Tacoma Power celebrates Tacoma Narrows crossing completion

Tacoma Power, the Bonneville Power Administration, construction contractors and neighbors celebrated the completion of the new Tacoma Narrows power line on May 24 — 81 years to the day after the celebration for the completion of the Cushman Project and first Tacoma Narrows power line.

“The 6,240-foot-long power line crossing was an engineering marvel when it was built in 1926,” said Tacoma Power Superintendent Bill Gaines. “Rebuilding it today was equally challenging. It’s still among the longest crossings in the world. Everyone who worked on it should be very proud of their accomplishments.”

Tacoma Power replaced the four 325-foot-high towers (two on each side of the Tacoma Narrows) with two 450-foot-high towers (one on each side) and the power lines between the towers. After 80 years, the towers had reached their life span and required extensive and expensive maintenance. Tacoma Power replaced the towers and line to ensure that they will not pose any safety risks in the future.

Replacing the towers was more practical and affordable than repairing the existing towers. Tacoma Power paid $4 million of the $12 million cost and the Bonneville Power Administration paid the remainder. The lines provide power to BPA customers on the Key and Kitsap peninsulas.

“This project is a successful example of BPA and Tacoma Power partnering on transmission infrastructure projects to improve service to the people of the Pacific Northwest,” said Mark Gendron, BPA vice president of requirements marketing. “This crossing is a vital link for electric service to Peninsula Light Company and forms a major portion of the Tacoma Power electrical transmission system. Today we have new high-capacity lines in service on two magnificent new towers. This major accomplishment has come about through the combined efforts of many Bonneville and Tacoma Power employees.”