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Daily Manette Bridge closures starting Monday

The Monday morning commute for Bremerton motorists will probably be a little more congested than usual as the annual inspection of the Manette Bridge is scheduled for the coming week.

The bridge, which serves as one of the primary traffic arteries between East and West Bremerton, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Washington State Department of Transportation crews will be inspecting the bridge as plans to replace the obsolete structure loom on the horizon in 2010.

WSDOT officials said a complete closure of the bridge is necessary because it is too narrow for traffic, equipment and work crews to be on the bridge at the same time.

Traffic will be detoured over the Warren Avenue Bridge during the closure.

The latest WSDOT report on the bridge, which was built in 1930, found it to be “both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.”

On the structural sufficiency scale of 0 to 100 with a rating of less than 50 making the structure eligible for federal funding the bridge was rated 16.80, the report stated.

However, the report also emphasized “a deficiency label does not mean a bridge is likely to collapse or is unsafe. Most deficient bridges remain open to traffic during maintenance and repairs.”

The load limit on the bridge has been reduced to 80,000 pounds, but the bridge is expected to remain serviceable until the new one is completed.

Design and the acquisition of the necessary permits are expected to be completed by March 2010 with construction to begin that summer. So far, $83.1 million has been allocated to pay for the new structure.

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