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Inspection finds bridge a bit banged up, but holding strong

By BRIAN KELLY
Bainbridge Island Review Editor
September 6, 2013 · 7:38 PM
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More than 21,000 drivers pass over the Agate Pass Bridge every day. / Image courtesy of DVD RW/Wikimedia Commons

It’s a little dirty, a bit rusty, but still up to the job.

That’s the general impression that inspectors with the Washington State Department of Transportation were left with after two days of intensive scrutiny of the Agate Pass Bridge in July.

The Highway 305 bridge at the north end of Bainbridge Island is inspected every two years, and this year, a total of 24 hours of work went into the inspection.

Harvey Coffman, WSDOT bridge preservation engineer, said there were no surprises from the inspection.

“The inspection looks much the same as the previous inspection,” he said. “There’s no big findings and differences between the two inspections. The health of the bridge is fair to good condition.”

The Agate Pass Bridge, a steel-truss cantilever bridge, was built in 1950. The number of vehicles that roll across the bridge every day nearly matches the population of the island: 21,000.

The bridge is getting on in years, and some signs of old age were found.

“The bridge is showing it’s age. We’re seeing some areas of corrosion, and we are identifying plans to deal with those,” Coffman said.

Rust was also taking its toll in some areas.

“We’ve got areas where the corrosion is starting to become significant, where it’s going to be leading to some areas that are going to draw attention down the road,” he said.

Those areas, Coffman noted, are above and below the driving level.

The most significant corrosion was found on the main truss elements above and below the roadway, and on the connections for those members, Coffman said.

“It’s kind of typical for a truss [bridge] like this,” he said.

Parts of the bridge have been banged up after being struck, and Coffman  said those problems were minor but still needed repair.

Some debris — dirt and moss — needs to be cleared from the bridge, and a new paint job is needed.

“It’s been holding its own over the years. Being that it’s 60-something years old, it’s doing pretty good for that age,” Coffman said.

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