Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Draw span tests get green light

We finished functional testing of the bridge about 10:45 p.m. last night, checked the last box on the 93-page, 1,400-item check list (whew!) and started the 20 consecutive draw span tests around 2 p.m. today. You can watch the progress on our bridge traffic camera. We'll provide updates every two hours.

There are still a few punch list items we're working through, but nothing that will affect or delay the "20-cycle" tests.

That's the latest from the hardworking engineers technicians and construction workers who have brought us so much success and removed half of the world's longest floating bridge over saltwater and replacing it, along with two trusses, in a little over a month. My hat's off to these guys.

We're almost there.

The tests are expected to take anywhere from 8-10 hours, but this timeframe is wholly dependent on how things go. If test No. 2, or 12 or 19 raises serious concerns or fails, we're back at square one.

We don't want to have this happen anymore than people who have added hours to their daily commutes. However, it is a condition -- that means almost isn't good enough -- that must be met before we can reopen the bridge.

We'll do our best to keep everyone posted as things progress.

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for today's detailed report - it is most helpful.

Sarah said...

So rumor has it that the 20 draw span tests have been completed successfully..but officials are saying they have not because our "lovely" governor Gregoire wants to be the first over the bridge but is on vacation till Friday. If you drive down to the road blocks on the bridge (Jefferson side) you can look clean across to the other side, no equipment or anything. This is so dissapointing to here and hope they are completely false.

Anonymous said...

My hat is off to everyone involved, including those faithful blog posters who have kept us informed. I'm impressed. Thanks!

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Hello Sarah,

This rumor is about as correct as the answers on my last Business Calculous test... I shortly thereafter changed my major from Business to Communications at Seattle University.

That is to say it's completely incorrect, false, inaccurate, untrue and fallacious. We're scheduled to start the 20 tests today and aren't waiting on anyone to drive across the bridge -- some of our construction guys surely already had this honor when everything was put together.

Also, the tests don't require equipment or personnel on the bridge.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Of course, I meant calculus. See, I can't even spell it right...

Kristin said...

Cheers Irwin! Thank you for the great laugh we got!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much to everyone involved with the project. Although we would all prefer to have the bridge open "yesterday", considering the scope of the project they should all take a bow for a job well done.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful for the bridge work being done and that there have been no major hold ups, or injuries to the workers.

Most of the comments are pretty self centered: What about me, What about me.

If there is ribbon cutting on Sat. and governor Gregoiore is there I would suggest you have her on the side of the road, because I have a feeling some the the Jefferson County folks might run over her to get to the other side, to get one with their super important lives.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm excited. Good job !! Hope it all works... The Bridge seems to be floating on the proper side of the water surface, that's a plus !!

Heather said...

If the tests are completed today, is there a chance the bridge will be open tonight or will they wait till tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for update. You have done a great job in keeping the public informed. Hats off to the workers for a job well done

Anonymous said...

Love the updates and really appreciate all the hard work going into getting this bridge up and running again. My commute has been horrible without it so I will most certainly be one of those people doing the happy dance on the bridge when it reopens!! Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work. We will all be happy when the bridge opens.

Thankful for anytime opening day or night

Anonymous said...

I just want to say "thank you" for the detailed updates on your blog. (And please ignore the bozos who are rude)

Jeffrey said...

If the opening is delayed witing for the Governor, we need a new Governor. If the excellent owrk of the engineers is complete, then let us enjoy OUR bridge now.

Susan said...

I am so thrilled this project is going so well. We Squimmers rely so on the bridge!

And thanks to Irwin for all the great updates. It was so nice to follow the project like this.

And we learned stuff from you too! For example I had NO idea that our Hood Canal Bridge was the longest floating bridge in the world! Wow! That really rocks!

Again Irwin, thanks, and I'm glad you quit the boring business math and went with communications! You do it so well!

