Peninsula: What will happen when Hood Canal Bridge is closed in 2006?

PORT TOWNSEND — More than 15,000 vehicles cross the Hood Canal Bridge every day.

That number jumps to nearly 20,000 cars, trucks, semitrailers, RVs and motorcycles during weekends.

Two-fifths of those vehicles come from Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, Irondale, Chimacum and Port Ludlow.

They go to Poulsbo, Kingston, Bremerton and Port Orchard.

That data comes from the Hood Canal Bridge Origin and Destination Survey, completed in 1998.

The information is slowly turning into policy directives that will shape alternatives for when the eastern half of the bridge is replaced in the spring or summer of 2006.

The replacement will require the bridge to be closed for about eight weeks.

The 40-year-old eastern half of the bridge is tired and crumbling. It’s older than the western half, most of which the state replaced after a windstorm took it out in 1979.

The $200 million reconstruction project begins officially in 2003, but planning is already underway now.

Transportation planning

The Peninsula Regional Transportation Planning Organization — comprised of elected officials and administrative staff from throughout the Kitsap, Quimper and Olympic peninsulas — has settled on 11 preferred options for getting people across the water during the two-month closure.

This full report appears in the Sunday Peninsula Daily News, on sale throughout Clallam and Jefferson counties. Click on “Subscribe” to get your PDN delivered to your home or office.

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