take a stand and expect more from the state.

And as for the extra money for getting it done earlier all that money will not make it to the workers, just the pockets of the people that didn't lift a hammer or brake a sweat working. WE should not be paying them anything extra they would have it done in the some time without it.

Give US MORE info, maybe every meeting should be posted for us to check out. And I mean meetings with the state and all contractors and which means ALL meetings WERE paying for it all.


THE TAX PAYER

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Hello all,

Busy night for you all I see. Once I get the updates I need, I'll be able to alter the milestone list. I expect that to occur today for sure.

I'd rather not say anyone writing anything anti-WSDOT was a pig as someone commented. Everyone here is entitled to his or her opinion whether or not what they is pro or con in terms of what we're doing here.

I'll be posting the details on the June 6 opening ceremony today as well as information on what travelers can expect the first few days after the bridge reopens (some people have their vehicles on the other side of the canal right now after all).

We're doing our best to provide daily construction reports (there wasn't any new information sent my way yesterday, sorry) but I do attend most of the morning meetings and try to keep you posted on the goings on.

The taxpayer is absolutely right, and I'd like to assure him that while I make considerably less than $200 an hour -- and by considerably I mean that's more than I make in a day -- I wholeheartedly agree that the state should be held to the highest standard possible.

For me that's what this blog is pretty much about communication-wise. As soon as we get the information to share, we share it.

It's not a perfect system, there's a lot of rumor control and moderating comments that are a bit uncalled for, honestly. Why no date? Why no best case scenario?

Because on a project like this, the last thing we want to do is tell people the bridge is opening on June __ and then have something pop up that delays it.

Right now, worst case scenario is the first week of June. That's a week ahead of schedule and then some, if you count in the weather delays we faced during the project.

The long, arduous commute will be coming to an end in mere days. And, as soon as we can, we'll let you know exactly when you get your bridge back.

Anonymous said...

ARe you all still standing by the news story we heard that you will make a three-day notification THEN open it after those three days ? That would be so stupid. Just get it open and let's go....no excuses, no stalling, none of that "let's announce the opening day then sit and wait so everyone can figure out how to cope" crap...let's go....

Anonymous said...

Its has been nice and quiet in my little shack by the bridge (Kitsap County). Open the bridge if you must. Can we post a sign like they have on "that" side: Drive friendly. Quit throwing trash out your car windows, and muffler your motorcycles and trucks.
It sounds like you have missed us more than we have missed you.It is a pleasure to live in this beautiful area, lets respect each side.