Anonymous said...

the local news channels are telling us there is a ribbon cutting ceremony on saturday.
is this so and can we then cross the bridge? have back country permit, need to know.

Sarah said...

irwinj, thanks for the response and i am very glad the rumors arent true! Thanks alot for all your hard work and patience!!

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Thank you Susan, and everyone for your thoughts both pro and con. You've made this a great blog instead of a boring blah-g.

For the record, it's the longest floating bridge over saltwater. But still, it's very, very impressive folks.

Anonymous said...

How come my comments are not posted, is it cause I did not vote for the Governor that we have???

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Actually, the ribbon cutting ceremony is a scheduled event and is near the bridge not on it. We did this for a few reasons... 1) It's tough to get everyone together and stage these events without a set date and 2) Once the bridge is done, we'll open it and didn't want to block traffic for a ceremony.

Anonymous said...

I called Washington State Ferries today and was told that there will be a ferry from Edmonds to Port Townsend tonight. Does the Hood Canal Bridge Project part of the WSDOT organization see it this way, too? The information released yesterday indicated that the "twilight ferry" would stop as soon as the bridge re-opens, which as far as I can tell, could be later today.

When will we know for sure whether there is a twilight ferry run tonight or not? Thank you.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Absolutely not. Your vote is your own and I'd never withhold a comment based on political preference. Also, we didn't schedule around the governor.

The Twighlight Ferry will sail tonight.

Also, we're still gearing up for the 20 cycles.

Anonymous said...

Joe, thank you for the definitive response on the twilight ferry question.

Anonymous said...

Does that mean that the 20 cycles did not start at 11am as scheduled?

Anonymous said...

I looked clear accross from the Jefferson side this morning, too. One of the construction guys told me that he had 20 cases of beer at stake...that it would open today. What a GREAT! bunch. What an amazing job they've done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for doing a great job on both the bridge and the commuting.

Dick said...

The only bad part about opening the bridge is losing the entertainment afforded by the blog comments of conspiracy theorists, rumor chasers, and the terminally cranky (though I wonder if it shouldn't stay closed until we have a public referendum on the color of the new bridge which seems not to have been duly considered).

Congrats to all involved in addressing the issues with the bridge and fixing them in a timely manner.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

No. It means yours truly might have mistaken noon for 11 a.m.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

A bet for 20 cases of beer? I'm no economist, but I did go to college... Wouldn't a keg be cheaper? I hope for his sake and everyone else's his bet is correct.

Anonymous said...

Love your humor but I "hate" the hood canal drive (been doin it since I was 9 years old and believe me that was a long time ago, didn't like it then-still don't) I have to travel tonight to the other side how do I get info re availability on the twilight ferry? I haven't seen that option on ferry reservation options.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

I'd call 1-877-595-4222 about that. I'm sure the operators are pretty busy with "When will we open?" questions but it's your best bet.

mikijoyous said...

I'm buying champagne. I wish I could share it with my fellow commuters on what may possibly be our last pov - bus - ferry - bus - pov commute. At any rate, everyone involved will be toasted (myself, probably in more ways than one). Thanks to EVERYONE for their comments and sharing. Peace on earth and good will to All!

Anonymous said...

20 cases of beer has a better dispersal rate in the rare event of worker over-enthuiasm. Good luck on the 20 openings, which to me is a better countdown than ticks on a clock. Great Blog good luck and thanks.

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping all 20 tests go REALLY well and my family can celebrate my husband's birthday on Saturday in Port Townsend like he wants to. Thanks to the crew for all the hard work.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Ah Port Townsend. Great place to spend a birthday, or practically any day for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Great updates and great work by our hard working crew. We should all remember that the bridge is opening ahead of schedule regardless of which day it will happen this week!!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to post this again even though it is already posted but it says it all! Shut your wining and thank the workers for their great effort to have the bridge open 2 weeks ahead of schedule! ... I wish everybody would read the full details on the update blogs because they do tell you what is needed to know. The workers cannot tell you when exactly the bridge will re-open because, like building a house - there are several hurtles to go thru and inspections must pass before you can turn on home electricity or water so it is with the bridge, all the electrical inspections must be correctly done and passed so that when they do the 20 drawspan openings - nothing happens like an electrical malfunction or fire or...

