Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Draw span testing moved to Wednesday

The exact SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge opening time is still unknown because, as we experienced today, testing work is unpredictable. I know that wasn't what you wanted to hear. Believe me, I feel your pain. With seemingly the whole peninsula having my cell phone number saved as a speed dial, I am as anxious as you are to know when the bridge is opening.

What I do know is that the crews are working long hours, focused on opening the bridge as soon as possible by completing draw span adjustments now in order to help ensure the 20 cycle tests will go well once we start.

I spent most of the morning out on the draw span myself, watching crews work through the draw span check list’s 1,400 electrical, mechanical and hydraulic items. The primary challenge today was aligning the pontoons ends correctly each time.

According to Scott Ireland, Hood Canal Bridge Contruction Manager and expert, joining the new bridge components to the existing west half adds another set of challenges to completing this very technical bridge that requires extensive checks and adjustments to ensure its safe and reliable operation.

So now draw span testing is now scheduled for Wednesday. Another update will be provided Wednesday evening so check back then.

-Becky Hixson

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the update! will check back tomorrow night!

luckyboy83 said...

I knew it was too good to be true that you'd open tonight~oh well, what's another 4 hours drive around the backside of 101?

Anonymous said...

Would it have been too hard to say earlier in the day that testing had not yet started? Then update that later when it actually did start? And update at each start over from count 0? This would give answers about status without promising a date. If I had known earlier that testing had not yet started I'd have stopped checking the website for updates all day long. Communication is not promises - oh, but you knew that.

Anonymous said...

A note to say how much we appreciate the extra effort you have put forth to keep us informed.

It's not like you have nothing else to do all day but listen to the wailing masses.

Thanks for your dedication.

Anonymous said...

This is all pure baloney. There were empty construction parking lots over the weekend. No one was working so they could save the overtime. The draw span testing has been finished for days according to the engineers staying at the Inn at Port Ludlow. Its all political now. Labor Unions sticking together so that the transportation support staff can get more State money.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. Even negative news is news that helps us to evaluate our own plans. I know it must be tempting to only update when you come bearing good news, but it is truly appreciated to have any news at all.

Anonymous said...

Fail.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure we're not just waiting for Ms. Gregorie to clear her schedule for the ribbon cutting?

Anonymous said...

Okay, so we all know that the testing is going to be (is) difficult. How about some intermediate updates, every two hours for example, just saying "We haven't started yet", "We have started", "We've done 5 tests and failed" etc. I know I am hoping to use the bridge Saturday and if I can't I'll have to take the long way to Silverdale so I, along with everyone else, am very interested in a more current progress report.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. I would much rather have the bridge functioning properly than to be stuck in traffic because it malfunctioned down the road. Great job!!

Anonymous said...

For those of us that live in the Bridgehaven pennisula area, when the bridge opens how do we get to the Port Gamble park and ride to retrieve our cars if the ferry is immediately halted (as is projected in a night opening of the bridge)? Shuttles to and from the Shine pit and the Port Gamble park and ride do not address our situation.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess it was too good to be true. Rumors all day were flying around Port Townsend that the bridge would open tonight. Oh well, what's another 4 hour trip around the hood? THANKS

Mark said...

Becky how long does 1 cycle of the test take??? and are they starting first light or later in the morning, we are going to the coast this weekend and if there is a chance it could be done today I may head north toward the bridge vice down and around...

Robert W said...

So, if the utility connections are complete why isn't the traffic camera on the bridge working. The last time I crossed the bridge, the camera was on the west side of the drawspan.

Anonymous said...

Being that the opening is so close how about more frequent updates so us people that you say you can feel our pain can plan our lives?

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Hello folks,

Again thanks for your patience and understanding as we get ever closer to reopening the bridge.

I see little rumor control is in order...

No we're not waiting on the Governor, no, politics isn't playing any role whatsoever in when the bridge opens, and a huge no, the draw span testing hasn't been done for days.

Trust me, I sit in the construction meetings daily and the challenges are real, and require the delays so we can build a bridge that works.

