New Manette Bridge opens in Bremerton

By guest blogger Joe Irwin 

New Manette Bridge open to traffic
It was a case of “out with the old and in with the new” over the scenic Port Washington Narrows on Nov. 10.

The old: a rusted, worn down, 81-year-old bridge that lacked shoulders and, due to structural deficiencies, had weight restrictions imposed on it in 2008.

The new: a wider, safer bridge that features, two 11-foot-wide lanes, two 5-foot-wide shoulders, and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian walkway.

Federal, state and city officials joined hundreds of local residents to mark the opening of the new Manette Bridge – reminiscing fondly about the past and looking forward to the future.

The celebration brought everyone from representatives from the Armed Forces to the Bremerton High School Marching Band. It also brought the festive air of music, song and cheers. The celebration continued on with honking horns as the first cars made their way across the bridge.

The $60.6 million Manette Bridge Replacement Project not only results in a more driver-, pedestrian-, and bicyclist-friendly structure, but it also adds a new roundabout in Manette that will keep traffic flowing for years to come.

Crews from Manson-Mowat, the contractor that built the bridge, are still hard at work on site, expanding the nearby Whitey Domstad Viewscape that overlooks the Port Washington Narrows. Manson-Mowat is gearing up to tear down the old Manette Bridge, a hefty task in itself that is scheduled to wrap up in February 2012.

The old bridge’s in-water concrete supports will be demolished later in 2012, marking the end of a structure that eight decades ago brought east and west together across the narrows, and provided direct access for Manette and Bremerton residents that didn’t require a boat.

Among those who were first to cross the new bridge were a handful of people who had also crossed the original bridge in 1931. Now how many people can claim to have been on hand to open the same bridge twice? Truly, Nov. 10 was a great day for many, and a uniquely historical day for a few.

Find out more about the event and check out photos of the celebration.