Improvements for bicyclists due on Hood Canal Bridge

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Three years after the state completed renovation of the Hood Canal Bridge linking the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, the Department of Transportation is returning to improve bridge deck safety for bicyclists.

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington announced that the WSDOT has agreed to get started soon on the project that should reduce the number of bike crashes on the grated bridge deck.

The current problems include uneven surfaces between bridge sections, slick metal plates, raised rivets and gaps that trap bicycle tires and cause falls.

Using a $1.3 million federal grant, the state will widen the grated bridge deck shoulder from 3 feet to 5 feet and install non-skid riding surfaces.

The total job will cost an estimated $1.7 million, according to the state’s Hood Canal bicycle enhancement project website. Planning and design is complete.

In announcing the agreement, retiring BAW executive director Barbara Culp applauded the state for pursuing the bridge fix. “We believe this agreement represents a new chapter in WSDOT’s pursuit of incorporating safety and mobility for bicycles on Washington’s bridges and we look forward to working with WSDOT to make this happen.”

The BAW has been working with many local bicycle groups to get the improvement underway. Bike clubs involved in getting the safety issues addressed include Squeaky Wheels of Bainbridge Island, West Sound Cycling Club of Kitsap County, Port Townsend Bicycle Association, and Peninsula Trails Coalition (Olympic Peninsula).

The bicycle alliance says the state expects to begin the process of selecting a contractor in August. Once started, the project will take about five months.

Earlier this year, the BAW asked cyclists to urge the state to get moving on the project after learning that design work was lagging due to funding uncertainties.

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