It's not an overtime issue, either. I've had a number of 11+ hour days and would much rather be at home with the wife and kids. Round-the-clock operations are simply winding down, that's all.

We're trying to get this open as soon as we can, so we all -- especially those who rely on the bridge daily -- can spend more time with the people matter most to them.

PS - Bridgehaven residents can call 1-877-595-4222 once the bridge opens and we'll set you up with a ride.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone questions how hard you are working to open the bridge. Its the communication we have a problem with. We are left to guess because of how and when you give us these updates. Tell us in a timely manner whats going on and what you expect. Then the rumor control will not be needed.

Anonymous said...

If the 20 cycle test is really the last major thing to do before opening the bridge, can we please get some more frequent updates on the status of those tests. I know you don't like to bring us "bad" news, but even saying "still delayed" or "starting attempt 3" will give us some information.

Obviously the longer we go without an official update, the more the rumors fly. People near the canal are going to look out their window and report what they see to their friends.

Not every update here needs to be a well planned 4 paragraph essay. Two lines would be sufficient. Example: "Tests not started yet. will post next update between 10 and 11 am". While it might seem pointless, even knowing that much information will make a lot of people feel a lot more "informed" about the status of this project. Most of the frustration you're getting regarding this project seems to be based on information distribution, not length of closure.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hello Becky,
I wonder if this was the job you anticipated when you signed up. You continue to thank people for their patience yet few people are actually being patient. Perhaps it would be a good time to point out that this was supposed to be a 6 week closure. We are just 3 days past the 4 week point and people seem to be taking it for granted that the bridge will open early.
From our deck we watch each opening and closing with great interest - to us there seems like something is wrong. It seems to take forever to lower the east road section into place and several times that part of it seemed aborted.
If I were you - you are exceptionally patient - I would say something is broken and it wont be open until the 16th. That way people will be thrilled if and when it opens early.
Good thing I'm not in PR ;)

Thanks for your efforts...

Anonymous said...

All of you negative people who keep whining and moaning to the very end need to step back and look at the big picture ... we were told the closure would last 6 weeks and they are finishing a week or so early!! So we have to ride the shuttles another time or two .. much better than doing it for another week. They have done a BRILLIANT JOB in being able to accomplish this faster than scheduled so just take a breath and remember the old adage "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all!" :-)

Anonymous said...

The whining and complaining from some folks just really marshes my mellow. WSDOT is under no obligation to offer any communication updates to anyone. They could have just said, hey, it's closed until whenever, and when it's open, it's open. I'll be glad when it's open just so all the crybabies will go away. THANKS to everyone on the project!

Anonymous said...

Anybody who has worked in construction or designed a schedule for construction knows how much padding is in a construction schedule. Which is why so many of us expected an early opening rather than the scheduled six weeks, especially given the fact that up to eight days of early completion bonus are available. I was predicting exactly no earlier than June 3 opening, and so am a bit peeved that the final testing keeps changing from Monday, to Tuesday, to Wednesday, to....

I am surprised at the statement that "round the clock operations are winding down" when continuing round the clock operations definitely would have resulted in the early opening. Nobody will "trust" anybody when a fact like that comes out. And it's hard to argue worker safety in the final week with a straight face, when it's not been an issue in the earlier weeks.

I do echo the other comments that communication is starting to look like politics.

More accidents are happening on the drive-around (I have seen two), so the reopening is needed to address drivers' safety issues. I would hate to be in an accident on poorly-served 101 with one of those semis, and either forced off a cliff or into the water. Or to be the state (and its taxpayers) who get sued when a fatality occurs on the drive around because the bridge could have been opened but was not.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

The 24-hour operations are winding down because certain portions of the bridge are complete.

Crews working are specialized in one field or another. Why keep someone whose expertise is in concrete placement or pontoon joining at the site when work has shifted away from those aspects of the project?

Anonymous said...

With everything going well, and it looking like the bridge will open sooner than originally planned, I wish people would quit complaining! These people have been working hard, and every time someone has to stop to answer questions it pushes things back further. Can we just be patient and be thankful it is opening sooner than expected?

Michael R. Bednarz said...

'Git er Done!!!!!