Odds and ends about Hood Canal bridge

The in basket: Jim Hollenback e-mailed to say, “Been meaning to write for a while. During the re-opening ceremonies for the Hood Canal bridge, it was mentioned that Washington state has four floating bridges. I can only think of three, I-90, SR520 and SR104. What is the fourth one?”

While I was asking state officials Jim’s question, I added a few of my own. The new bridge has a two sections of metal grating roadway near its center, separated by a fairly lengthy stretch of concrete driving surface. And it has two control towers, one on each side of where it opens for boat traffic. I couldn’t recall whether the old bridge had two towers. I asked why two are needed and the reason for the grated surface.

Lastly, I asked about a row of yellow floats shaped like oil drums, but much larger, that stretch across Hood Canal a good distance north of the bridge, wondering if they are permanent or somehow related to the bridge job.

The out basket: Becky Hixson and Joe Irwin of the bridge public relations staff provided the answers.

As I suspected, the I-90 bridge comprises two of the four floating bridges, named the Lacey Murrow and Homer Hadley floating bridges. The other two are the 520 bridge further north in Lake Washington and, of course, the one across Hood Canal. 

The grated section of the new Hood Canal bridge make those sections lighter in weight so they can be lifted to allow the intervening concrete sections to retract beneath them, opening the center span. The old bridge did have two control towers. Both are needed, says Joe, because “crews must be able to operate the bridge from either side during storm conditions.”

Lastly, he said, the row of floats are spring buoys “that support an anchor line for one of the derrick barges still working at the bridge site and prevents it from coming into contact with, or damaging a power cable that runs along the floor of the canal.” 

The floats will be removed when all work on the bridge is complete, he said.

One thought on “Odds and ends about Hood Canal bridge

  1. Some people remember fishing and crabbing from the Hood Canal Bridge fishing pontoon. The new and improved bridge does not allow public fishing access.

    Joe six-pack and the kids paid into the system by purchasing fishing licenses for years and now the welcome mat has been taken up because…why? Could it be security?

    Thousands of cars cross the bridge daily. When the bridge opens, the cars aren’t even required to wait on land. Cars are parked on the bridge for the 30 minutes or so that the bridge stays open- people get out and wonder around, etc. Security?

    Boaters can still navigate close to the bridge via the channel on both ends, and through the center span when it opens. Family fishing fun however, is now off limits.

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