Hood Canal Bridge to be kept open during summer weekends
May 22, 2023, 1:08 PM | Updated: 3:27 pm
(Photo from WSDOT)
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) has changed its closure schedule of the Hood Canal Bridge with the goal of keeping it open for as many weekends as possible for those traveling to the Olympics this summer.
Repairs to the bridge between Jefferson and Kitsap counties will no longer require closing the bridge for four weekends during peak travel time, and assuming the weather holds.
100+ mile Hood Canal Bridge detour will mess with summer weekends
“The new dates strike the best balance between securing critical materials needed to make repairs to the bridge and installing those materials during calm weather when traffic volumes are lower,” said Assistant Region Administrator of Construction MaryLou Shannon.
Instead of four long-term weekend closures of the bridge, WSDOT decided to separate the work into phases. The closures are:
May 13 to May 17
- 10 p.m. Saturday, May 13, to 10 a.m. Sunday, May 14
- 11 p.m. Monday, May 15, to 4 a.m. Tuesday, May 16
- 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, to 4 a.m. Wednesday, May 17
- 11 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, to 4 a.m. Thursday, May 18
May 20 to May 24
- 11 p.m. Monday, May 22, to 4 a.m. Tuesday, May 23
- 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, to 4 a.m. Wednesday, May 24
- 11 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, to 4 a.m. Thursday, May 25
June 10 to June 14
- 10 p.m. Saturday, June 10, to 10 a.m. Sunday, June 11
- 11 p.m. Monday, June 12, to 4 a.m. Tuesday, June 13
- 11 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, to 4 a.m. Wednesday, June 14
- 11 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, to 4 a.m. Thursday, June 15
June 17 to June 21
- 10 p.m. Saturday, June 17, to 10 a.m. Sunday, June 18
- 11 p.m. Monday, June 19, to 4 a.m. Tuesday, June 20
- 11 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, to 4 a.m. Wednesday, June 21
- 11 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, to 4 a.m. Thursday, June 22
WSDOT’s 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 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.
More than 18,000 people use the bridge every day, and on summer weekends, it can be way more than that. These weekend closures were going to have a major impact.
The construction could still close the bridge in September as WSDOT works to securely connect both halves of the bridge and install new shock absorbers. Work will begin on that Sep. 10, and could include both weekday and weekend nighttime closures.