Washington state bicycling advocates are facing a March 30 (Friday) deadline to convince the state to make some safety improvements to the Hood Canal Bridge (left).
The Bicycle Alliance of Washington (BAW) is asking cyclists to contact state Department of Transportation officials to get moving on the project.
Although replaced in 2009, the bridge that links the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas still needs an estimated $1.8 million in work to make it safer for bicycles.
Problems include uneven surfaces between bridge sections, slick metal plates, raised rivets on the plates that narrow riding surface and gaps that have trapped narrow bike tires, causing falls. BAW reported on the Hood Canal bridge safety issues last year.
BAW executive director Barbara Culp recently wrote to members that the state transportation department already acquired $1.3 million, due to the efforts of her organization and Squeaky Wheels, West Sound Cycling Club, and the Port Townsend Bicycle Association.
After meeting with those local cycling groups regarding materials and designs, design work stopped because project engineers determined the options would cost an estimated $500,000 more than allocated. Stopping the design now means the work may not be started in 2012.
“(Project manager) Jeff Cook submitted a project summary to the WSDOT Program Management group that oversees funding issues, and “requested guidance on the funding piece.” To date there has not been a determination and that committee’s next meeting date is March 30th.”
She’s urging BAW members and other cyclists who use the Hood Canal Bridge to write transportation officials (listed below) and ask them to allocate the remaining $500,000 to make the bridge safe for cyclists. Some key points:
“Critical connections. The Hood Canal Bridge is the only connection between the Kitsap Peninsula and Olympic Peninsula for all types of riders.
“Important economic benefits and tourism. The route attracts bicycle club riders, recreational riders, and cycling tourists from around the world.
“A fix will save the state money. Ongoing safety concerns about the route make the state liable for future accidents along this improperly designed bicycle connection.”
Who to contact
Please contact the following officials:
Paula Hammond, Secretary of Transportation: HammonP@wsdot.gov
Jerry Lenzi, chief engineer: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Dye, chief operations officer: email@example.com
Kevin Dayton, Olympia Regional adminstrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
cc to Jeff Cook, Olympia Region, bridge project engineer: email@example.com