This could mean additional traffic and congestion on alternative routes such as Highway 3 in Belfair, Highway 106 from Belfair through Union to Potlatch, and U.S. Highway 101 from Jefferson County south.
Drivers planning to cross the State Route 104 Hood Canal Bridge should be prepared for long delays and consider alternate routes tomorrow. Beginning at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, the bridge will close to vehicular traffic while the drawspan opens for marine traffic. The bridge could remain closed to vehicles for up to three hours until 12:30 p.m.
The Washington State Department of Transportation recognizes the inconvenience this potential delay poses to travelers and will make every effort to reopen the bridge to vehicular traffic as soon as possible. Federal regulations require WSDOT to open the drawspan to mariners within one hour’s notice.
Why is there a potentially extended bridge closure to vehicles?
The potentially extended closure to traffic stems from a construction project where crews are replacing a series of aging anchor cables. Until two new cables can be tightened, the drawspan is susceptible to drifting when opened for marine traffic during strong tides.
WSDOT is using powerful tugboats to realign the drawspan after marine vessels pass through the opening.
The scheduled Wednesday morning drawspan opening coincides with anticipated strong tides. The powerful current could prevent the bridge from reopening to traffic until a slack tide around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
In addition, another drawspan opening is scheduled at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16. However, strong tides are not expected at that time and drivers can expect routine delays of up to 60 minutes.
WSDOT continues to encourage mariners to request marine openings only during slack tides, until remaining anchor cables are taut.