The Port Angeles-based operator of the Victoria Express passenger ferries will provide a free shuttle across Hood Canal during the six-week bridge closure in May and June.
The two boats, Victoria Express II and another vessel, will begin practice runs in late April on the 15-minute trip between South Point in Jefferson County and Lofall in Kitsap County.
The shuttle service begins May 1. The state Department of Transportation announced the contract award last week.
The boat will depart the docks in Lofall and South Point every half hour between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. during the six-week bridge closure. The 149-passenger vessels will be able to transport more than 11,000 people daily.
Both water shuttle docks will be limited to buses.
Two temporary 1,500-vehicle park and ride lots will be operated at the Fred Hill Materials' Shine Pit in Jefferson County and at Port Gamble in Kitsap County.
An express bus will operate between the park-and-ride lot at the Shine Pit and the South Point water shuttle dock, and between the park and ride lot at Port Gamble and the water shuttle dock at Lofall.
Clallam Transit plans to provide daily express transit service from the Port Angeles/Sequim area to the South Point water shuttle dock for the six-week closure period in May and June.
The boats will tie up overnight on the Jefferson County side to be available for medical emergencies, said DOT spokeswoman Becky Hixson.
Last month, crews from DOT and Kiewit-General began pile-driving the 80- to 100-foot-long beams to secure the two 30-by-80-foot floating docks at South Point and Lofall.
The docks and 150-foot gangways will be installed in late March and early April.
The Hood Canal bridge retrofit and replacement project is 88 percent complete.
For more information, visit www.hoodcanalbridge.com.
Reach Brian Gawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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