The Third Bridge

Currently Under Construction




In Tacoma, Washington a second Tacoma Narrows is scheduled to be constructed along side the existing structure.  Construction has started (October 2002) and is the overall project is expected to cost $800 million..  The existing Tacoma Narrows Bridge was designed to carry 60,000 cars daily and now it carries approximately 90,000 a day.  The new bridge would significantly increase traffic flow and reduce common congestion which now results in three to four hour backups for commuters.  On March 15, 2000 a green light was given by the federal government and the Dept. of Transportation for this project to proceed.  United Infrastructure is granted authorization to continue with project design, financing, construction and operation of the second Tacoma Narrows bridge. 

The project scope includes a 3.4-mile segment of SR 16 extending from the Jackson Avenue interchange in Tacoma to a new interchange at 24th/36th Streets in western Pierce County. The new suspension bridge will be built parallel to and south of the existing Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and will have a total length of 5,400 feet. The new suspension bridge will provide three standard width lanes for eastbound traffic, with shoulders and a separated bike / pedestrian pathway. The new bridge will be designed to accommodate a second deck in the future. This is a landmark project. With a center length span of 2,800 feet, the new bridge represents the longest suspension bridge to be built in the United States since the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was opened in 1964

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Project Specifications and Fact Sheet (From WSDOT)

New Suspension Bridge
(Parallel and Adjacent to Existing Bridge)

Tower Foundations (Caissons)
· Overall size 130' x 80' x 225' deep (34,000 cubic
yards of concrete each)
· 7 knot (max) reversible currents
· 15' tidal swings
· Water depth 150'
· 100' Scour potential
· Seismic zone

· Concrete towers 510 feet high (8,000 cubic yards of concrete each)
· Towers and caissons designed for second deck (either road or light rail)
to be added in the future

· Conventional gravity anchorages (23,000 cubic yards of concrete each)

Suspension System
· Main cables 21 inches in diameter made of 5,500 tons of wire

Suspended Superstructure
· 5,400' total length, 2,800' main span
· Three 12' traffic lanes, two 10' shoulders, and a 10' bicycle/pedestrian path separated by a barrier from shoulders
· Orthotropic deck with stiffening truss; total deck weight of 20,000 tons
· Aerodynamic influence of parallel suspension bridges
· 200' distance between center lines of bridge decks

· 2.5 miles of approach roads and improvements
· Toll Plaza and Operations Center
· Maintenance Facility

Existing Suspension Bridge

· Fill in existing grating
· Replace rub rail with barrier

Seismic Upgrades
· Reinforcement of approach span supports


Project Facts

Owner: Washington State Department of Transportation
Design-Builder: Tacoma Narrows Constructors (TNC), a Bechtel and Kiewit Pacific joint venture, headquartered in Gig Harbor, Washington
Toll System Supply and Installer: Transcore, Inc.
WSDOT Project Website:
WSDOT Project Office: 1-877-7Narrows (1-877-762-7769), (253) 534-4640

Project Details: The new State Route 16 (SR 16) Tacoma Narrows Bridge - the first long-span suspension bridge to be built in the United States since 1964 - will be 5,413 feet long, with a 2,800-foot main span and approximately 510-foot-tall towers, three traffic lanes, shoulders on both sides, and a separated bicycle/pedestrian path. The new bridge will carry eastbound traffic. The configuration will match and run parallel to westbound traffic and allow for standard-width traffic lanes (12-feet wide). The design will also allow for a future second deck. Other construction will include a toll plaza, access lanes, and a new interchange on the west shore. An additional high occupancy vehicle traffic lane with be constructed in each direction between the nearest interchanges on each side. Portions of the existing bridge will be structurally upgraded and reconfigured to three full-size lanes for westbound traffic. The existing bridge deck will be modified to remove surface grates.

Tacoma Narrows Constructors, a joint venture of Bechtel and Kiewit Pacific, is responsible for carrying out the bridge design and construction project. This fully integrated team of international and local suspension bridge specialists and experts is providing engineering management, procurement, and construction under a design-build, fixed-price, and lump-sum contract with WSDOT. The project notice to proceed was provided to the design-builder in September 2002. The project is schedule to be completed in early 2008.

