Bicycle Alliance: WSDOT will improve biking surface on Hood Canal Bridge

Biking the Hood Canal Bridge. Photo by gabriel amadeus via Flickr

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington and other area cycling groups have convinced WSDOT that improvements are needed for people biking on the Hood Canal Bridge, a vital connection between the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas.

The three-foot-wide metal plates currents on the bridge have led to crashes. The improvements include a new non-skidding surface that is five-feet wide (the minimum width of a standard bike lane).

Details from the Bicycle Alliance:

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will make some much needed bicycle safety improvements on Hood Canal Bridge, thanks to an agreement struck between the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, local cycling groups, and WSDOT. The agreement, funded largely from a $1.3 million federal grant, allows the state to move forward on a package of safety improvements that will widen (from 3 feet to approximately 5 feet) and improve the bridge surface for bicycles.
Since the Hood Canal Bridge’s reconstruction in 2009, narrow metal plates over the bridge decking and oft-damaged plates covering bridge joints have led to numerous crashes by those on bicycle. These concerns have prompted the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and local cycling groups to advocate for safety improvements. The proposed bridge fixes, designed by WSDOT, aim to provide a more durable, wider, and non-skid riding surface for bicycle travel.
Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge), who played a critical role in convening discussions with WSDOT noted, “I appreciate the work of staff at WSDOT – particularly those at the Olympic Region office – who were open to thinking creatively to make this project a reality. Despite the budget constraints facing the state, WSDOT sought out new approaches to address long-standing safety issues that affect mobility, tourism, and recreation between the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.”
“We are elated to see the state move forward on fixes that will improve safety and accessibility across the Hood Canal Bridge,” said Bicycle Alliance of Washington executive director Barbara Culp. “The Bicycle Alliance of Washington applauds WSDOT for their diligence in pursuing this 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 stakeholders representing bicycle clubs and organizations including Squeaky Wheels (Bainbridge), West Sound Cycling Club (Kitsap), Port Townsend Bicycle Association, and Peninsula Trails Coalition (Olympic Peninsula) have used their local knowledge and technical expertise to collaborate with the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and WSDOT Olympic Region on crafting a pragmatic solution that addresses some of the vexing safety concerns of the 2009 bridge reconstruction project.
“This is all about safety for me and the West Sound Cycling Club,” said Lee Derror, former president of the West Sound Cycling Club. “Fixing the Hood Canal Bridge for bicycle use creates a safer link between Kitsap and the rest of the Olympic Peninsula – that’s something we can all support.”

WSDOT expects the contractor selection process to occur in August 2012. Once WSDOT selects the contractor, construction is expected to take approximately five months. Drivers and bicyclists can expect shoulder closures, lane closures and one-way alternating traffic throughout the project’s duration.

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7 Responses to Bicycle Alliance: WSDOT will improve biking surface on Hood Canal Bridge

  1. merlin says:

    What’s the speed limit on that bridge? Five feet must be better than three feet, but right up next to highway-speed traffic five feet still sounds terrifying to me.

  2. doug says:

    This will be nice. Though I’ve never found the bridge particularly difficult to ride, the extra two feet of space on the grated sections will certainly be nice.

  3. David Amiton says:

    Doug – That’s been my experience as well. As busy bridges go, it’s already pretty decent to have the 3′ plus what I consider a metal grate buffer. That said, I’m typically on the bridge for leisurely camping/touring rides at off-peak times. I suspect having a full 5′ of riding surface will be a boon, especially during peak travel times, heavy traffic, and nasty weather.

  4. Pingback: Bicycle Alliance: WSDOT will improve biking surface on Hood Canal … | Bicycle News

  5. Doug says:

    Though there’s only three feet of rideable surface, the overall shoulder width is easily 8 or 10 feet. It’s not a scary bridge to ride on at all. Traffic is probably going 45-55, but the grated sections make them a lot louder than they would be otherwise.

  6. Toddles says:

    I’ve ridden this once and it wasn’t too bad at all — except those damn grates. Otherwise it’s a pretty nice ride.

  7. Pingback: New Seattle-Port Townsend walk/bike ferry in the works | Seattle Bike Blog

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