While another important facet of the Johnson Street Bridge project will take place tomorrow (Feb. 6), the testing that will begin mid-morning may prove rather uneventful.
“If you stand there, you’re going to be really bored,” said project director Jonathan Huggett.
Engineers and specialists will survey the new bridge, checking things like the hydraulics and making sure the wheels are in place on the rail. Testing was delayed from Feb. 4 due to the high winds the weekend previous that set the project’s schedule back.
The team will slowly open the bridge, one and a half degrees at a time. At its most upright position, it will reach an angle of 77 degrees, a process Huggett said will take roughly five hours tomorrow, but just 90 seconds when the bridge opens for regular traffic.
Huggett warns that people shouldn’t be worried if there’s a glitch, since that’s what the testing phase is for. “This is engineering, there’s always a glitch. But we’ll fix it.”
The crew has been working non-stop, overnight and through the weekends to make the March deadline, he said. Bolting the last few pieces together, along with some grouting and paint touch-ups, are all that will be left after a safety audit ensures all the mechanical and electrical systems are working.
Then the crew will quickly switch gears and work on demolishing the old bridge, Huggett said. The plan is to dismantle it in three large pieces as soon as the new bridge is open to traffic.
As for the marine channel, Huggett said he is eager to open that back up to the businesses that depend on it, and hopes that will happen by Wednesday morning.
Tuesday’s testing of the new Johnson Street Bridge will not affect vehicle traffic on the existing bridge.