• Third cycle of SR 520 pontoons complete in Aberdeen

    ABERDEEN, Wash. – Another six State Route 520 bridge pontoons floated out of the Aberdeen casting basin today, marking completion of the third of six total pontoon cycles to be built in Grays Harbor. 

    “With the third cycle complete, we’re halfway done in Aberdeen,” said Julie Meredith, SR 520 program director for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “We’ve now finished 38 of 77 pontoons needed for a new SR 520 floating bridge that will serve the region for 75 years or more.” 

    The third pontoon construction cycle included four longitudinal pontoons and two supplemental stability pontoons. The 360-foot-long longitudinal pontoons will help form the backbone of the new bridge, while the supplemental pontoons provide additional stability and flotation. 

    Each longitudinal pontoon in this cycle includes transverse post-tensioning, a concrete strengthening technique endorsed earlier this year by a pontoon expert review panel. WSDOT managers, who conducted preliminary examinations in the casting basin, report the pontoons are performing as expected. The pontoons show no signs of the spalling that occurred in the first pontoons built last year, and end-wall cracking appears limited to predicted and acceptable levels. 

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  • Aberdeen-Built Pontoons Head to Hoquiam June 1

    ABERDEEN, Wash. – Replacement pontoons for the State Route 520 floating bridge will begin their journey to Lake Washington this summer, but June first, they leave the casting basin in Aberdeen and make a short trip to Hoquiam.
    We have the contract to get them to the Port, then there’s another contract to take them up the coast. We’re thinking WSDOT that we’re working with here will buy the pontoons within 24 hours – Project Director Phil Wallace
    Wallace, with Kiewit General, told Port Commissioners on Tuesday that the six pontoons will rotate out of Terminal 4 in Hoquiam while the Washington State Department of Transportation works on towing the biggest pontoons every built 260 nautical miles around the Olympic Penninsula to Lake Washington.
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  • SR 520 pontoon project open house Wednesday in Aberdeen

    ABERDEEN – The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and its contractor, Kiewit-General Joint Venture (K-G), invite the public to a pre-construction open house for the State Route 520 Pontoon Construction Project in Grays Harbor. Now that federal approval has been received, construction is expected to begin at the Aberdeen Log Yard as soon as mid-February.


    When: 4 – 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19


    Where: Aberdeen High School Commons, 410 N. G St., Aberdeen


    Speakers: WSDOT and K-G staff will be on hand to provide detailed project information and explain how to stay informed during the project. Representatives from local unions will also be available. There will be no formal presentation.


    Visuals: WSDOT and K-G will have displays of the casting basin and staff to explain the casting basin and pontoon construction.


    For more information about the project and the open house please visit: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520/Pontoons.

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  • WSDOT Begins Process to Buy The Aberdeen Log Yard

    ABERDEEN, Wash. – The state is moving ahead with plans to buy 55 acres in Aberdeen for construction of a casting facility and 33 massive concrete pontoons for a new State Route 520 floating bridge.


    In coming weeks, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) plans to complete its $4.8 million purchase – minus $648,000 previously paid – of Weyerhaeuser’s Aberdeen Log Yard.


    Since 2009, WSDOT had options to purchase either the Aberdeen site or an alternate 90-acre site in Hoquiam owned by Anderson & Middleton. WSDOT recently notified property owners that the Aberdeen site will be purchased.


    WSDOT announced the Aberdeen site in August 2009 as its preferred location for the Pontoon Construction Project. An environmental analysis of the Aberdeen and Hoquiam sites confirmed the Aberdeen site as a better location due in part to lower development costs and fewer design risks.

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  • SR520 Pontoons on the move in October

    ABERDEEN – Two new State Route 520 bridge pontoons left Aberdeen for Seattle this weekend, while another two pontoons will follow next week. 

    Currently, eight pontoons are located in the Grays Harbor area: two pontoons completed in Cycle 2 – longitudinal pontoons Q and R – and six pontoons completed in Cycle 3 – longitudinal pontoons M, N, O and P and supplemental stability pontoons BSW and BSE. 

    The Cycle 2 pontoons are currently at a moorage site in Grays Harbor, while the Cycle 3 pontoons are at the Port of Grays Harbor. Pontoons BSW and BSE were towed last weekend, and pontoons Q and R will leave next week. Pontoons M, N, O and P will move to the Grays Harbor storage site. 

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  • Repair Work to Delay Float-Out of Pontoons

    Seattle, WA- With the heavily planned and much anticipated 520 floating bridge pontoon construction project underway the Washington State Department of Transportation are now facing a delay of the float-out of SR 520 bridge pontoons built in Aberdeen after damaged concrete was discovered.

    Work is planned on four of the six concrete pontoons under construction in Aberdeen and is preliminarily expected to take four to six weeks to complete. As a result, the completed pontoons are not expected to be towed out of the casting basin until July or August, depending on favorable tides. 

    The Washington State Department of Transportation is working with contractor Kiewit-General to analyze the cause of the damage “We have a plan, and by making these repairs and modifications before the pontoons leave Aberdeen, we can assure that the new SR 520 floating bridge will safely carry traffic for 75 years or more,” said Julie Meredith, WSDOT SR 520 program director.

    The damage was discovered May 11th after construction crews completed post-tensioning on a longitudinal pontoon measuring 360 feet long, 75 feet wide and more than 28 feet tall. Crews plan to de-tension the steel tendons, remove concrete and add steel rebar reinforcement needed to contain the steel tendons. 

    WSDOT and contractor KG are focused on making the modifications carefully and swiftly, but say it is too early to say how much the repairs will cost or how costs will be assigned.

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  • Pile Driving Begins on Pontoon Construction Site in Aberdeen

    ABERDEEN, Wash. – The sounds of progress start echoing through the State Route 520 Pontoon Construction project site this week as crews begin to drive hundreds of support pilings to form the foundation of a pontoon casting facility.

    The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and contractor Kiewit-General (K-G) are constructing the foundation for the casting basin where they will build the concrete pontoons that will form the backbone of a replacement SR 520 floating bridge. Crews must drive as many as 900 steel piles 125 feet into the ground. During the three-month process, K-G will have up to 20 pile drivers working at the site, and nearby residents and businesses will notice hammering sounds.

    “This work is critical in that it literally lays the foundation for the pontoon construction that will start later this year,” said Dave Ziegler, WSDOT principal engineer. “As we finish sections of piles, we’ll begin excavating the site to create the basin.”

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    The Washington Transportation Department expects construction to start as soon as next month in Aberdeen on the facility that will build pontoons for the new Highway 520 floating bridge at Seattle.

    The department says the Aberdeen site won federal approval this week. Kiewit-General Joint Venture still needs other permits to start construction on the pontoons, each up to 360 feet long.

    The pontoons will support the new six-lane bridge to replace the existing Lake Washington bridge, built in 1963.

    Tolling starts on the bridge this year to help pay for construction. The new bridge is scheduled to open by the end of 2014.

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