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January 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Windy night closed 520 bridge for 40 minutes of maintenance

The 520 bridge was closed briefly twice early this morning when strong winds knocked some bridge finger plates loose in the westbound lanes of the span.

Emergency work closed the bridge for about 30 minutes starting at midnight for repairs to one portion of the span. The bridge was closed 10-15 minutes starting at 1 a.m. to repair another portion, according to Jeff Switzer with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Alarms on the bridge were triggered by the high winds, alerting crews that were on standby that something was wrong, Switzer said.

Bolts holding the finger plates (the metal expansion joints between sections of the bridge) had come loose and needed to be replaced.

The span’s drawbridges had to be raised so maintenance crews could work on them, Spitzer said.

Wind gusts reached about 47 miles per hours last night. Generally, the state closes the bridge when sustained winds reach 50 miles an hour for 15 minutes.

Comments | More in Traffic & Transit, Weather Beat | Topics: 520 bridge, maintenance, wind

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