Worth Their Salt

In a project that spanned 6 years, both approach spans, eastern pontoons, and east and west transition spans had to be replaced on the Hood Canal Bridge in Washington State. Multiple closures were required prior to the shutdown, after which only 45 days were allotted to replace the major eastern pontoon and approach sections.

Worth Their Salt

The Problem

In 1979, 18 years after opening, the bridge suffered a catastrophic failure during a severe windstorm, sinking the western draw span and pontoons after sustaining several hours of Contractor Cuts on World’s Longest Floating Saltwater Bridge 120+ mph winds. Efforts to repair the bridge began immediately. Works were completed in three years and the bridge reopened in 1982. Since this time, further wear and tear from the elements had taken its toll on 11 of the original east-half bridge pontoons, including the draw span, so plans were put in place to remove these sections and replace them with 17 new structures designed to last 75 years.

The Solution

The general contractor required a method that would maintain the structural integrity of the floating pontoons, reduce bridge shutdown time, and produce less dust and debris than other applications. The dependability provided by wire sawing was ideal and met all of these requirements, giving the ability to make the different types of cuts in pontoon joints.

The Result

“We had an extremely nice thank you from a lead engineer, stating how IPM went “the extra mile” to help ensure that a very unique set of tasks were done with a high level of success,” explains Joe Shebesta, Project Engineer for IPM. These words came from Kent Werle, Senior Engineer for Kiewit-General, “We appreciated not only their significant procedural and engineering help on the front end, but also during the long nights of execution where their highly skilled people worked to be sure that we got through the difficult spots. This should be marked down as a success story,” Werle concluded.

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