A Bridge to the Past

The Manette Bridge went up a year after the Great Depression started, saw Bremerton through World War II and later the demise of downtown. It’s no longer considered safe, something anyone on a bike are a bus has been saying for years, but something even those in Geo Metros like mine have reason to believe.

Sunday’s story relates a flier that’s been passed around the Manette business district, if not elsewhere, opining that the bridge need not be demolished. It makes a mistake in counting the mayor as a supporter of the cause. He said he may have thought briefly how nice it would be to have little shops on the bridge once the new one went up, but agreed quickly with state officials that such an idea was again unsafe.

Other points are valid. The bridge is strong enough to hold more than the traffic it gets today. In theory it could be retrofitted to make it earthquake safe. But state officials say even then the bridge would again be unsafe, and when repairs are made they’re designed to last 75 years.

And then there are crazy people like Kitsap Sun Editorial Page Editor Jim Campbell who occasionally likes to ride his bike across the bridge. You ever play that game of Russian Roulette?

12 thoughts on “A Bridge to the Past

  1. I am not sure that providing a mouthpiece to an anonymous group of people whose profound lack of wisdom becomes evident the further you read the article serves the public interest. Just a thought…

  2. Don,

    I posted the note here. It seemed a more appropriate place. Good thought.

    Here’s the rationale for running the story. First note that there are often times I agree with your point. We will get arguments from people that don’t merit coverage.

    That established, at first I don’t eliminate any argument. So I’ll at least check into it. As I continued to check on this one all I found was arguments against it, except for one that seemed to be more of an emotional response.

    So, oftentimes I will choose to ignore a story even then. The problem here is that the flier did get wide-enough distribution and had enough people talking that to me it warranted coverage.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone continues support for saving the bridge in the near future. At least we’ve laid the groundwork early on. I only wish I could have found the flier’s authors.

    Thanks for your thought.


  3. Steve,

    I buy your argument – up to a point. The flier’s authors have to come public to cover this further. Otherwise they lack credibility.
    I appreciate that you took the time to lay out the rationale you used – we can disagree over it but I give you great credit for taking the time and effort. Enjoy your articles and the blog a lot, btw.


  4. Sometimes, keeping an old bridge is a good thing to do — as my old hometown did.

    But, if your article is correct, the earthquake hazard makes it a bad thing for Bremerton to do. It wouldn’t make much sense to build a new bridge alongside the old one and have it be damaged by the collapsing old bridge during the first big temblor that comes along.

  5. Here’s a modest proposal:
    Tear down the Manette Bridge and DON’T replace it. If people want to get to the other side, let them take the Warren Avenue bridge. Or, we could take a page from the past and ferry commuters across the Pt Washington Narrows…that is how Manette got its name in the first place. It was the name of the ferry! You think Manette is a desirable place to live now, think how much more people will be willing to pay to live here when we are so exclusive you have to take a boat (or roundabout route) to get here! Just a thought….

  6. The bridge is and does have history. For many of us old timers it was the ONLY way to Manette, Ilahee, THE BAINBRIDGE ferry and it has stories…earthquakes…the Bremerton Sun reported that a gasoline truck driver was still wiping his BROWN two hours after crossing the bridge during a quake…a driving instructor hit both sides going home after a few too many. FROM HERE, you save it.

  7. The Manette bridge could be closed to vehicle traffic and limited to foot, wheelchair and bicycle travel.
    As someone else mentioned, the vehicle traffic can take the Warren Avenue Bridge.

  8. If the bridge is not earthquake safe, why in the world would you want it as a pedestrian bridge? It’s a great looking bridge, I’ll grant you. I far prefer it aesthetically to the Warren Ave. Bridge. But keeping the bridge as is, turning it into a pedestrian-only bridge and then forcing all Manette traffic to go over the Warren Ave. Bridge is just silly. Traffic is bad enough on that bridge as it is. If it can be kept as a pedestrian bridge, AND made earthquake safe at least for that kind of load, fantastic. I’m more than happy to pay taxes for something like that. But if not, then so be it.

  9. Naturally, bridge safety is uppermost.
    It seems that making the bridge earthquake safe for lightweight pedestrian and bike traffic would be easier and cheaper than making it safe for the extra load of vehicle traffic. Someone correct me if I am mistaken.

    I can visualize Bremerton without the roar and stink of engines taking acres for parking and can ‘see’ walking and biking paths throughout Bremerton and Manette.
    Bremerton could become a destination place to shop for unusual items not found in shopping centers and folks would clamber to spend a day or weekend… even vacation there.

    I could live in or visit often, such a Bremerton.

  10. As I understand it, the seismic safety of the bridge really doesn’t have anything to do with it’s load bearing capability. But even if it is cheaper, you’re still going to have to convince people that they need to be taxed to have that bridge kept. I’m with you, I like the idea. But I don’t see it as mandatory.

  11. Maybe we could build a foot and bike bridge if repairing the current bridge is not feasible.
    A foot and bicycle ferry crossing engineered to operate by rope, cable, and pulled by mules and horses might work too.

  12. “… The city also has suggested that instead of sidewalks on either side of the bridge, a single, wider sidewalk for pedestrians and bicycles could be developed on one side of the bridge.

    The state isn’t inclined to go along with that request, which would have required creation of a pedestrian tunnel under the east-side entrance to the bridge to give walkers a safe way to cross traffic.
    Why do we keep thinking underground? Why not build a pedestrian, bicycle bridge OVER the traffic?
    Too, if the state pays for the basic bridge, citizens desiring a more elaborate ‘look’ could start a fund to pay, or partially pay for the extra ‘frosting’.
    And, again, I wonder why not a simple walking, biking bridge across to Mannette?

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