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Thursday, January 21, 2016
Claudia Bingham Baker, WSDOT communications, 360-357-2789
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – The State Route 305 Agate Pass Bridge, which links Bainbridge Island to the Kitsap Peninsula, will be reduced to one lane during daytime hours for 11 consecutive days beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16. Drivers are advised to expect traffic delays while Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews clean and low-pressure-wash the bridge’s steel truss. Crews will also perform other maintenance tasks as time allows.
Each weekday between Tuesday, Feb. 16, and Friday, Feb. 26, drivers will encounter single-lane alternating traffic at the bridge between 8:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20-21, the bridge will be reduced to one lane from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic will be escorted across the bridge during work hours.
Crews will use articulated under-bridge-inspection-trucks to maneuver around and through the bridge’s steel truss to clean tight spaces that accumulate debris. “We know that daytime closures will cause traffic delays, but we believe they are absolutely necessary,” said WSDOT Assistant Region Administrator Troy Cowan. “Our first priority is to do everything we can to make sure the crews, the equipment, the driving public and the bridge, are not damaged during this critical work.”
Ferry User Tips
The work hours were coordinated with the Washington State Ferries schedule to minimize impacts to ferry users. Ferry service will not be affected, however drivers are advised to add additional travel time to reach the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. Ferry users are also encouraged to consider using the Bremerton or Kingston ferries during this time.
WSDOT had similar lane closures over a 20-day period in February 2015. Drivers heeded requests to avoid the bridge during work hours, helping keep delays to an average 10-20 minutes at the bridge. WSDOT again asks drivers to delay discretionary trips, adjust schedules and travel through the area during non-work hours, or to avoid the bridge altogether if possible during the 11-day period.
This bridge-cleaning effort has become an annual task and is based on an agreement between WSDOT and the state Department of Ecology The agreement allows bridge crews to wash the bridge by flushing water over it after large amounts of debris have been hand-removed, provided the work is done annually. In an earlier pilot project of this cleaning method, pre- and post-cleaning water tests by Ecology showed only minimal changes to water quality, well below environmental thresholds.
The 1,020-foot-long Agate Pass Bridge is used by 22,000 vehicles each day. During the seven hours between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., SR 305 carries about 4,600 vehicles in each direction.
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