When the west-half of the bridge was replace in the early 1980s, three pontoons, named R, S and T, were used to open the bridge to traffic while WSDOT built the more complicated draw span pontoons. When the draw span was completed, R, S and T were removed from the bridge and moored in Port Gamble Bay.
Now, the pontoons that helped drivers use the bridge sooner will be reused in the new east half of the bridge to save the project time and resources. It has always been WSDOT’s intention to use R, S and T as part of the east-half
replacement project. The pontoons were built according to modern design standards and were made to last. Crews have been monitoring the pontoons during the twenty years that they were moored to ensure that they remained in good condition.
R, S and T were originally built to decrease the amount of time the bridge was out of service after the 1979 storm. By putting R, S and T in the place of the current west-half draw span, engineers were able to open the bridge to traffic a year before the draw span was completed.
Retrofitting pontoons R, S and T helps the Hood Canal Bridge Project meet its 2009 float-in schedule. If three more new pontoons had to be built, the project schedule would increase by at least one year.
The work will be done safely to protect the pontoons, the people and the environment. Before the pontoons are moved, they will be thoroughly inspected and
prepared to make the journey to Seattle.
WSDOT and Kiewit-General crews began retrofitting these pontoons in January 2007 and expect to complete them by fall 2007.
The pontoons were towed from Port Gamble Bay to the Seattle area in January 2007. Crews then began removing the old road deck and superstructure.
The actual pontoons, which hold up the superstructure and road deck above water, will be reused but the roadway deck and columns will be replaced to match the height and width of the new east half pontoons and widened west half road deck.
When completed, the entire bridge will have 12 foot lanes and eight foot shoulders. In addition, minor structural modifications are being made to the R, S and T pontoons; hatch covers are being added and lighting systems are being updated.
When the outfitting is complete, the pontoons will then be towed back to Port Gamble Bay and moored until the east-half replacement in May-June 2009. Read more about the construction on pontoons R, S and T in the March 2007 monthly report.
Towing Facts (pdf format, 117 KB)
Community Stories of the 1980s Rebuild and R, S and T
Historical Photo Gallery