Transcore, the toll system and installation company, is a leader in providing transaction-based systems and services for mobile payment such as toll collection systems. Transcore is also a leader in the field of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and provides traffic management systems and services throughout the world.

Toll Information: A $3.00 toll will be charged on the eastbound (new) bridge only beginning when the new bridge is completed and opened to traffic sometime in 2007. Toll increases are initially estimated to rise $1.00 approximately every 4 years until reaching $6.00 in 2016 through 2030. The Washington State Transportation Commission will establish tolls with advice from a citizen advisory committee of people who live in the project area and are appointed by the Governor.


Financial Information (From WSDOT)

About $800 million of tax-exempt bond financing is required to support the proposed Tacoma Narrows Bridge project. The state has funded $50 million and provided certain tax exemptions and tax deferrals that help to reduce the project costs. Upon opening, a toll will be charged to cross the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the eastbound direction. The toll will initially be set at $3.00. Future tolls will be set by the Transportation Commission with recommendations by the Citizen Advisory Committee appointed by the Governor. Citizen Committee members must reside within the project area.

Design/Build Agreement Summary (From WSDOT)

The Design/Build Agreement for Tacoma Narrows Bridge Project defines the terms and conditions under which the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will be built by Tacoma Narrows Constructors, or TNC, a joint venture of Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation and Kiewit Pacific Company.

Contact Price

WSDOT will pay TNC a fixed price of $615 million. This does not include WSDOT's costs of contract administration or contingency funds. Monthly payments will be tied to progress over expected construction duration of 1,980 days (65 months).

Construction is expected to begin as soon as September, once financing bonds are issued and WSDOT issues TNC a "Notice to Proceed."

TNC's Obligations Include:

  • Building a new suspension bridge south of the existing bridge
  • Upgrading the existing bridge to current seismic standards.
  • Improving SR 16; new 36th Street interchange, new 24th Street over-crossing and adding one additional lane on each direction of SR 16 between Jackson Avenue and the new 36th Street interchange.
  • Readiness for the toll contractor to begin installing the system in just over three years after notice to proceed.
  • Completion of the new bridge and related highway improvements to be ready for traffic in just over four and one-half years.
  • Completion of all the work including the existing bridge seismic and deck improvements in about five and one-half years. TNC is required to pay financial penalties to WSDOT for TNC's unexcused failure to meet these completion dates.

Other items in the agreement include:

  • WSDOT Oversight Responsibilities
  • Allocation of Risks to WSDOT and TNC
  • Warranties
  • Insurance
  • Dispute Resolution




In January of 1994, the WSDOT advertised a request for public private proposals to relieve congestion in the 3.4 mile project area and bridge. Ultimately, the concept proposed by United Infrastructure Washington, Inc., was selected to proceed under the PPI Act. In 1995, Legislation was enacted which amended the PPI act and required a public vote of the project. In preparing for the advisory vote, the department conducted a comprehensive analysis of traffic patterns and economic impacts to define the geographic boundary of the effected project area (area of users impacted by tolls). In addition, once this area was defined, a citizens advisory committee was formed to advise WSDOT on all aspects of developing the advisory election. The advisory election for the project was held in a November 1998 General Election. The public was asked, "Should the Tacoma Narrows Bridge be modified and a parallel bridge constructed, financed by tolls on bridge traffic and operated as a public-private partnership?" The majority of the voters answered "Yes." On the basis of this vote, the project was further developed and WSDOT and United Infrastructure of Washington have worked hard to develop the project to its current state of readiness.


Project Update:


TACOMA – The Washington State Department of Transportation today issued a “notice to proceed” to Tacoma Narrows Constructors, the project’s design-build contractor, and Transcore, the project’s toll supplier and installer.

WSDOT this week also finalized a $ 9.1 million Toll System Supply and Installation Agreement with Transcore, L.P., a Delaware Limited Partnership.

Issuing the notices allow construction on the project to proceed. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for 9:30 a.m., Saturday, October 5 at War Memorial Park in Tacoma. The park is located at the east end of the existing bridge.


Gov. Gary Locke has signed off on the compromise that broke the long-running and contentious deadlock over building a new Tacoma Narrows bridge, clearing the way for construction to begin on the $800 million span this summer.

for more info click below....


Questions, Comments or Contributions

Revised: September 24, 2003 10:08:17 AM .