Kitsap bids farewell to the historic Manette Bridge

The first time people used the Manette Bridge

The last time people used the Manette Bridge

By guest blogger Joe Irwin

A community icon that was welcomed with open arms by residents of Bremerton and Manette 80 years ago was ushered out the same way last month. The Manette Bridge had served Kitsap County well throughout its long tenure across the Port Washington Narrows, but was showing its age, too.

It closed for good to motorists at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 24. Even so, memories of the bridge will live on through the hundreds of people who attended a farewell parade that day and thousands more who have crossed it during their lifetimes. 

Crowds began gathering at the bridge early in the morning, to watch a classic car parade, swap stories and share their thoughts on the closing of one bridge and the opening of another. Our staff who attended the event brought commemorative posters to mark the occasion. They were hot items, indeed, and within an hour all 100 of the 11x17 posters had been snatched up by residents. Even then, dozens of people requested the unique image that shows the old bridge fading into the new one.

In August 2010, we, along with the contractor Manson-Mowat, started the $60 million project to replace the old structure with a new, wider bridge that features 11-foot-wide lanes, 5-foot-wide shoulders, a 10-foot-wide pedestrian walkway, a new roundabout to better accommodate traffic flows and a renovated viewscape that overlooks the Narrows in Manette.

While residents in attendance at the farewell ceremony will certainly miss the old bridge, there was no question that the people of Bremerton and Manette were looking forward to the new one. They won’t have to wait too long, either.

 The new bridge is scheduled to open Nov. 10, bringing to end a closure period of about four months. If the July event was any indication of the excitement the community is feeling about the project, the opening will be a joyous occasion that recognizes the past and looks ahead to the future.

Do you have a favorite memory of the Manette Bridge?