What’s planned for opening new Narrows Bridge?

The in basket: I recall reading some years ago about a group of people who pride themselves in being the first to cross a new bridge or other major project. I asked Claudia Cornish of the state engineering office for the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge what they expect in that regard when their bridge opens this summer.


The in basket: I recall reading some years ago about a group of people who pride themselves in being the first to cross a new bridge or other major project. I asked Claudia Cornish of the state engineering office for the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge what they expect in that regard when their bridge opens this summer.
The out basket: “After checking with folks here, I realized that
it’s premature to talk about specifics for the bridge opening,” Claudia said, “as we are still working out many details. What I can share is an informational
e-mail that was sent to legislators giving them a general idea of what
we have in mind:
‘As work on the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge enters the final stages, (the state transportation department) has begun planning for the opening celebration, which likely will occur in late July or early August,’ that e-mail said.
‘Due to the uncertainty of an exact completion date, our event plans have
centered around a modest, and appropriate opening which can be
implemented fairly quickly. Our objective is to provide people with the
opportunity to walk and experience the bridge for a day prior to the
opening of traffic, and, at the same time, honor the men and woman who
built this magnificent structure.
‘…We plan to create many opportunities for organizations, governments, elected
officials, and others to participate in multiple ribbon cuttings staged
throughout the day and at different locations on the bridge. The
celebration will culminate with a final ribbon cutting conducted by five
bridge workers who will be chosen by lottery.
‘We are currently having discussions with MultiCare to stage an early
morning 5k fun run and have had interest from car clubs regarding a
ceremonial car procession (we have learned that the first car across
both the 1940 and 1950’s bridges is still in working order and
available).
‘As you can imagine, staging what amounts to a public open house on the
bridge is an awesome undertaking. Foremost in our planning is public safety and security for all who attend the opening. We
have begun discussions with the Washington State Patrol, City of
Tacoma, Pierce County, and other organizations on our safety and
security plans, transportation and parking access, and guest services
(rest areas, water, portable toilets, etc.). In addition, we’re
coordinating with partners to weave other community activities into the
bridge celebration. For instance, the City of Gig Harbor plans to host
local festivities in the harbor, and the Washington State History Museum
will be opening a retrospective Narrows Bridges exhibit this March. In
addition, Pierce County is planning to host all-day ferry runs between
Steilacoom and the Narrows.’ ”
It sounds like the first-car-across issue may already be settled if the car that first crossed Galloping Gertie and the existing bridge is available.

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