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July 15, 2007

We Ran the Span

The new Tacoma Narrows Bridge is opening this weekend. Today they had various festivities, the first of which was a 5K run across the bridge (and then up to the toll plaza, and then back), starting at 8 am. So at 5:30 this morning I hopped out of bed, grabbed two of the kids, and off we went to Tacoma to participate in the run, which was billed as "the one and only."

The race, as a race, was pretty bad; the bridge was so crowded (they had over 10,000 "runners") that you could only run in fits and starts, the bus service to and from the start was disorganized (they moved a lot of people quickly, but were very bad at ensuring fairness of who got on the bus vs. who waited in line the longest), they for no apparent reason had the bib pickup a 5-minute walk in the wrong direction from the bus dropoff, and they ran out of food at the end. Even the t-shirts were uninspired. BUT as a "tell your grandkids" event of course it was great. The bridge, I have to say, is quite nice; although it doesn't look like the current one (the towers are concrete, for one thing), it "echoes" the look of it, as they say.

In the entire Sunday Seattle Times I could find nary a peep about the new bridge. I mean come on, a new $1 billion suspension bridge, possibly the last long-span suspension bridge to be built in the U.S. (since they are being elbowed aside by [shudder] cable-stayed bridges), opens in the next town over and they don't even mention it? The Tacoma News-Tribune (which I suspect is a better paper than either of the Seattle ones anyway) of course is all over it. They had a front-page article on it, plus a special section talking all about it. And they are coming out with a book about the construction.

I was poking around the News-Tribune site and they have a cool PDF of where the pieces of the original 1940 bridge (aka "Galloping Gertie") are lying on the bottom of the Narrows (here's a more detailed one talking about the marine ecosystem that has formed around the remnants). And here's a story about people trying to be the first to drive across the new bridge, an event that will happen at an unknown time between now and tomorrow morning.

Posted by AdamBa at July 15, 2007 07:19 PM

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Well you got your wish, a day later:



Posted by: Ricky Dhatt at July 16, 2007 04:09 PM

First tool paid at 4:01 (electronic) and 4:03 (cash): http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2007/07/16_16_BridgeOpenTollBegins.htm.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at July 16, 2007 05:02 PM