40 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | FEB. 17 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
> PROFILE DBE ELECTRIC AND AMAYA ELECTRIC
Bridge lighting and tolls
The new bridge has an extensive lighting system. DBE Electric provided pedestrian and bicycle pathway on the regional
shared-use path (RSUP), roadway and bollard pathway. The
company also installed cabinets for lighting, ATM signs, a data
station, loops, CCTV, fiber and electrical equipment and cabinets to operate all the systems.
DBE Electric also installed emergency signals that are run
out of controller cabinets at each location, then tied to the fiber
system. WSDOT operates the entire bridge’s electrical systems
remotely from its traffic management center. For pedestrian
lighting, DBE installed 311 lighting fixtures for the RSUP and
five decorative lighting fixtures. Another 246 fixtures were
installed for illuminating the roadway for traffic.
“There are illuminated sentinels with art deco features,
which give the bridge a unique look,” Lerdahl said.
The bridge also has a ramp, traffic light and metering system
to manage traffic flow onto the bridge. Signage includes traditional speed limit signs, electronic lane and speed control signs.
For signage, DBE Electric installed the gantries that the signs
are mounted on, with power running through them.
DBE Electric built the electronic tolling gantries for permanent and temporary tolling systems. This tolling system
features cameras and sensors to photograph each license
plate as a car passes. The car’s owner then receives a bill,
eliminating the need for toll collectors or stopping or slowing
by vehicles to pay tolls. System cabling includes fiber backbone to the automated system that interfaces with sensors
The bridge’s electronic signs display the toll amount, Amber
Alerts and any other public announcements.
Worker safety was a matter of education and DBE Electric and
KGM held frequent safety meetings.
“Each project has its own unique challenges and safety
issues,” Lerdahl said. “We were able to layer in our own safety
programs with [KGM’s].”
The electricians took part in daily and weekly safety and
toolbox meetings. Safety managers drove up and down the
bridge every day during the project. One fatality from KGM’s
crew did occur during the project, providing a tragic reminder
that accidents only take one second to occur.
At peak, leading up to the bridge opening in April 2016, there
were about 25 DBE electricians onsite. DBE Electric crews
altogether installed more than 300 miles of electrical wire and
various electronic components and sensors along the bridge’s
entire length—all electronically linked to a new maintenance
facility in Medina, Wash., and WSDOT’s northwest regional
office in Shoreline, Wash. The project included 62,500 feet of
conduit and 24,000 feet of fiber.
DBE Electric benefitted from its small, woman-owned
USDOT certification to earn the project. According to a WSDOT
study in 2014, only 1. 8 percent of construction companies in the
area are owned by women.
Lerdahl said her company’s qualification as a Disadvantaged
Business Enterprise may have made the difference in accessing
a project such as this. She never would have had an opportunity
to participate in a project like this and, as a result, would have
missed out on accelerating her own professional growth and
that of her company.
“[This never would have happened] were it not for the programs in place by the Federal Highway Administration that
require participation from disadvantaged business enterprises,”
For DBE Electric, the project served as a vehicle to other
large design/build projects.
“Design/build is getting to be one of the preferred models
of delivering projects, so it’s been a great opportunity for me to
learn more myself,” Lerdahl said. “One way to build a business
is to take on this kind of work.”
However, getting the job is only the first step, she said. It’s
the work of her expert team and the company itself that takes
a project to successful completion.
“If you give a person a chance, they can step up,” she said.
“I got a great hands-on education in construction management
just working side by side with the [KGM] team.”
As the new bridge opened to drivers, its 50-year-old pre-
decessor was fully decommissioned. The new, six-lane bridge
is 130 feet longer than the one it replaced. It is designed to be
resistant to windstorms up to 89 miles per hour; has one HOV
lane in each direction and wider, safer shoulders for emergency
parking. It features a 14-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian path
on its north side. It is built to eventually accommodate light rail.
The old bridge is being floated away on pontoons to an
industrial site for a combination of disposal and recycling. The
pontoons were sold to a recycling company that plans to reuse
the individual pontoons for other projects.
An independent contest in 2012 sought ideas for the 33
pontoons of the old bridge, with solutions ranging from an
elevated park like New York’s High Line to partial submersion
for walking paths. The first pontoon of the old bridge to be
disassembled was towed through the Lake Washington Ship
Canal in July.
S WEDBERG is a freelance writer based in western Washington.
She can be reached at
Bridge visitors took to the
highway lanes on April 2, 2016.