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What are the early returns on bridge, tolls?

In an attempt to answer any and all questions that commuters or other users of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge may have about the span’s past six months, the Washington State Department of Transportation is hosting an open house tomorrow in Gig Harbor

“It’s our way of sharing information,” said Janet Matkin, a spokeswoman for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. “It will be kind of a report card on what has happened the past six months.”

Matkin said that to a certain extent, the open house is in response to commuter questions and concerns, some of which were posed following a demonstration by WSDOT staff last year of where toll dollars were going.

“Some of that response was that they wanted more information,” she said.

For tomorrow’s open house, Matkin said WSDOT staff will be manning four stations that will outline the bridge’s operations, budget and finance, Good To Go! (the WSDOT’s electronic toll collection system) and bridge construction.

Matkin said the the bridge construction information will include updates on the final months of the retrofitting process on the older TNB span.

“At least one lane is closed all the time,” she said, explaining that all four lanes will be opened once the retrofitting is complete.

As for the new span, she said the permanent bicycle/pedestrian path is now open. At 10-feet wide, it is wide enough to accommodate both types of traffic in both directions, and is separated from the car traffic by a permanent barrier.

As for the Good To Go! booth, Matkin said people can get general information about the program, and also sign up for an account.

“On the off chance there is anyone who hasn’t signed up yet,” she said.

Matkin said her agency hopes to have such open houses on a regular basis, though she was not yet sure how often they would be held.

In the meantime, she said the WSDOT is also unveiling new pages on its Web site that include data on TNB, including data on traffic and revenue, as well as budget and financial information.

“This is the first time we’ve put that information on the Web site,” she said.

The site is at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/operations/tolling.

The open house is tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, located at 3510 Grandview Street in Gig Harbor.

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