Friday, February 20, 2015

SR 305 Agate Pass Bridge cleaning and inspection work nearing completion

By Doug Adamson

Area of the bridge before the rust was removed.
Crews have completed the painstaking process of hand-removing truckloads of dirt, debris and other gunk from the State Route 305 Agate Pass Bridge.  Crews removed roughly 9 tons of material, which is more than the average size of an African elephant.  After removing debris, crews most recently have been flushing the bridge with low-pressure water to complete the cleaning process.

Our workers also are turning their attention to removing rust. They use specialized air-powered tools that grind rust away. To help protect the environment, the rust is scooped up by a connected vacuum system.  After the rust is removed, they apply a zinc coating that protects the underlying steel from future rust. 

Crews continue to find what they expected on a bridge of this age – missing or rusted rivet heads, rusty bridge pins, chipped and broken sidewalk sections, etc. We will know more about the overall condition of the bridge after a complete inspection is done next week by our bridge preservation engineers.

That’s where highly-trained experts will conduct a meticulous inspection of this key link between Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula. 

Drivers help prevent mega-traffic jams
We offer our immense gratitude to drivers who continue to avoid the bridge during work hours. It makes a big difference when people consolidate trips, carpool, and cancel discretionary trips.

Following rust removal, crews treated the area with
a zinc-based product to protect the underlying steel.
On Sunday, Feb. 22, the Chilly Hilly bike ride is scheduled to take place between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Although the bike route does not cross the Agate Pass Bridge, we expect higher traffic volumes on SR 305 as participants from the Kitsap Peninsula drive to the starting point in Bainbridge Island. We would like to ask those Chilly Hilly participants to please add extra travel time to cross the bridge both on their way to the event, and on their journey back home.

Drivers use alternate ferry routes
Washington State Ferries has noted about a 5 percent decrease in vehicles on their mid-day Bainbridge Island runs, and a 3 percent and 4.5 percent increase in their daytime Bremerton and Kingston runs, respectively. We would like to thank ferry users who have changed ferry routes to avoid crossing the bridge, and encourage them to continue doing so since Ferries still has excess capacity on their mid-day Bremerton and Kingston runs.

If all goes according to plan, the work will wrap up on Saturday, Feb. 28.  Until that time, we continue to ask drivers to plan ahead and expect delays during the following times.

Remaining SR 305 Agate Pass Bridge work schedule
Single-lane alternating traffic 7 days a week until February 28, 2015
8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Monday through Friday
7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday