The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Islanders hear impacts to come from bridge work


Courtesy of WSDOT

Department of Transportation Engineer Joanna Lowery, standing, right, explained how WSDOT intends to replace the decking on the Puget Island Bridge.

Staff from WSDOT were surprised when around 100 people poured into Norse Hall at one time last Thursday for the drop in open house to discuss the Puget Island Bridge. They quickly made adjustments by setting up chairs, giving an impromptu presentation and having a question and answer session.

After the first rush, people came and went.

"It's too soon to tell when the project will start," Tamara Greenwell from the WSDOT Communications department said on Tuesday. "The contract for the job is scheduled to go out to bid in late May, so we are still aiming for work to begin in late summer 2017."

After gathering feedback from local employers, WSDOT has tentatively decided to close the bridge Sundays through Thursdays from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. while crews replace the deck. This portion of the project is expected to take 80 days.

WSDOT is reconsidering their decision to replace the deck with steel grate. They may use the same materials, timber and asphalt, that have been used in the past.

"We want to make sure we choose the safest option and best investment," Greenwell said.

During the overnight hours that the bridge is closed for work, the ferry will run continually. Riders will not be charged. There will be no pedestrian or bicycle access while the bridge is closed.

After the deck replacement is completed, the bridge will be painted. WSDOT will use single lane closures to keep the bridge open during this portion of the project.

Courtesy of WSDOT

The wooden planks that carry traffic show signs of repair and decay.

According the Greenwall, WSDOT has been working with local emergency services to make sure they access to the island the moment they need it.

"We received lots of questions about the osprey nest," Greenwell said. "We work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure we take the appropriate measures to address the osprey nest on the bridge. Measures that have been used on other projects include relocating the existing nest or nesting material; constructing nearby nesting locations and removing nesting material during the nesting season."

Open house attendees were given the opportunity to sign up for email alerts. Updates can be found on the project web page on WSDOT as well, according to Greenwell.


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