#1. SR-104, Hood Canal Bridge retrofit and east-half replacement
Cost:$204 million (original contract)
SR-104, Mile Post 13.9-14.7 across the Hood Canal
Start of construction:
Aug. 11, 2003
Washington State Department of Transportation
The state Route 104 Hood Canal Bridge retrofit and east-half replacement project will overhaul the deteriorating eastern portion of the 1.5-mile floating bridge, which is a critical connection between the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.
In order to replace the eastern half of the bridge, General Construction Co./Kiewit Pacific Co. are collaborating to construct 14 new floating concrete pontoons that the roadway will be built on top of.
Three additional, existing spare pontoons are being reconstructed and used in the bridge replacement. Three-inch cables will anchor the pontoons in place in water that ranges between 80 to 340 feet deep. Anchors holding the bridge in place weigh 685 to 1,875 tons each.
The Hood Canal Bridge, constructed in 1961, was the second floating bridge built in the state. It is the longest floating bridge across saltwater. The harsh saltwater environment creates special demands on the structure, requiring it to withstand tidal variations of up to 15.5 feet.
Pontoons are undergoing construction at a graving dock in Port Angeles and will be floated to the bridge location. A large, in-ground graving facility for building the pontoons and anchors was constructed. The lower floor of the graving facility reaches 60 feet deep to accommodate the enormous pontoons.
Due to the off-site construction of the pontoons, the bridge will remain open for the majority of the construction period, except for an eight-week stretch.
Funding for the bridge does not provide for expansion with additional lanes, it only allows for replacing the existing bridge. Replacing the bridge is more cost effective than trying to repair the weakened structure, taking into consideration the additional cost that would be required to increase capacity.
However, the new east half of the bridge will be wider and have 8-foot shoulders running the entire length. Wider shoulders will support bridge maintenance efforts, reduce impact from vehicle breakdowns, and provide safer travel for bicycles and pedestrians.
The western half of the bridge was rebuilt in 1982, after it sank in a severe storm. Along with the present Hood Canal retrofit and east-half replacement project, the west side of the bridge will get new approach spans and new transition truss spans.
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