These people are working as fast as they can! If they said that the bridge was opening to the public at blankity blank day and hour and then something happened that delayed this opening there would probably be a riot or protest or something. So please be patient and let the workers do their job! Don't get mad when something doesn't go your way! I figure that if the bridge is opened at the scheduled seremony date that they did great! I just hope that all goes well for them when they do the 20 drawspan openings! schedules can change without notice so quit your whining, crying, yelling and buck it up untill it opens! you have gotten around since may 1 with it being closed and were under the imprssion that the bridge would be completed by june 11. We are way ahead of that date so shut up!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that the DOT and all the workers ROCK! They have worked their butts off to get this finished ahead of schedule. I know there is a fat bonus involved, but it is well deserved. Good job!!!! Oh, and thanks for keeping us safe.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Bonus? That's news to me. Maybe all this working in beautiful Port Gamble replaced extra monetary compensation -- not a bad deal, really.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you, I get a kick out of reading all these blogs. Hats off to the person taking care of all of them. I (like everyone else) have been following this closely. Although we are cut off the short cut to the mainland I have enjoyed this with my children. I was in the 4th grade when the bridge blew down and we had to survive for 2 years. We made the best of it then and we are making the best of it now. Back then my parents would take our horses down to Southpoint and we would ride with our friends that were waiting for the ferry on Sunday afternoons. So this time with the foot ferry and bus I took my 8 & 3 year old girls and rode the ferry & buses just for the fun of it. So I hope everyone has tried to make the best of it! I am hoping it opens soon like others as we need to get our 32' travel trailer from the RV park in Poulsbo!

Anonymous said...

Great work by all involved on the long awaited bridge update. Thank you looks like I will get to be at my grand childs birthday bash tomorrow, too long a commute for an old guy. Have they completed any tests yet? Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for a wonderful job! I figure that if the openings started at 11 am and take aprox 8 to 10 hours (IF THE OPENINGS DON"T FAIL AND RECOUNTING HAPPENS)then I don't forsee the bridge opening before 9pm tonight. What a great job you have all done! My hats off to all the workers! My condolences for you Irwin for having to put up with all those winy crybabies that yelled about the postings not being to their liking! You could only post what you knew and were told! You did an excellent job and informed us very well! You all need a great big WELL DONE!

Anonymous said...

Is there a chance the bridge will be open tonight? I know it nice for some of you to have this done early but I can't imagine you are staying in a hotel waiting like some of us. So opening early is great but when is equally important.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Don't worry about the verbal abuse, etc. I'll be fine (sniff), really. I think it was in my job description (I knew I should have read the fine print).

It's understandable, people are frustrated and need to vent a bit. We're here to listen to your concerns, provide information, dispell rumors, and if necessary, fall on a few verbal swords.

Anonymous said...

Im sure kiewitt would love to have an additional five or six hundred thousand dollar bonus, you can bet they are doing what they can to get it done...

Anonymous said...

Sarah, sarah, sarah (that would be the 9:30 Sarah)...if you read the blog you would notice that the ribbon cutting ceremony will be at Salisbury Park (not the east or west bound lanes).

Regardless of who the governor is - the ceremony is a well deserved recognition of the hard and skilled work that WSDOT and their contractors have completed in a remarkably short time. I too ride the buses and boats and buses and boats and buses. I'll be ready too. But as someone said earlier - make a safe bridge, do it safely - and we'll be happy to drive over it as soon as we can.

Thanks to all involved.

mikijoyous said...

