Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I've had several emails and a few comments left about the length, etc of the new Narrows Bridge.  So using the Opening Celebration flyer we received as we walked onto the new bridge Sunday, I'll answer your questions. 

Both bridges are suspension bridges.  And each are almost exactly the same length,  I think the new bridge may be a little wider than the old one, however.  

 The new bridge length overall; 5,400 feet (so just a little over a mile).  Main span (tower to tower); 2,800 feet; 60 pair of suspender hangers per side.  Side span, east side (Tacoma side); 1,200 feet; 29 pairs of suspender hangers per side.  Side span, west side (Gig Harbor, Bremerton, etc side); 1,400 feet; 34 pairs of suspender hangers per side.   Suspended roadway (deck sections, barriers, utilities); 53 million pounds, 46 deck sections, 120 by 78 feet in size (on average).  Towers (each); 510 feet tall, 8,500 cubic yards concrete, 2.9 million pounds of reinforcing steel.  Caissons (tower foundations, each)  85,00 tons, 6 million pounds of reinforcing steel,  40,500 cubic yards concrete (Tacoma side), 37, 000 cubic yards concrete (Gig Harbor side).    Anchorages (each)  81 million pounds, 20,000 cubic yards concrete, 1 million pounds of reinforcing steel.  Cable diameter (each)  20.5 inches, each cable contains 19 strands (bundles) of 464 wires, each steel wire is about a third of the diameter of a pencil, total steel wires per cable- 8,816.  Structural steel, superstructure (deck sections) 35.5 million pounds.  Structural steel, suspension system (cable wire & saddles atop towers) 12 million pounds. 

The new bridge has taken almost 5 years to build (ground breaking was October 5, 2002).  Besides, viewing it while crossing  the old bridge there were a few other locations where you could take a peek at the progress during those 5 years.   Also, there was always the bridge cam you could check, to see the progress.  Since they frequently worked around the clock, there were lights on the new bridge during the night time hours.   I do not remember of hearing of even one work related death during the construction. That's a good thing !  There may have been injuries but I don't recall hearing of them.

I went to Gig Harbor (on the old bridge) yesterday to help Bob get ready for a visit from daughter Hope, and two of his grand daughters.  I came back home (on the new bridge) and sailed right thru the "Good to Go" lane for $1.75.  Those that don't have the "Good to Go" transponder on their windshield have to pull into one of the toll booths and pay $3.  When I got home, I checked my online account and it indeed showed the $1.75 deducted from the $30 my account started with. In today's paper there are comments from people who used the new bridge for their commute yesterday.  One lady said she was 30 minutes early for work.  Living over across the Narrows and coming into Tacoma, Seattle or other towns on this side...has been a nightmare for the people involved.  You could leave 2 hours early of your start time and still be late for work.  Of course...there's still the problem of accidents or jumpers,  both of those incidents can bring traffic to a stop.  And then those same people went thru the same nightmare trying to get back home.  The old bridge had two lanes of traffic going in each direction (head-on accidents were not uncommon).  Now each bridge has 3 lanes and 1 HOV lane (for buses and vehicles with more than 2 people riding together), all heading in the same direction.  Hopefully all the years of work and the money spent on this project will be a huge benefit for those who travel it each day. As well as for those who only use it from time to time.

The first four pictures I've posted were from the local newspaper- I DID NOT TAKE THEM.  My hat is off to the photographer who braved the heights to take those incredible pictures.

For those of you who are interested on checking in from time to time on the bridge traffic, here's the link to one of the traffic cams (this one on the Tacoma side). http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr16narrowsbridge/webcams/camera.cfm?module=tactraffic.cfm   There are others listed on the map of the bridge area.  Just click on whatever camera you want to view. 

It's raining here today, and I really need to go back over to Bob's.  Both of his brothers are there this afternoon with their wives, having a little family reunion since Hope and Nina are in town from Pasadena, CA.  But, I'm not very motivated today and I hate driving on the freeway in the rain.  So, I'm not sure if I'm going to make the trip or not.

Until next time.......Linda


mariealicejoan said...

Linda, thanks so much for sharing all the details about the bridges with us and the photos too!  Very informative!

ally123130585918 said...

Linda they are two beautiful bridges ~ what wonderful architecture ~ this entry made very good informative reading ~ Ally x

wwfbison said...

Thanks for posting the facts about the bridge.  That certainly was a project!  The pictures are awesome and the bridge is beautiful.  I bet it is lovely scenery while driving over the bridge.  When our company first started we built bridges so it is very interesting to me to read the details.  Have a wonderful day..seems everyone is getting rain today except us.

jeadie05 said...

Thankyou for explaing this very inmteresting readinmg Linda ..love Jan xx

bowyerlori said...

Great entry Linda. I love architecure anyways. Its a part of my every day job. I love making something beautiful out of nothing at all.