State Rep. Jesse Young (R) included $90,000 in a transportation budget that passed the state House this week to study using several retired carriers stationed at the Navy’s facility in Bremerton as part of the bridge span.
Young told the Northwest News Network, which first reported the story, that three carriers laid end-to-end could span the inlet. He favors using two carriers, supplemented by on-ramps and a span of concrete across the middle. He sees it as a tourist attraction.
“I know that people from around the world would come to drive across the deck of an aircraft carrier bridge,” Young told the network’s Olympia correspondent, Tom Banse.
The budget requires Washington’s Joint Transportation Committee to study the engineering feasibility of incorporating the decommissioned carriers into the bridge’s design.
But the Navy isn’t exactly leaping to hand over their retired carriers. A spokesman at Naval Sea Systems Command said the USS Independence, decommissioned in 1998 after 39 years on the high seas, will be towed later this year to Brownsville, Tex., where it will be turned into scrap. And the USS Kitty Hawk, also decommissioned in 1998, will be held in reserve until a new carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, is fully commissioned next year.
But it’s a clever idea. The Joint Transportation Committee is due to report back on the feasibility of the project, regardless of whether Washington gets its carriers, by the end of the year.