Tacoma Narrows Bridge piece on the move - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Tacoma Narrows Bridge piece on the move

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SPOKANE Valley, Wash. - If you plan to travel westbound on Interstate 90 across Washington during the next couple of days, be prepared for some slow traffic.

A tractor-trailer rig carrying a giant expansion joint for the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge has begun the final 300-mile leg of its journey from Spokane to Gig Harbor.

The 200-foot-long truck carrying the joint pulled out of a Department of Transportation maintenance yard in Spokane Valley late this morning and headed west on Interstate 90.

The bridge part had been stranded near Spokane since mid-March after it arrived too heavy to meet D-O-T permit requirements for Washington highways.

The Minnesota company that built the expansion joint hired a Tacoma company to bring a longer, wider trailer to haul the piece the remainder of the way.

The Transportation Department and Washington State Patrol are escorting the tractor-trailer with a rolling roadblock across westbound lanes of the freeway.

Traffic backed up for miles today, as the convoy plodded along at an average of about 12 miles per hour.  Some drivers honked. Others flashed their lights. Some made gestures.

The convoy will travel west on I-90 to Bellevue, then turn south on I-405 to Interstate 5 into Tacoma on its way to Gig Harbor.

The expansion joint is one of two that will be installed on each end of the Tacoma bridge to allow the span to move in earthquakes, high winds and extreme temperatures.

In response to media and public interest in this expansion joint, WSDOT will place a GPS unit on a pilot car escorting the truck across the state. Once the expansion joint is ready to resume its travels, the public can track the journey at www.tacomanarrowsbridge.com.  
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