Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Five Down, 15 to go

The first five draw span tests are complete and all five were keepers. The east control tower housed engineers, electricians and bridge maintenance staff, all watching the progress intently.

Each cycle brings its own excitement - Lights on, roadway gates down, barrier gates down, center locks up, end locks up, all three lift spans up, draw span engines start, gears move, draw span starts going back (slowly at first and then more quickly), roller guides rumble, control tower floor vibrates, draw span slows and stops, then it all happens again in reverse until one cycle is complete.

Although you can't feel the control tower floor vibrate from your house, you can watch the work on our bridge traffic camera.

The tests are expected to take anywhere from 8-10 hours, but this timeframe is wholly dependent on how things go. If test No. 7, or 12 or 19 raises serious concerns or fails, we're back at square one. Stay tuned!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

5 of 20...Go, baby, go!

Anonymous said...

Crossed fingers and cheers to the crew who have gotten the bridge this far this fast...wow.. incredible!!

Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo!!! Thanks for the updates Joe! (And thanks for no walk of shame in the bikini to chronicle this)

Anonymous said...

WOW 5 down... how long does 1 take? I guess this will be an all night deal eh?
I think they are doing an awsome job & the cam helps...
*still looking for bikini dude tho*

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

Would you believe I left my bikini in my other summer satchel? Me neither.

In other (more important news. Much more important), we're about 1/4 way through the tests.

Adrian's Mommy said...

MAN, and i've been watching the camera for 3 hours looking for the dude in the bikini... take all our fun away! :-)

Anonymous said...

How long does each initial "opening" take? It's so interesting to watch. Can anyone explain how it works too? It looks like it's lifting up!

Anonymous said...

Wow - so, does that thing separate and then one piece slide up (or below) the other piece? I can now get a sense of how many "moving pieces" shall we say, are involved.
Still miss seeing Bikini Joe, though (and will miss your great, informative and humorous blog, hopefully starting tomorrow...).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the updates. It would be great if someone could take a higher-quality video of a complete cycle of the drawspan opening and closing during the testing and then post it on the site. It might help people appreciate all the moving parts that have to work correctly. I've also had lots of visitors ask about the old bridge: "How does this thing open?" It would be nice to be able to show them a video.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

What you're seeing is the lift spans in action. When they're down, they serve as the roadway.

When the bridge is opening, hydraulics lift three, 100-foot (aptly named) lift spans on the east and west draw span assemblies, and the draw span pontoons retract underneath them.

This creates a 600-foot channel for boats to pass through. I saw it up close and personal yesterday, it's really cool.

Anonymous said...

if all goes well? would that have the bridge opened by 3am.or so?
maybe for my husband to drive his 5am. commute? he needs to go back to work!!starting to drive me a little bit crazy.

Anonymous said...

I think my heart may stop!! I cannot wait!!!