Woo Hoo! Bridge cam on! OK, OK, back to work. I promise to only check every half hour. Can someone stand there like the girls at boxing matches with a sign with a number on it letting us know which opening vice round we're on? I know, it's unreasonable but would be fun. Good luck and thanks to all. Mission first, people always!

Raven Lunatic said...

I must say, I'm impressed at a construction project running Ahead of schedule.

John in PT said...

not trying to be negative, and I appreciate the hard work so far. I don't even have a real stake in an early opening, but reading the blog has given me a real sense of drama.....and....it's almost 2:00 and based on the webcam it doesn't look like they've started the testing. Sigh.

Sarah "at 9:30" said...

anonymous at 1:32, actually i didnt think i said anything about a ribbon cutting ceremony being in the east or west bound lanes of the bridge..just that gregoire wanted to be the first across the bridge. which, thankfully, irwinj dispelled. i too would like a safe bridge and would like to personally thank all the crews who have worked so hard to complete this task..it would just be so unfortunate (not to mention bad PR) to have to wait for the governor! well enough with the banter back and forth, THANKS GUYS FOR ALL THE HARD WORK AND UPDATES!!

Wildernest said...

Is is possible for WSDOT to reimburse me for the car wash my vehicle will need after leaving it in the PG lot for the last month?

Thanks for all your hard work and good communication.

Anonymous said...

It's opening (the draw span that is)!

Scott said...

Out of curiosity, how long does it take for the new drawspan to open? Is it any faster than the old one?

Anonymous said...

we are so lucky to live where we do, and have all the things we are blessed with...like cars...and roads...and the good fortune to be able to go where we want. we live in a very 'right-now' society and think we have a right to have everything made easy for us. i personally would much rather have them take the full amount of time to be sure the bridge is safe than have them rush through this project! let's just be grateful that we can afford to travel, even if it is just 'over the bridge' rather than sigh about not getting our way because we want it right now.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

We started testing at 2 p.m. The draw span takes about the same time to open as it did before but they have to review the stats on each run, evaluate them and make sure everything runs perfectly.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

As for having someone strut the number across the bridge to let everyone know where we are in the cycle like mikijoyous suggested, I guess I could do that.

Now where did I leave my high heels and bikini? While I'm dressed down, I might as well wash this guy's car.

Joe

Anonymous said...

Wildernest

Nope! That's on your nickel. Just Funnin you and I have no connection what so ever w/WSDOT or the Contractors.

John in PT said...

Steve's car hasn't been washed in two years!

Anonymous said...

I'd pay money to see that!

Anonymous said...

where is the car wash? my truck is dirty as its been on vacation to long

Anonymous said...

Even though we are anxious to be able to drive the bridge, we are grateful for the excellent work and meaningful communication. We have mixed feeling about not seeing those "cute"tugs pushing and pulling barges to & from the bridge.

mikijoyous said...

IrwinJ, you crack me off! Thanks for the levity! I have to admit, it's hard to stay away from looking at those five minute bridge camera updates. Still no guy in a bikini with a sign... Oh, he's probably washing Mr. Wildernest's car. Yes, that has been one dusty park and ride!
All things considered, all involved (we, the commuters as well): For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to say thanks for a job well done. I do have a question on if the winds reach a certain point will the bridge open as it has before?

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Sorry only one washing per bridge replacement project. Meanwhile, the cycles continue...

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much to everyone involved with this project. Iam in awh at how all has come together so well. I so appreciate the updates and pic's. The bus drivers, ferry personnel etc. have been extremely helpful and friendly, making what could have been a very trying time a rather pleasent expierence.
Now lets hope the 20 go well and we can once agin have our bridge back.

Anonymous said...

Got some mixed feelings. I've been partying it up in Seattle for a month. When the bridge opens my wife will expect me to come home everyday. NOT looking forward to restarting that ferry commute again.

Anonymous said...

any idea how many consecutive openings have passed, if any? or have none passed yet?

