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Manette Bridge ‘high priority’ for WSDOT

The Manette Bridge is on the fast track for replacement. - File photo
The Manette Bridge is on the fast track for replacement.
— image credit: File photo

Replacement of the Manette Bridge is a high priority for the Washington State Department of Transportation, according to WSDOT officials.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2007 and take two to three years.

City and state officials met with the community at a District 3 meeting Tuesday night at the Bremerton Senior Center to present the latest plans.

The current estimate for the project’s cost is $26 million including design and construction. Officials said rising steel costs and other considerations may cause that figure to rise.

Choosing from three different options, the department has elected to build a new bridge parallel to the existing one, immediately south, connecting to the city street system in the same way it does currently.

Putting a new bridge where the current one stands was rejected because it would require a years-long closure. The current plan calls for a three-month closure near the end of the project to complete work on the ends. Traffic would be re-routed across Warren Avenue Bridge.

Another proposal connecting the bridge at 11th Street was turned down because it would have gone through the current site of the popular Boat Shed restaurant.

The new bridge plans call for 12-foot-wide lanes, 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes, and 6-foot-wide sidewalks.

“There will be a lot more room than you’re used to,” said Michele Britton, project manager for WSDOT.

WSDOT will conduct studies mapping out where protected eelgrass lies this month and bridge concept plans will come out in September. The department will also be working on getting homeowners’ permission to study bluffs and foundations near the bridge’s ends.

“There will be vibration from pile driving and noise” when construction starts, Britton said, and WSDOT will be working with city officials to try to lessen the impact of that disruption.

“There is a lot of community involvement in the original design,” said City Council President Daren Nygren. Nygren said the city maintains a dialogue with WSDOT and the community throughout the design and construction processes.

WSDOT will also continue annual inspections of the current bridge. Britton said a similar structure, Tacoma’s Murray Morgan Bridge, was recently closed to sidewalk traffic after such a survey. She said a similar occurrence with the Manette Bridge is not expected, but is not too uncommon with structures that old.

At the open house meeting, community members expressed some doubts and concerns related to prior construction delays. Britton and WSDOT design team leader Steven Thomson assured residents the project is now near the top of the list in the region’s six-year plan.

The Manette Bridge was originally built in 1930 and then rebuilt in 1949. When State Highway 303 was moved to the current Warren Avenue Bridge route, the state maintained responsibility for the bridge.

“It’s just a huge burden otherwise to place on a city government,” Britton said.

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