PORT LUDLOW — The state Department of Transportation has a lot of work to do to maintain public support of the Hood Canal Bridge replacement project during the next three years, a spokesman for the agency said Wednesday.
Delays in building the Port Angeles graving yard, which caused a one-year setback to the bridge project, have caused confusion among the public, said the spokesman, Lloyd Brown.
“It’s very important that, after the graving yard, we don’t undermine our credibility with the public,” he said.
Pontoons and decking will be made at the giant onshore dry dock on Port Angeles Harbor, construction of which has been halted since August to allow for the archeological removal of Klallam Indian remains and artifacts.
Work on building the graving yard — which would be big enough to contain four Navy battleships side by side — is scheduled to restart around Labor Day.
Brown and three other Department of Transportation officials met with Jefferson County political and business leaders at an informal meeting Wednesday in Port Ludlow.
Joining Brown was Department of Transportation regional planner George Kovich, Hood Canal Bridge project manager Ron Lewis and Washington State Ferries planning director Ray Deardorf.
Jefferson County Commissioner Pat Rodgers and Port of Port Townsend Executive Director Larry Crockett represented local government.
From the business sector were Tim Caldwell, general manager of the Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce, and Nancy Borino, Port Townsend city marketing director.
Brown said he is on a personal campaign to spread accurate information about the $270 million Hood Canal Bridge retrofit and east-half replacement project.
Rumor and misinformation about the massive project is going around, he said.
Some visitors to the region believe the floating bridge is already closed, Brown said.
And a few local industries have unbased concerns about moving wide loads across the floating span, he added.Any oversized load that could cross the bridge before can still travel the span — if the Department of Transportation is notified, Brown said.