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Bremerton tunnel ahead of schedule

Work continues on the Bremerton tunnel project, which is ahead of schedule, despite the cooler than usual weather. - Charles Melton/staff photo
Work continues on the Bremerton tunnel project, which is ahead of schedule, despite the cooler than usual weather.
— image credit: Charles Melton/staff photo

More than nine months into construction the Bremerton tunnel project is ahead of schedule, despite unusually cool and wet weather that has been the hallmark of winter more so than spring.

“Things are going really well,” said Washington state Department of Transportation project engineer Brendan Clarke.

The portion of the tunnel along Burwell Street has largely been completed as backfilling near the intersection of Burwell Street and Pacific Avenue has already begun, Clarke said.

That part of the tunnel should be completed by May 1 as work will then shift to the end of the tunnel closest to the Bremerton ferry terminal, he said.

“The biggest risk is that we’ll run into unexpected contaminated soil,” he said of one possible reason for the project’s progress to slow down.

However, crews haven’t found any contaminated soil while driving the tunnel support pilings in the area, which is good news, he said. The pilings are about 10 feet apart, so they provide a good indicator of the potential for contaminated soils.

With work on the project itself moving slightly ahead of schedule, motorists will continue maneuvering through the existing detours for the foreseeable future, he said.

Ferry traffic will continue being detoured along Pacific Avenue to the terminal and out Washington Avenue, but local traffic will be limited to 2nd Street as 1st Street will remain closed, he said.

Although WSDOT has received some complaints about the detours, the agency is doing its best to accommodate local traffic and businesses during the construction period, which should be completed by the summer of 2008, Clarke said.

For information on the project visit the project Web site at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR304/BremertonTunnel/.

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