Monday, July 9, 2012

Front-row seating for the new 520

The opponents litigate, WSDOT constructs

A new condo owner in Lakeshore was heard to complain recently about the fact that almost as soon as he moved into his place a giant barge crane pulled up and moored itself right in the middle of what had previously been a pristine view of the Lake.  He’s reported to have exclaimed to a neighbor, “Am I going to have to deal with this for years?”  Probably so.

That barge crane, very evident to anyone driving towards the Lake on Madison Street, is part of the opening phase of what’s expected to be a three-year timetable for construction of the new SR-520 floating bridge.

That’s unless the opponents get their way, which is to stop the project at least until it can be designed to meet their objections. They go to court tomorrow morning, arguing that a less-invasive four-lane replacement highway across the Lake would be sufficient, given the bridge tolls currently in place.  The federal court hearing in Seattle, which begins at 10:00 a.m., will deal with the legal issues raised in the various briefs submitted by the Coalition for a Sustainable 520 and the respondents, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the feds. Information about the hearing, including copies of the briefs, is available on the Coalition's website.

Meanwhile, WSDOT's contractors, Kiewit/General/Manson (a joint venture), continue to work away on the Lake, though delivery of the first new pontoons from Aberdeen has been delayed because cracks were discovered in the first batch.  Although initial reports indicated that the problem had been fixed and WSDOT posted a video explaining the problem and the fix (available here), that particular solution apparently didn't entirely do the job. New cracks occurred. A review panel is supposed to figure out what to do and report back to WSDOT by today.

Medina is where the first pontoons will be positioned later this summer (late July at the earliest), to the west of the area where the Eastside landings are now being prepared:

Concrete for two of the 58 pontoon anchors has been poured and at least one gravity anchor installed. Gradually, the pontoons will advance toward our side of the lake, and the bridge will be constructed over them. We, of course, will have a front-row seat for all of this action.

[Lower photo courtesy of WSDOT.]


  1. Silver lining is that Medina will get the first pontoons, with all their potential glitches. By the time the pontoons get to the Seattle side, maybe the glitches will be all worked out?

    (BTW, this is just a joke since a messed up pontoon around Medina would simply dictate where the bridge was most likely break, not the home site of the driver driving then).

  2. Let's see.....we taxpayers have been paying hundreds of millions of dollars for this bridge project for over a decade already. Now it is finally generating some revenue to pay some bills and the Coalition wants to:

    1) Stop the project
    2) Scrap the hundreds of millions of dollars in materials and labor that has been expended so far on construction
    3) Re-start the entire process, spending years and many more millions of dollars worth of taxpayer money re-designing it
    4) Start construction anew when materials and labor will be more expensive

    Anyone else not wishing them luck?

  3. What the heck are the objections? That it is an eyesore? I live in Redmond and the toll is a wallet sore. It is roughly $7/day to go back and forth. Think the instituted tolls will be lifted once the bridge is done? Seriously- no. But the eyesore will be gone.

  4. I have a bad feeling about this project. The beer drinking, the cracked pontoons that are being 'repaired'..and now this: A new condo owner is complaining about his view.


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