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Hood Canal Bridge work finishes early

POULSBO — Even though the Hood Canal Bridge opened earlier than expected this weekend, Washington State Department of Transportation officials are cautioning motorists not to count on a repeat performance during the second closure.

The bridge will close again at 8 p.m. Aug. 21 and won’t reopen until 4 a.m. Aug. 25 as workers will be replacing the bridge’s 640-foot west end.

Workers from Poulsbo-based Kiewit-General finished replacing the 190-foot east end of the bridge at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, more than a day ahead of schedule.

“Things went even better than we anticipated and we started with the easier of the two difficult processes,” said WSDOT communications manager for the Olympic region Lloyd Brown.

However, because the west end is more than three times longer than its counterpart, work there is expected to take all of the time allotted for the closure, Brown said.

“One of the things we want to encourage is for people not to necessarily anticipate the bridge opening early,” he remarked, pointing to the fact that the larger span has a greater potential for problems than the smaller one.

However, WSDOT officials want to assure the public that the bridge will reopen on time, he said.

“We are going to make sure we open when we say we are,” Brown said.

Motorists will once again be detoured along US 101, which goes around the Hood Canal and the state ferries will again provide service between Port Townsend and Keystone during the closure.

A free passenger-only ferry service will be offered between Port Ludlow and Kingston Aug. 22, 23 and 24. The service, which is being sponsored by the Port Ludlow Chamber of Commerce, coincides with the Aqua Express service between Kingston and Seattle.

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