WSDOT asks for input on how to cross Hood Canal without a bridge

TACOMA — The Washingston state Department of Transportation is asking citizens which of the two passenger-only water shuttle options they prefer to use during the planned six-week bridge closure – South Point to Lofall or Port Ludlow to Kingston.

The question comes as the project team is finalizing plans for how to keep traffic moving during the May-June 2009 closure of the Hood Canal Bridge. During the bridge closure time, contractor Kiewit-General will remove and replace the bridge’s eastern half. The option of a passenger-only water shuttle across Hood Canal was selected as part of the mitigation plan. WSDOT is polling residents via e-mail, phone, handouts, newspaper ads and on its Web site, about which transportation route across the Hood Canal would best serve their needs.

Information on how the options will affect travel times between the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and a map the routes each would follow is included in the online survey. The survey will be open until June 6.

“We know how important the Hood Canal Bridge is to the people and economy of the Olympic Peninsula,” said Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond.

The South Point to Lofall water shuttle plan can transport 600 people an hour, offers service every 30 minutes and has supporting transit connections to local communities as well as the 1,500 stall park-and-ride lots at Shine Pit and Port Gamble. The South Point to Lofall plan was approved by the Peninsula Regional Transportation Policy Organization (PRTPO) in 2002.

The Port Ludlow to Kingston water shuttle plan can transport 450 people an hour, offers service every 45 minutes and has supporting transit connections to local communities as well as 535 parking spaces at park-and-ride lots at the Port Ludlow Marina and the Ludlow Cove development and 590 parking spaces at the Port of Kingston, Bayside Community Church and George’s Corner. The plan has been supported by some civic, business and tourism groups.

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