Friday, March 27, 2009

Chartering boats, buses and planes during the closure

WSDOT is working diligently to provide travelers options when the SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge closes for approximately six weeks beginning May 1.

The water shuttle/transit service will work for many, some will use the twilight ferry between Edmonds and Port Townsend, and others will take the long way and drive around on US 101.

A number of local charter companies are working with the community to provide additional transportation.

People traveling to and from the Olympic Peninsula during the closure can take charter buses, boats and airplanes to get to their destinations. Local businesses offering charter services include:

While there are costs involved with using charter services, many of them are offering specials – directly to and from Sea-Tac for instance – to reduce the closure’s affect on travelers.

Do you plan to use the charter services being offered?

Friday, March 20, 2009

What should bicyclists and boaters expect when the bridge closes?

People who choose to get around on two wheels or by water will face some unique challenges starting May 1 when the SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge closes for six weeks.

Due to ongoing construction on the bridge during the replacement project, boaters will have to stay informed on whether bridge-related work will affect their routes. They can accomplish this several ways, including:

  • Calling the live project information line at 1-877-595-4222
  • Following construction updates at http://www.hoodcanalbridge.com/
  • Reading answers to FAQs written specifically for boaters

Bicyclists can travel across Hood Canal on the water shuttle, but are reminded that the vessels can only accommodate five bicycles per sailing. Transit buses – which must be taken between the water shuttle docks and the Port Gamble park and ride in Kitsap County, and the Gateway Visitors Center park and ride in Jefferson County – can only accommodate three bicycles per trip.

For the safety of bicyclists and drivers, the only vehicles that will be allowed direct access to the water shuttle docks include transit, approved buses and emergency service vehicles. As stated earlier, this means bicyclists won’t be allowed to bike down to water shuttle docks to catch the passenger-only boat across.

We’re reminding boaters and bicyclists that although the temporary bridge closure won’t be easy, the new bridge will feature improvements that will make their travels much easier and safer for years to come. More reliable openings will help mariners as they journey in and out of Hood Canal and wider lanes and 8-foot shoulders across the bridge will create a much safer passage for bicyclists.

What do you think about the travel options for bicyclists and boaters?

Friday, March 13, 2009

HoodCanalBridge.com is a wealth of information, but are you finding it?

Is www.HoodCanalBridge.com providing you the information you need?

One of the things the SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge Project Team strives to do is to help people prepare for the six-weeks bridge closure starting May 1.

One of the ways we do this is by making our Web site more readable and accessible. Each week, we update the site, adding new information and trying to make it more user-friendly.

Success is tough to gauge because we receive dozens of e-mail inquiries each week about the project. Many times, the answers to these questions are already posted at www.HoodCanalBridge.com in the FAQs or in the specific section that relates to the question -- like the medical transportation page for instance.

What this tells us is that either people aren't using the Web site as a resource to answer their questions, or they simply can't find what they need on the Web site.

What has your experience been at www.HoodCanalBridge.com? What question were you trying to answer, and were you able to answer it?

We'll take the information you provide and do our best to make it easier for you to find what you're looking for.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tracking the trusses

While thousands of people who rely on the SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge daily are getting ready and counting down the days until May 1, when the bridge closes for six weeks, it’s also a great idea to check in and see how construction is progressing.

Today, the first of two new trusses is being towed 352 miles from Oregon Iron Works in Vancouver, Wash. to Port Gamble near the bridge site.

The west truss, which will connect the bridge’s floating pontoons to a land-based roadway approach in Jefferson County, departed early this morning and is scheduled to arrive in Port Gamble Bay on Saturday, March 7.

You can track the truss and watch its progress by visiting www.HoodCanalBridge.com.

The east truss is scheduled to depart from Vancouver on March 20 and – weather permitting – arrive March 23.

The trusses are huge. They measure approximately 280-feet long, 70-feet wide and 40-feet tall – making it almost 100 feet longer than a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The steel trusses weigh approximately 1.4 million pounds each – outweighing four 787 Dreamliners by a whopping 150,000 pounds.

What do you think of them?