By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Too bad the weather doesn't always behave as expected.
“Mother Nature doesn't listen to the forecast,” said Jim Mahlum, the city's project manager on the bridge replacement.
Construction crews with Kent-based Scarsella Bros. made the decision late Wednesday to cancel Thursday's scheduled concrete pouring for the new bridge span across Peabody Creek because rain was forecast, Mahlum said.
So the Port Angeles-based Angeles Concrete scheduled a pour for another project Thursday, Mahlum said.
The contractor now hopes to be able to install the bridge deck later next week, possibly Wednesday, based on rain predicted Monday and Tuesday.
“They're trying to fit it in when Mother Nature cooperates with us,” Mahlum said.
Crews want a less than 20 percent chance of rain in a day's forecast to pour concrete for the bridge deck, Mahlum explained.
This is because grooves that are poured into the deck itself, designed to reduce ice accumulating on the surface, cannot be formed when rain is falling.
“[The rain] will smooth it out and ruin the surface,” Mahlum said.
“And it would require actually having to come in and saw in those grooves, which gets very expensive.”
Finish in March
The bridge deck is one of the last steps in the $4.5 million bridge replacement project, begun in August and expected to wrap in early March.
The city secured a federal grant to fund 80 percent of the project and is providing the remaining 20 percent of the cost.
Once weather allows, Mahlum said, pouring the deck likely will be completed in a single workday and require the closure of Race Street at its intersection with Lauridsen Boulevard.
Race Street was taken down to one lane, with traffic flaggers in place, for about a half-day Thursday so crews could finish installing stormwater treatment structures underneath where Race Street meets the bridge end, Mahlum said.
Vehicle, bike lanes
Once completed, the new Lauridsen bridge will resemble the two Eighth Street bridges and will include two 12-foot-wide vehicle lanes, an eastbound center turn lane and two 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes.
The total driving surface will be 18 feet wider than the 44-year-old bridge being replaced, which was demolished in August.
The new bridge's sidewalks also will be wider than the old ones.
The project will include a new street light at the intersection of Lauridsen Boulevard and Race Street and improvements to the surface of the intersection.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.