Narrows Bridge Observers Seeking More Information

The in basket: Larry Benson of Port Orchard writes, “Watching the construction of the Narrows bridge has been fascinating, to say the least, but the casual observer, unfortunately, sees only a small amount of the designing, engineering, building, etc. I hope that the state has commissioned someone to put together a documentary of some sort that will be available when construction is complete.”
Cathy Vandersluis had a bridge question, too. “Do you know who to contact for employment with the Tacoma Narrows bridge toll booths?” she asked.


The in basket: Larry Benson of Port Orchard writes, “Watching the construction of the Narrows bridge has been fascinating, to say the least, but the casual observer, unfortunately, sees only a small amount of the designing, engineering, building, etc. I hope that the state has commissioned someone to put together a documentary of some sort that will be available when construction is complete.”
Cathy Vandersluis had a bridge question, too. “Do you know who to contact for employment with the Tacoma Narrows bridge toll booths?” she asked.
The out basket: Claudia Cornish, spokeswoman for the bridge project, says, the state won’t create its own documentary, “but we are working with National Geographic on a documentary about all three Narrows bridges. In addition, two books will be published – one this fall by WSU Press about the history of the Narrows crossings, and a second in 2007 by the Tacoma News Tribune focused on the construction of the new bridge. ”
Animated depictions of the various phases of building the new bridge, such as the spinning of the main cables and setting of the caissons, can be seen on line by going to http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr16narrowsbridge/, then click on Photo Album and then on Animated Files.
Each one takes quite a while to download. I downloaded the one on assembly of the bridge deck, coming up this summer. It’s a bit oversimplified, but quite intricate at other times, such as in showing how the big gantry cranes that will lift the deck sections into place will be moved along the main bridge cables without damaging the clamps that hold the suspender cables in place.
I had to think for a bit about Claudia’s reference to “all three Narrows bridges” before I realized she was including “Galloping Gertie,” the predecessor to the existing bridge that was destroyed by the Narrows’ high winds in the 1940s.
I was surprised to learn from her that the underwater caissons from that bridge, the anchorages at each end and the first few hundred feet of trusses on the Gig Harbor side all were part of the existing bridge when it opened in 1950.
TransCore, a private contractor, has been hired to collect the tolls but hasn’t begun taking applications yet, Claudia said. Information on how to apply should appear on the bridge Web site listed above around the first of the year, she said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

(Not a trick question) What color is the pink house?