Monthly Archives: July 2012

Had Galloping Gertie kept standing, it’d be nowhere near as famous as it is today. The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, completed in 1940, blew down four months after it opened and immortalizes engineering gone wrong. It became a powerful symbol of the importance of aerodynamics, its short life forever changing how engineers design bridges.

It will be recognized again Aug. 11 by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Members will remember that fateful day — Nov. 7 — and the significant effect the failure of the bridge had on advancing the science of suspension bridge design. The event will be 1:30 p.m. at Living Memorial Park, 7201 Sixth Ave. Attendees will include the Pierce County executive, Tacoma mayor, ASCE international president, ASCE national history and heritage committee member, a Narrows bridge historian, 2007 Narrows Bridge design engineer and WSDOT officials.

The ceremony will occur at an overlook inside the park that will be the site of a  memorial to be built by ASCE commemorating the landmark designation for the 1940 and 1950 Tacoma Narrows bridges.


State getting out of motorcycle-testing biz

A press release arrived today saying that starting Aug. 1,  motorcycle riders seeking an endorsement to legally ride in Washington state will begin taking motorcycle knowledge and skills tests at approved motorcycle training schools instead of Department of Licensing offices.

“This will give our customers easier access to motorcycle testing in more areas in the state, and will free up some of our staff to serve other customers who must come into an office,” said Alan Haight, DOL director.  “We already have the infrastructure in place with motorcycle training schools since we contract with them to conduct training courses, so we expect the transition to be very easy and seamless for our customers.”

DOL will still test riders who have previously scheduled appointments.

After passing the tests, customers will go to a licensing office to obtain their motorcycle endorsement.  The cost of a motorcycle endorsement will remain at $25; however motorcycle training schools will set the fee they charge for the tests.

This move is the first phase of implementing House Bill 1635, which gives the department authority to contract with private drive training schools, school districts and motorcycle training schools to conduct some knowledge and skills tests. The bill was passed in an effort to reduce wait times in licensing service offices.

The only state-approved motorcycle training schools in Kitsap Pacific NorthWest Motorcycle Safety, 19689 7th Ave NE, in Poulsbo. Call (360) 779-6378, email or Navy and Coast Guard personnel can go to N35 Safety Dept. Bldg. 95, 1610 Dowell St., at Keyport. Call Chop Llamzon at (360) 315-5430 or Mike Hoyt at (360) 396-4166.



Betcha can’t guess who won “under budget” transportation award

For all the criticism about how expensive it was to build Washington State Ferries three new 64-car ferries, at least they came in under budget. And for that, the project that produced the Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick won an America’s Transportation Award in the “Under Budget” category for the Western Region, it was announced today.

The competition, in its fifth year, is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It recognizes projects in the categories of Ahead of Schedule (small and large, Under Budget and Best Use of Innovation. Thirteen transportation projects from 10 western states were nominated. Seven won awards.

Washington State Department of Transportation won for the 64-car ferries, which came in nearly $7 million less than the $213 million budget.

WSF, according to contest information, saved time and money by buying an existing ferry design and modifying it to meet local requirements, utilizing on-site inspectors to review work and resolve issues as soon as they arose, allowing the contractor flexibility to reduce costs by finding the least expensive materials, and coordinating stakeholder communications and team-building sessions.