Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Narrows Bridge is Nearing Completion

Since it was a beautiful sunny day today (after the fog burned off), and since it was Sunday with less traffic on the bridge, and since the last two spans of the new Puget Sound Narrows Bridge are poised to be put in place, I thought I would walk out onto it and take some photos. I began taking photos of this new addition to the existing bridge back several years ago before the construction had actually begun and have continued ever since. This new bridge parallels the existing bridge and is being added at great expense (to be paid by tolls!) and great effort to relief the traffic that has resulted from the cancerous population growth that has occurred in the region.
The last two spans are about to be placed. Each span is about as large as an apartment building and have been brought into position under the bridge by two different ships. Specialized cranes then lift the bridge sections into position where they are bolted together to create the mile plus span that is needed to reach across the "narrows" of Puget Sound. Instead of trying to fit the last two sections into the space that is left (about 8 millimeters of clearance), the workers will pull the entire existing span to one side to allow more room to put the new sections in. Since this will be done any day now, I wanted to photograph the last two spaces with the spans hanging just below ready to be moved in.
I was shooed away by a security guard when I attempted to walk down what was once a pedestrian walk on the north side but which now has been covered with plastic and sandbags. I was told to walk a couple of hundred yards away to enter the new pedestrian walk way which was set off by a series of rubber boots on the new highway. I did this, passing past piles of equipment and earth moving machines that was stored on the new highway leading to the new bridge. Most of this highway has been completed, with the finishing touches now being applied. I walked out onto the old bridge, which I really don't like to do because the only thing separating me on the narrow walk from the traffic whizzing by four feet away is a raised curb or pipe about ten inches high. The buffeting wind from the traffic also tends to blow my hat off, and I have to always hold tight to it.
Coming back after I had taken numerous photos (I will soon put them on my website,, I was eyeing my car which was parked near the top of the old walkway above and to the side of the new highway, and was thinking that I could make a quick dash up the slope (since I didn't see the guard) and save myself a longer walk (as if I don't need it). Just when I was about to make the dash, I saw the guard's pickup approaching the top of the old walkway. He got out and began putting warning tape across the entrance. I continued nonchantly on my way to the "approved" entrance and passed a family who had driven their car past the barriers and was proceeding down to the entrance to the bridge where all the equipment was stored. "Oh," I muttered to myself, "you are going to be sahree!" Sure enough as I finally made my way back to the road and had turned back toward my car, I saw the guard hurriedly jump into his truck and speed off around the block to the entrance to confront the intruders. Meanwhile the family had parked amongst the piles of equipment stored at the north entrance to the new bridge and numerous children, dogs and grownups piled out and began cavorting about. Children runnng amongst the equipment, dogs barking and chasing them...everybody having a grand old time. I wondered how the party intended to go out onto the bridge as I had done with all the running kids and dogs. It took a while for the guard to drive around the block to the entrance, and by the time he had sped hurriedly down to the hapless family, they all were making their way to the pedestrian walk on the old bridge. I could only imagine the conversation that ensued, but I saw the apparent father of the brood tale off chasing the children with the dogs barking at his heels as I got into my car and drove off.

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