Blue Bridge Flag is Back Waving at Traffic - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Blue Bridge Flag is Back Waving at Traffic

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It took crews under three hours to put the flag back up. It took crews under three hours to put the flag back up.
KENNEWICK, WA- The American flag was flown on the Blue Bridge again after being taken down for repairs.

“It was like another day at the office,” said Jim Phelan, steeplejack.

That is not what most would say when being lifted 100 feet off the ground then climbing another 50 feet to reach the top of the flagpole. Jim Phelan has 48 years of experience climbing, even in windy conditions. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation said it is better to do it now than to wait until it gets colder.

“Well we're running out of weather and we kind of knew it was getting kind of late in the year.  Even though it's kind of cold and windy, we want to get it done before winter really hits,” said Jim Henderson, WSDOT maintenance superintendent.

The wind did slow down the process, but another main concern was just reaching the pole.

“There's not a lot of equipment that will even reach 150 feet,” said Henderson.

The project cost close to $10,000 to replace the broken cable, to close eight ramps of traffic, and anything else to make sure the task was completed.  They replaced the pulley system and everything else on the flagpole

“I heard it was going to get a little breezy, but we needed to get the job done and get the flag back up and open the bridge back up,” said Phelan.

“We feel very fortunate that we've go things going now and we're really excited to get this taken care of,” said Henderson.

Crews said those winds at the top of the flagpole were over 25 mph.