Monday, March 26, 2012

The new floating bridge gets real

If the building of those giant pontoons in Grays Harbor didn't make us take notice, and if the the recent though belated imposition of tolls on the 520 floating bridge didn't wake us up to the fact, then this week's announcement from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) should bring the reality of the situation into sharp focus for us all: the building of a new floating bridge across Lake Washington is soon to begin. And Madison Park is going to have a front-row seat.

Madison Park Blogger has posted 30 stories about the floating bridge over the past three years.  Though some of these have been about weekend closures, many have been about the controversial nature of the new bridge and the practical implications for Madison Park of both the construction and the eventual bigger, higher, and broader floating structure that is to be built (e.g. "Say bye bye to those Arboretum ramps!").

We intend to continue chronicling the progress of this project and its impact on our community, but those who are interested in learning first hand about what to expect will have an opportunity to hear the story right from the source (WSDOT, that is) at public presentations to be held at the Museum of History and Industry (2700 24th Avenue E.) at 5:00 pm and again at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, March 28.

One of the biggest impacts of this project on Madison Park will be the removal of the ramps to and from SR 520 in the Washington Park Arboretum.  In the original project plans, the westbound exit ramp to Lake Washington Boulevard was to be closed in 2012, near the start of construction. The eastbound ramp from the Arboretum was not to be closed until near the end of construction in 2015.  At project end, the "ramps to nowhere" were also to be demolished and trucked away.  Is this still the game plan?  We've asked WSDOT to confirm this schedule, and our sources there tell us they are working on an answer.

The construction project team conducted a press conference today which we were unable to attend, but WSDOT was kind enough to send us the press information, which we've just begun reviewing.  We believe this is the first time that WSDOT has provided close-up graphic views of the bridge from water level (aka "elevations").

Here is what they show as a view of the bridge from the vantage point closest to Madison Park (click to enlarge):

Here's a close-up of that image:

The WSDOT package has a lot graphics that we will be sharing with you as the opportunity presents itself.  For more information on the construction project's steps, click here.  Construction, by the way, will begin on the Medina side.  A link to more renderings of the new bridge is available here

1 comment:

  1. Great set of information. Thanks for all your efforts to inform us.


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