Here's how to reach Port Townsend and other Olympic Peninsula communities while the Hood Canal bridge is closed for reconstruction, May 1 to mid-June 2009.

If you live around Seattle or anywhere east of Hood Canal, and you want to visit Port Townsend soon, you might want to go this month. It gets complicated come May 1.

That’s when the state will close the Hood Canal Bridge for about six weeks, until mid-June, to rebuild the eastern half of the aging span.

See the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Web site,, or call 877-595-4222, for information on how to get to Port Townsend and other Olympic Peninsula communities while the bridge is closed.

The department recommends these options:

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• Drive north on Interstate 5 to Mukilteo and take the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry to Whidbey Island. Drive from there to Keystone, and take the Keystone/Port Townsend ferry to Port Townsend (reservations recommended; call 511). Estimated travel time is about 2.5 hours (65 miles of driving), not including ferry waits. See for schedules.

• Take the Seattle/Bremerton ferry from the downtown Seattle waterfront, drive around Hood Canal via Highway 3 to Highway 101 to Highway 20. Estimated travel time is about four hours (130 miles, 75 more than the route over the bridge).

• Drive via Olympia, going south on Interstate 5 to Highway 101, then north to Highway 20 and Port Townsend (160 miles). Estimated drive time is about 3 ½ hours (or more, depending on traffic).

• A free passenger-only water shuttle will run every half-hour, 4 a.m.-11 p.m. daily, between docks at Lofall in Kitsap County and South Point in Jefferson County. See and for information on connecting bus service to Port Townsend or other ferry docks.

• Washington State Ferries will run a full-size ferry between Edmonds and Port Townsend during the closure, with one round-trip sailing per evening, Sunday through Thursday.

The service is primarily designed to ease the burden on freight haulers, and commercial vehicles will have priority. The ferry will leave Edmonds at 8:40 p.m. and depart Port Townsend at 10:40 p.m. Call 206-464-6400 for reservations.

Carol Pucci, The Seattle Times