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....

armyferret said...

hmmmm if you're willing to do the bikini strut, joe, would love to see it - thanks for all the hard work and continued sense of humour - us "self important" jefferson county types apparently need more humour, as we have been stuck in hippie hell way too long! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Is it soup yet?

RobJob said...

I've seen the bridge open 3 times is all. Not sure how many I'll actually see.

Anonymous said...

According to the WSDOT update, the bridge will open within a couple of hours after 20 successful tests. Everyone be patient and I'm sure J Irwin will continue to update us on their progress. "Patience is a virtue"!!

mikijoyous said...

OK, I'm out of here. Been great watching the bridge. It's been great reading all of my fellow bloggers' comments. May the road rise up to meet you all... or may the bridge close up to transport you all as the case may be. I'll check back when home... um, a couple to few hours from now (no complaint, just fact).

Anonymous said...

wooohoooo! gotta love math and those who know how to implement it. Great job, looks great, Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Just got a call and my twilight ferry reservation just got canceled for tomorrow night...seems they anticipate it not to be necessary...hmmm.

Anonymous said...

How many times has it been opened so far??

Anonymous said...

So if the testing is in progress now, how long till they complete this task and evaluate the results
( if all goes well)?

Anonymous said...

Any chance you'll be posting an update letting us know the progress of the drawspan testing? I called the ferry last night to make reservations for tonight's PT-Edmonds run and was informed that if the bridge re-opens (i.e. if the tests are successful) then, without notice, the ferry will not be coming to Port Townsend to get us and we'll be expected to take the bridge. Problem is, if we wait to see what happens and don't leave PT until 11 p.m. we will likely miss the ferry to Seattle and have to wait until morning.

Anyhow, all that to say that periodic updates as to how the testing is going would be fabulous.

Thanks much!

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments on here, I don't think people understand all the hardwork that Kiewit-General has done. Not only are they exceeding the weather days that they were given, but they are able to complete the bridge ahead of schedule. WSDOT has gone above and beyond to EXPLAIN the process to all for how the bridge closure will work, and I personally think 6 weeks of inconvience is far better than say 3 years, that Kiewit-General has been working on the bridge offsite. Congrats to Kiewit-General!!!

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Hey all,

The update is in our latest posting, see above. I believe we're on six or seven...

Anonymous said...

Having worked in "the media" (okay, just a bunch of newspapers) over the years, I had come to dread any sort of official comment by public entities, as it was destined to be at least as dull and rambling as this sentence I've just written.

The IrwinJ team is, however, fabulous. Great information delivered with a great sense of humor.

Thanks for dropping out of Calculus!

Wildernest said...

John in PT is right I just washed my car today in Poulsbo today for the first time in 2 years! I had too many requests from wsdot bloggers to wash it for me I had to do it myself, to hard to choose!

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

This is Becky Hixson, reporting in again on a few items (expect for the way I dress...I never did like bikinis). So here comes some important news:

Opening Speed - While we always promised the bridge would be more reliable, we never promised faster...but it is fast. From time started, in and out can take less than four minutes. The reason marine openings take longer is so vessel can safely line up in the channel correctly prior to going through the bridge.

Weather limitations - We will still have to close the bridge to traffic and open the draw span if there are winds of 35 mph or more for 15 minutes or more. This draw span is tough but Mother Nature rules.

Opening Time - After reading all your comments since Sunday, I think we have achieved the promised to provide info at least three days ahead, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Thank you the report irwinj. It is so nice to hear what is going on. The report was fun and informative. Impressive! Real time information. Huge job. Thanks to all involved.

saxidomus said...

I've written before but somehow it didn't get in. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project for the wonderful work they have done. I have watched the progress from a vantage point 2 miles north of the bridge and have taken many pictures of the tugs, barges, barge cranes, and bridge components moving or being moved according to a precise, complicated plan. Amazing work. Now at 11:28 pm on Wed., June 3, cars are again moving across the bridge.
Hooray. Great work! And many thanks!
Saxidomus