Manette Bridge waterline bases end earlier than I would have thought

IMGP2293The in basket: I joined Sun reporter Josh Farley in his recent walking tour of the part of Bremerton’s Washington Avenue that will be reduced to one lane in each direction this summer.

The tide was low, I noted as I looked out over the Port Washington Narrows, and I was surprised to see that the wide bases of the columns that support the new Manette Bridge ended before they reached the water line at that tide level. I would have thought they went all the way to the bottom. Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin, also on the walking tour, guessed that the  wide bases protected the piers from boat traffic.

I asked state officials if that was right.

The out basket: No, said Claudia Bingham Baker of the state’s Olympic Region. the wide bases “are designed to distribute the bridge load onto the bridge shafts. They are structural members of the bridge and not a fender-type protection system from errant boats.”

She put me in touch with Chris Keegan, the region’s top bridge engineer, who said that below the wide bases are concrete shafts drilled deep into the bottom of the Port Washington Narrows. The wide bases are the transition structures between those shafts and the above-water pillars on which the bridge deck sits.

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