Monday, May 21, 2007

A Day to Remember

By Emily Pace
WSDOT Olympic Region Communications

Flying in the night before after a 10-day vacation in Hawaii to kick-off my summer, it was hard to wake up at 6:30 a.m. the next morning to get ready for my first day of work. Tuesday was my first day as a summer intern for the Dept. of Transportation in Olympia.

Groggy-eyed after my six-hour flight I grabbed a venti latte and went on my way. When I arrived at the office, I realized it wasn't going to be typical work day. We were going on a field trip. Our destination: the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

We all were outfitted with the appropriate gear before leaving to tour the bridge. The dress code was a bright orange DOT vest, hard hat, heavy-duty gloves and a quite stylish pair of glasses. I have to admit, while it was a bit different from typical office dress, it was fun.

With the temperature reaching 80 degrees I could not have thought of a better day to take a field trip, and I do not think anyone would disagree with me.

Up at the bridge the tour began with a presentation giving a glimpse into the past of the existing bridge and its permanent place in history. We even walked under the old bridge (which was nerve wracking for some) and got a peek at the existing structure and took a moment to snap a few group pictures.

Over on the new bridge, crews were busy hand-painting cables. The engineers made a point to make sure the color of the new bridge was slightly different than the old to preserve the existing bridge's historical image.

The tour guides were great and it was amazing to see how excited people were becoming as opening day for the bridge is getting closer. Everyone in the office, myself included, enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about it and see it first-hand. The enthusiasm around me kept me going long after the three espresso shots wore off and the rest of the day flew by. People joked that it was all down-hill after today, but I find it hard to believe.