Bridge builders mold the first of eight ‘saddles’

Another large piece of the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge was created Friday as crews molded one of eight “saddles” that will play a crucial role in keeping the span’s cables in place.

Tacoma Narrows Project spokeswoman Claudia Cornish from the state Department of Transportation said Atlas Foundry workers poured 73,000 pounds of molten steel and metal alloys to form the first of four splay saddles.

Each saddle will eventually weigh 39,500 pounds and be put to use aligning the bridge’s cables — made up of 19 bundles containing 464 individual wires each — as they go into the two anchorages.

Over the next few months, Atlas will also cast the bridge’s four “tower saddles.”

The tower saddles will be mounted on the bridge’s towers and will keep the cables in proper alignment as they are strung over the towers and across the Narrows.

The tower saddles will be cast in halves, with each final half weighing about 36,000 pounds.

Other bridge news this week:

--There are currently single-lane closures both directions of SR-16 on the Tacoma side of the bridge to allow crews to realign an eastbound lane. One eastbound lane will be closed from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and one westbound lane from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

-- Concrete pours are scheduled on both the Gig Harbor and Tacoma caissons, and for both anchorages.

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