But what about those pontoons?
We usually get invited to the media tours that WSDOT puts on when it wants coverage of the SR-520 bridge-replacement project. But so far, we've resisted making the trek to Medina to see the show. Yesterday, those who took the tour were able to get inside the infamous once-leaking-but-now-sealed pontoons and hear directly from state engineers that these concrete behemoths are perfectly safe. The WSDOT story is basically this: some cracking was always expected, since that's what concrete usually does when it cures: cracks. And when it cracks, you seal it. No big deal.
Over four months ago we reported the fact that the initial pontoons showed cracks which WSDOT at the time stated were being repaired as they were discovered. Many months later, KOMO-TV latched onto the story and reported on it in typical sensationalist fashion. The rest of the major media followed, and WSDOT was forced to defend itself and its contractors. Those interested in the full story from the state's point of view can find it here.
The media tour also featured an up-close look at the first of the 55-foot columns that will eventually support the roadway. These five columns are all on one pontoon (Pontoon W to be precise):
This is going to be one tall bridge (at least at the east end, where Pontoon W is anchored).
By the way, the weekend closure of the "old" floating bridge begins at 11 pm on Friday and will end at 5 am on Monday. Additionally, there will be unrelated cleaning work on the Montlake Bridge over the weekend which will reduce traffic flow to one lane in both directions on Sunday, from 6:30 until 11:30 am.
|The view from the inside: Hey, do you see any leaking?|
[Photos courtesy of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)]