Commuters, vacationers and the entire Olympic Peninsula will be affected by the 12:01 a.m. May 1 closing of the Highway 104 Hood Canal bridge for six weeks.
The Washington State Department of Transportation will replace the east half and east and west trusses of the bridge. The bridge's retrofit and replacement is now 91-percent complete.
The bridge's construction will widen it and update mechanical systems, making it more reliable over the coming years.
The scheduled six-week closure could take less time with eight days of incentives at $75,000 a day for contrac-
tor Kiewit General, that has a
history of completing projects sooner than projected.
However, the bridge's closure, regardless of time, will halt traffic between the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas.
WSDOT is recommending people call 877-595-4222 or visit www.HoodCanalBridge.com for travel options. The Web site features videos on how to get around, transit and ferry schedules and an interactive online map to plan trips to and from the peninsula.
Disabled American Veterans
Veterans who receive medical care at the Seattle Veterans Medical Center will continue to receive transportation from Clallam County to and from the Seattle medical center during the bridge closure.
An agreement has been reached with the Dungeness/Olympic Lines to provide round-trip service from
Tarcisio's Restaurant, 609 W. Washington St., Sequim, to the Seattle facility.
For those who are eligible, Veterans Affairs will pay for the cost of the trip. This service will use Olympic Lines' regularly scheduled buses running between Port Angeles and Seattle.
The bus will leave Sequim at 6:25 a.m. daily and arrive in Seattle at 10:40 a.m. The return trip will leave Seattle at 1:20 p.m. and arrive in Sequim at 5:45 p.m.
Veterans should schedule their appointments between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. unless they plan to stay overnight in Seattle. For those considering staying overnight, a second bus will leave Tarcisio's at 12:55 p.m. and arrive at the facility at 4:50 p.m.
Veterans wishing to use this service must call a veterans transportation coordinator. Appointments can made for May 7-9, 23-25 and June 6-7.
For eastern Clallam County, contact David Perrin at 457-5251, and for western Jefferson and Clallam counties, contact Terry Domning at 990-7654, at least 72 hours before your appointment.
Olympic Lines accepts reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. The coordinators also can arrange for the local Disabled American Veterans' van to provide transportation to and from Tarcisio's Restaurant.
Kenmore Air will provide daily scheduled seaplane service from Seattle to Port Hadlock and Port Ludlow. Their seaplanes will make three round-trip flights every day from Lake Union in downtown Seattle, 950 Westlake Ave. The flights will take 20-35 minutes each way. Fare for the service will be $79 each way to or from either of the destinations.
The service to Port Ludlow and Port Hadlock will use seaplane docks at the Resort in Port Ludlow, 1 Heron Road, and the Inn at Port Hadlock, 310 Hadlock Bay Road.
Rocket Transportation of Sequim will provide van service from Port Hadlock to Port Townsend coinciding with flight times. Fare for the van transfer will be $5 each way, per person.
This service will be expanded to eight round-trip flights daily on weekdays and six or seven round-trip flights daily on weekends during the closure.
Flight times and bookings are available online at www.kenmoreair.com or by calling 866-435-9524.
Other flight options are available from Rite Bros. Aviation out of Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles. Call 800-430-7483 or go on the Web to www.
The Washington State Highway Patrol has ramped up patrols in high traffic areas during the bridge closure.
"Extra enforcement patrols will be in place throughout the closure," said Lt. Clint Casebolt of the Washington State Patrol.
"If the State Patrol begins receiving reports of aggressive or reckless driving, there is a good chance a trooper will be in the area and you will be stopped and ticketed."
Patrolmen ask that motorists call 9-1-1 and report any reckless behavior.
Collisions resulting in serious injury or fatality require lengthy investigations and will make commute time longer. If involved in a fender bender, they ask that you safely remove your vehicle from the roadway.
"Our goal is to see zero fatalities or serious injury collisions during this time period as well as keeping traffic flowing smoothly," Casebolt said.
No Bridge -
The No Bridge-No Problem campaign is educating visitors and locals on ways to travel around the peninsula and helping them receive coupons that encourage shopping locally.
Started by the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission, a collaboration of Peninsula chambers of commerce, the campaign has advertised in Seattle and along the I-5 corridor.
Coupons from mostly tourist-based businesses are available at the Web site www.nobridgenoproblem.
Sequim, Port Angeles and Port Townsend are a few of the cities with coupons available.
Vickie Maples, director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the project has been a success in involving people in local events like the Irrigation Festival and networking individuals and businesses to work together.
The campaign still is accepting coupons through the bridge's closure. It is free to businesses and only requires basic information about the deal on the coupon. Business owners can e-mail Web site coordinator Pat McCauley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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