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Bremerton tunnel set to dig in

Beginning July 18, motorists will be detoured around downtown Bremerton construction. - Courtesy graphic
Beginning July 18, motorists will be detoured around downtown Bremerton construction.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

The wait for the $30.7 Bremerton tunnel project ended Friday morning as U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman and a host of other state and local leaders watched the demolition of the old Les Schwab building on Burwell Street.

Crews from Tri-State Construction, Inc. won’t begin the real work until July 18, said Washington State Department of Transportation project engineer Brenden Clark. The project is expected to be completed by March 2009.

“The detours will begin July 18, and the first phase of the project is expected to take nine to 10 months,” Clark said.

That phase will cover the area between Warren and Pacific avenues, he said.

The next two phases, which encompass the area between 2nd Street and the Bremerton Transportation Center, and should take 10 to 13 months, he said.

“We’re building an entrance ramp at 1st (Street) and Pacific (Avenue), so traffic can still use it, while we work under it,” he said.

Although there will be an abundance of water on the site, Clark said he doesn’t expect water control or water quality to be an issue during the project.

“We will treat the water onsite or carry it to the city of Bremerton’s sanitary sewer system,” he said.

During the estimated 23-month construction period, traffic going to the BTC will be detoured down 6th Street to Pacific Avenue. Outgoing ferry traffic will be routed down Washington Avenue and out to 6th Street or the Manette Bridge.

Both Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers and Bremerton Fire Chief Al Dukes said they don’t anticipate any issues with the project in terms of traffic or emergency service response times.

While WSDOT is focused on the tunnel project itself, Tri-State crews will also be working on a combined sewer outflow reduction project for the city, Clark said.

“It is in the same contract, and it’s a way to increase efficiencies,” Clark said.

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