The Hood Canal Bridge will be closed overnight beginning Saturday, March 18, while the internal mechanics of its draw span are rebuilt and replaced.
The initial overnight closures between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. start Saturday and continue each night through Saturday, March 25.
The overall project, which will be completed this fall, requires up to 12 long-term overnight closures between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and a maximum of 20 short-term closures of up to an hour each between midnight and 4 a.m., according to Cara Mitchell, state Department of Transportation spokesman.
“We intend on giving people as much notice as humanly possible,” she said.
Additional periodic closures will be announced as dates are scheduled, she said. Mitchell said people who subscribe to updates on the bridge will receive notifications and suggested people check the project webpage or the DOT’s Hood Canal Bridge area webpage at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ traffic/hoodcanal.
An overnight work schedule was selected in order to minimize traffic impacts, Mitchell said.
Marine vessels might be affected as well. While bridge operators will be able to open the draw span up to 300 feet, there will be times during the project when they will not be able to open it to its maximum 600 feet.
The construction will not prevent marine traffic closures during the day.
Transportation awarded the $5.2 million project to Northbank Civil and Marine Inc. in October.
This weekend, contractor crews working on the Hood Canal Bridge-Special Repair project will begin the task of rehabilitating the structural, electrical, mechanical and hydraulics systems of the longest floating bridge over saltwater in the world, according to a DOT press release.
Crews will replace or rebuild the mechanical devices that open and close the bridge, replace the hydraulic hoses and fluid and adjust the wheels that allow portions of the bridge to move.
Mitchell said that while this project has been planned for a few years, this sort of maintenance has not been done on the bridge.
While nothing is broken, she said parts are getting worn out.
“This is a way to keep the structure in a state of good repair so it can continue to operate as it needs,” she said.
The work will initially be measuring the parts so replacements can be made, she said.
“You can’t order these in,” she said.
The maintenance will help prevent breaks and malfunctions in the bridge’s mechanisms, which can multiply if not prevented or addressed early.
“The Hood Canal Bridge is a lifeline for thousands of residents and motorists,” John Wynands, Olympic Region administrator, said in the press release.
“We know closures are disruptive and we ask for the public’s patience. Maintaining the structure and its mechanical components in a state of good repair is critical to ensuring its continued operation.”
Drivers can receive up-to-date Hood Canal Bridge information through DOT emails, Twitter or text messages.
To subscribe to receive text messages, send a text message to 468311 with the words: wsdot hood. To unsubscribe, send a text message to the same number with the words: wsdot stop.