Just a week or so ago I found a workmate that was not aware of the Mackinaw Bridge!
I was a bit taken aback. I know it is a location that not many get to, but the bridge is impressive and important.

We google-earthed the bridge, and she made suitable noises of being impressed. (Note: she used to live in San Fran)

But today is about a different bridge – impressive in its own right. It floats.
I don’t know if I had been on any floating bridge until I lived in Washington.
There are 3 that I know of, and I witnessed (on local TV) one sinking to the bottom of the lake.

The 520 Bridge is old and in need of replacement. They are building the pontoons elsewhere, and floating them in to place. The first pontoon came through yesterday. The route takes the pontoons through the Ballard locks, the Ship Canal and Montlake Cut.

As with many things, moving big objects must take into account what they need to move through. In this case the limiting factor appears to be the Ballard locks. A few feet on either side – through the large lock.

This is a video of the pontoon going through the locks (sped up)

Carl had a baseball game, and it ended after the beginning of the predicted time the pontoon was going to reach the locks. I had discovered a marine tracking web-site. It is world wide, but was able to narrow it down to tugboats in the Puget Sound area. The pontoon appeared to have reached the locks, so we headed for the Montlake Cut.

First view (well – first picture) with the Ship Canal Bridge in the background.

Pontoon – backlit

There is a tugboat sideways on the front.

Tug #1 and pontoon #1

The Mud Cat

Front tug

Two other tugs

One for pushing – the other for ? Maybe pushing when they were in more open water

Under the Montlake Bridge

Did not even need to open the drawspan

A view of the top side

People provided for scale

Out into Lake Washington

leaving the Montlake Cut

Parting Shot

The bridge being replace is just out of sight – to the right

This was my idea to see the pontoon – essentially a large piece of floating concrete. Carl played along nicely. Then we went home for dinner and Olympics.

2 Responses to “Bridges”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I never realized how they got those bridges to float. I learned something new!! 🙂 I love going over those bridges because I’m scared of heights. Thus, the Narrows Bridge is quite frightening for me.

  2. RegenAxe Says:

    How do you make concrete float?

    Add two scoops of ice cream and fill the glass with soda pop*.

    *Using soda pop, so either my soda friends or my pop friends will know what I’m talking about. 😉
    What do they call the carbonated stuff in WA?

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