UPDATE, 1 p.m., 1/21/12
All lanes on both directions of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge are now open for traffic.
UPDATE, 6:36 p.m., 1/20/12
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is back open, according to the Washington State Patrol Trooper Guy Gill.
Gill wrote the following update on Twitter.
"Narrows update: Center lanes OPEN!!!”
Just after 6:30 p.m., the Washington State Department of Transportation set up signs and allowed drivers to cross the bridge using only the center lanes.
Earlier in the day, officials closed off both directions of the heavily used bridge after large chunks of ice were reportedly falling and nearly hitting some drivers.
A local commuter, Gaby Tejada, wrote on Gig Harbor Patch's Facebook page that she was nearly hit by a "HUGE chunk of ice crossing the bridge" at noon today.
According to Pierce County, its Emergency Operations Center/Duty Officer will continue to monitor bridge status.
UPDATE, 5:23 p.m., 1/20/12
Washington State Patrol spokesman Guy Gill just sent out the following Tweet:
"Update: ETA for re-opening the Narrows Bridges is 1 hour."
Let's keep our fingers crossed.
The Washington State Patrol closed both directions of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge due to falling ice Friday.
As of 2:30 p.m., drivers waiting to cross the bridge could be stuck for another two hours, according to The News Tribune.
Just before noon, Trooper Guy Gill tweeted the following on his Twitter account:
"Both Tacoma Narrows Bridges are being closed shortly because large ice chunks falling onto the bridge deck."
The decision to close the bridges was made after officials received several reports of cars nearly or being struck by large pieces of ice, according to Gill.
It is unknown how long the closure will last. Authorities must first perform an assessment.
The last time the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was closed for ice was Dec. 27, 1996.
Friday's closure is the latest blow from severe winter weather that started late Tuesday and blanketed the area with first snow and then ice, causing widespread power outages in the Puget Sound region.
With the Narrows bridge closed, residents of Gig Harbor and elsewhere on the peninsula lose a major commuting route. Instead, you can take the following ferries: Fauntleroy-Southworth; Point Defiance-Vashon-Southworth; Seattle-Bremerton; or drive around through (albeit treacherous) Mason County.
Here's a link to the Washington State Ferries schedules.
The Washington State Department of Transportation said if drivers who drove beyond the toll equipment and are not able to travel across the bridge, their Good To Go! accounts will be credited.
Check back on Patch as more information becomes available.