100+ mile Hood Canal Bridge detour will mess with summer weekends

Mar 21, 2023, 5:02 AM

Hood Canal Bridge...

(Photo from WSDOT)

(Photo from WSDOT)

A 100-mile detour is what drivers will face this summer if their plans take them across the Hood Canal Bridge.

The Hood Canal Bridge will be closed for four full weekends this summer, sometime between July and September. That leaves a ferry or a 100+ mile detour down State Route 3 and up US Route 101.

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The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Mark Krulish said they need to replace a key bridge component.

“We are repairing the center lock mechanism on the bridge,” Krulish said. “It is the mechanism that holds the bridge together.”

This work was supposed to happen in 2021, but was postponed because of the pandemic. It was rescheduled for last year, but supply chain issues pushed it to 2023.

Krulish stated this work cannot be done in bad weather.

“We’re going to be in the water, and we’re going to be suspended from a bridge, so the water absolutely has to be calm in order to do this,” he said. “The time to do that is in the summer.”

The state is trying to finalize over which weekends it will perform the work, fully realizing that this will create huge problems getting around.

“We know every weekend on the Olympic Peninsula, there is a huge event that draws tons of people, but what we’re looking at most is when’s the weather the best,” Krulish said.

The contractor is looking to see if it can find windows during the weekend closures to provide some bridge access. We should get a better idea of the scheduling in early April.

But this is something you need to start looking at right now if you have summer weekend plans on the peninsula.

There are also smaller construction projects planned along the detour route that cannot be delayed or postponed either. There are no plans for additional ferry service to help get around this either. The only run that would help is Coupeville/Port Townsend, and it can’t handle much more than it normally does.

More than 18,000 people use the bridge every day. On summer weekends, it can be way more than that. These weekend closures are going to have a major impact.

Start planning now.


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100+ mile Hood Canal Bridge detour will mess with summer weekends