First 6 pontoons built locally ready to float out on Monday
The first six pontoons built in Aberdeen for the SR 520 Bridge project will float out next week, a major step toward assembling a replacement State Route 520 floating bridge later this summer.
Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond toured the Aberdeen casting basin on Thursday as construction crews prepare to fill the basin with water and tow pontoons into Grays Harbor on the high tides starting Monday night.
Hammond said that this project could not have been a success without local support.
33 pontoons are scheduled to be built in Aberdeen and another 44 in Tacoma. So far, crews in Aberdeen have built three longitudinal pontoons, one cross pontoon and two smaller supplemental pontoons. The longitudinal pontoons are the largest, weighing 11,000 tons apiece and measuring 360 feet long, 75 feet wide and 29 feet tall. These are as wide as they can be and still fit through the Ballard locks.
“We’re ready to float out these pontoons,” said Julie Meredith, SR 520 program director for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “We’re looking forward to connecting them starting this summer, and people crossing Lake Washington will have a front-row seat as the bridge takes shape.”
At the peak of construction on the first Aberdeen pontoons, nearly 400 workers were building forms, installing steel rebar and pouring concrete. There are five more cycles with 27 more floating bridge pontoons planned for construction in Aberdeen between now and 2014.
“Once the first six pontoons are floated out, we’ll shift gears for another round of construction – and we’ll again be turning to local carpenters, steel workers and concrete workers to help fill this basin with the next six pontoons,” said Phil Wallace, Kiewit-General project director for the pontoon project.
Completed pontoons will be inspected to make sure they are watertight. This summer, they will be towed around the Olympic Peninsula to Lake Washington and the next phase of construction.
Project Manager Phil Wallace and Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond