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Author Topic: New SR 520 Floating Bridge  (Read 23763 times)


Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2016, 05:26:40 PM »

Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2016, 07:05:47 PM »

The first of the 31 pontoons of the old bridge is being floated through the ship canal right now.

jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2017, 02:14:52 PM »

With the old bridge basically all but gone, those lit-up sentinels really stand out. I'd love to have seen more stylized support columns to go along with those futuristic sentinels, but hey, it's still a pretty damn cool bridge.

photo via WSDOT flickr


« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 02:18:14 PM by jakeroot »
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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2017, 03:34:24 PM »

Now that one bridge is built, it is time to add a second...LOL!  Seriously though, Seattle traffic has got to rank up there with the rest of congested metro areas in this country.  How much capacity can be added in such a narrow isthmus?  It seems like WSDOT has done about all they can with I-5 short of paving the entire city into a 100 lane freeway.  When I look at Seattle and SoCal, I see designs emerging for metroplexes that I never would have imagined in the 20th century.  It will be interesting to see which ones really work and how they get integrated with public transit additions so people can keep on the move. 

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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2017, 03:50:58 PM »

Now that one bridge is built, it is time to add a second...LOL!  Seriously though, Seattle traffic has got to rank up there with the rest of congested metro areas in this country.  How much capacity can be added in such a narrow isthmus?  It seems like WSDOT has done about all they can with I-5 short of paving the entire city into a 100 lane freeway.  When I look at Seattle and SoCal, I see designs emerging for metroplexes that I never would have imagined in the 20th century.  It will be interesting to see which ones really work and how they get integrated with public transit additions so people can keep on the move.

WSDOT seems to be a bit bi-polar when approaching ways to solve congestion in Seattle. On one hand, they're working tirelessly to add HOV/bus/toll facilities to major roadways that don't currently have them, so as to ensure faster travel for those who are choosing a more economical transport choice (bus, carpool, motorbike, etc). But, on the other hand, they are very willing to add general purpose capacity (a decidedly less economical mode of transport). Two new freeways in the Seattle area will begin construction in a couple years, and neither, at this stage, will include any sort of transit/HOV accommodation, which is definitely unfortunate (perhaps the legislature will assign more money to the projects to get them built out completely from the get-go).

As for the 520's capacity, even with the lane drop approaching the Montlake area, traffic seems to be flowing pretty well on the new bridge (likely due to the addition of shoulders and HOV lanes). There were several studies before building the new bridge that suggested 8-lane alternatives (3+HOV on either side), but it was determined that it would encourage too many additional vehicles to use the bridge, would create massive tail-backs approaching the 5 (where the interchange is less than appropriate even for the 6-lane bridge), and was prohibitively expensive anyways.
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Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2017, 09:01:30 PM »

There was a proposal on the table to add a second, parallel bridge to 520 as early as the late 1960s. Would have made things even more difficult by making two bridges get replaced. I wonder how the WSDOT of the future will tackle this when the I-90 floating bridges need replacement.

The easy way to add more capacity to the Seattle isthmus is obviously digging tunnels and laying track down.  :-D

Short of that, prioritizing efficient modes like we're doing (but even more drastically, like adding bus lanes or converting HOV to bus-only *cough*I-5 between Seattle and Lynnwood*cough*) is the right move for now.

sparker

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2017, 04:52:35 AM »

Two new freeways in the Seattle area will begin construction in a couple years, and neither, at this stage, will include any sort of transit/HOV accommodation, which is definitely unfortunate (perhaps the legislature will assign more money to the projects to get them built out completely from the get-go).

A strictly freeway project w/o some transit provisions is indeed an unusual undertaking for the Seattle area.  Are there any published & available plans for these projects -- and are the general traffic lanes only an initial phase for a more comprehensive corridor concept in the long term? 
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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2017, 03:11:19 PM »

Two new freeways in the Seattle area will begin construction in a couple years, and neither, at this stage, will include any sort of transit/HOV accommodation, which is definitely unfortunate (perhaps the legislature will assign more money to the projects to get them built out completely from the get-go).

A strictly freeway project w/o some transit provisions is indeed an unusual undertaking for the Seattle area.  Are there any published & available plans for these projects -- and are the general traffic lanes only an initial phase for a more comprehensive corridor concept in the long term?

These two new freeways are on corridors that have been planned for at least fifty years. They include extending the WA 509 freeway south to I-5 in Des Moines, and extending the WA 167 freeway northwest from its current southern terminus in Puyallup to I-5 and then to the WA 509 freeway in the Port of Tacoma area. These projects have been combined into a Puget Sound Gateway megaproject, which apparently WSDOT has applied for a FASTLANE grant for this project.

sparker

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2017, 04:00:13 PM »

These two new freeways are on corridors that have been planned for at least fifty years. They include extending the WA 509 freeway south to I-5 in Des Moines, and extending the WA 167 freeway northwest from its current southern terminus in Puyallup to I-5 and then to the WA 509 freeway in the Port of Tacoma area. These projects have been combined into a Puget Sound Gateway megaproject, which apparently WSDOT has applied for a FASTLANE grant for this project.

From the admittedly overview-oriented map supplied, it looks as if the southern end of the 509 project actually utilizes part of WA 516; the map indicates the corridor concept working here extends it at least to WA 167.  Does this mean that the "Gateway" project intends to utilize 167 as a relief route for I-5 -- at least south of the new corridor?  And would any expansion or enhancement of either I-5 or WA 167 south of the corridor be envisioned in order to accommodate any additional traffic coming from 509/516?  Just curious!
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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2017, 04:42:57 PM »

From the admittedly overview-oriented map supplied, it looks as if the southern end of the 509 project actually utilizes part of WA 516; the map indicates the corridor concept working here extends it at least to WA 167.  Does this mean that the "Gateway" project intends to utilize 167 as a relief route for I-5 -- at least south of the new corridor?  And would any expansion or enhancement of either I-5 or WA 167 south of the corridor be envisioned in order to accommodate any additional traffic coming from 509/516?  Just curious!

As far as I know, the Valley Freeway (the 167) was built to accommodate increased growth in the Kent/Auburn/Puyallup Valleys. The extension from Hwy 161 to the 5 (and past the 5 to the 509, which will be called "509 Spur") is intended to connect the Port of Tacoma with these commerce centers (i.e. warehouses). The 509 extension, south from S 188 St to Hwy 516, where the intersection will be re-configured into a signalized square-about, may or may not be intended as a relief route for the 5, but it'll also help with SeaTac airport growth (I believe the new 509 freeway will include provisions for a new south airport entry).

The 167 may have, at its very beginning, been envisioned as a relief route for the 5, but the freeway has far outgrown its capacity since that point, so that's definitely not the plan anymore.
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Henry

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2017, 10:24:28 AM »

While the new bridge is nice, I do miss driving on the old bridge.
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2017, 12:14:59 PM »

While the new bridge is nice, I do miss driving on the old bridge.

The early 20th century bridges were pretty cool (Aurora, Fremont, University) but the latter 20th century... I could take or leave most of them. The old 520 bridge was certainly a nice bridge, but it wasn't the first floating bridge, nor was it the best. It just didn't do anything special, except close with alarming frequency any time it was windy. So, yeah, I'll take the new bridge.
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kkt

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2017, 12:29:03 PM »

Yeah, mostly I remember waves breaking over the side of the bridge and into my lane and wondering how deep a wave it would take to wash my car into the guard rail.  I wouldn't call the old bridge nice, exactly.  Built on the cheap and it showed.
Nice bridges don't have to be replaced in 50 years.
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2017, 08:26:45 PM »

Final section of the old bridge on its way out of Lake Washington (via the Hiram Chittenden locks) on 14 January:

photo via WSDOT Flickr

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Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2017, 01:04:47 AM »

Sadly the one time I decided to wait at Ballard Locks for one of these sections to appear, it was delayed until after sunset. Really wish they had stuck to a better schedule.

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2017, 01:41:15 AM »

From the admittedly overview-oriented map supplied, it looks as if the southern end of the 509 project actually utilizes part of WA 516; the map indicates the corridor concept working here extends it at least to WA 167.
Better map here: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/SR509FreightCongestionRelief/default.htm
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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2017, 05:20:50 AM »

From the admittedly overview-oriented map supplied, it looks as if the southern end of the 509 project actually utilizes part of WA 516; the map indicates the corridor concept working here extends it at least to WA 167.
Better map here: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/SR509FreightCongestionRelief/default.htm

From this, it looks as if WA 509 merges with I-5 somewhat north of the WA 516 interchange with I-5 itself receiving some sort of enhancement (extra/HOV/HOT? lanes) southward for a few miles; it doesn't appear that 516 isn't involved in the project except perhaps at its I-5 interchange.  Such would mean that (a) no real or implied connection to WA 167 exists within the WA 509 project description, and (b) the WA 167 extension project is a fully separate entity in most respects.
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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2017, 12:09:31 PM »

Thank you, NE2.  The aerial photo alone speaks volumes:  looks like WA 509 is being reconfigured into a SEA relief route, giving a 2nd and direct-southern access to the airport complex, and relieving WA 518 of the sole traffic burden there.  The WA 167 extension is then a stand-alone project to connect that route (and its proximity to distribution facilities in the Green River valley) to the Port of Tacoma, providing additional access to & from I-5 in the process.  Considering the expansion and increased usage of that port in the past couple of decades, such a connection is likely overdue.  Barring an expansion of the WA 18 corridor, these are likely the last new freeway projects in the SEATAC region for a long time!
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kkt

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2017, 01:27:56 PM »

It could lead a bypass of I-5's bottleneck through downtown Seattle, too, once the tunnel is open.  I-5 northbound at Kent, to 509, to 99 in Georgetown, to the Aurora Bridge.  Although it's expressway rather than freeway most of the way, a lot of the time it moves faster than I-5.
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2017, 02:08:44 PM »

It could lead a bypass of I-5's bottleneck through downtown Seattle, too, once the tunnel is open.  I-5 northbound at Kent, to 509, to 99 in Georgetown, to the Aurora Bridge.  Although it's expressway rather than freeway most of the way, a lot of the time it moves faster than I-5.

A couple of weeks ago, on my way down from Vancouver (going home to Tacoma), I got stuck in that usual congestion just barely north of Northgate. I decided to bail and cut through some neighborhoods, where I made my way over to Aurora. I took that all the way down, across the Viaduct, across the First Ave S Bridge, but I switched over to 99/599 at that point. We were HOV, so I was able to use the 599 HOV ramp, and we merged straight back into 5's HOV. Shaved about 20 minutes off, by my estimate.
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2017, 03:53:23 PM »

Barring an expansion of the WA 18 corridor, these are likely the last new freeway projects in the SEATAC region for a long time!

We will definitely see 18 expanded to full-freeway status within twenty years, but I don't see too many other freeway projects taking off. The 167/509 projects are massive undertakings, not seen since (probably) I-90 being finished in the early 90s (the 167 was fully freeway by the late 80s, and the 509 freeway was finished to S 188 St by the early 80s).

The only other freeway that the region might see in the next fifty years would be a total eastern bypass of Seattle, via either an I-7 or I-605 designation. Studies have been undertaken in the past to study the practicality of any possible route, and while all have been shown to not be worth the cost/effort, regional politicians may revisit the issue if Seattle traffic really starts to take its toll on the economy of the region, amongst other things. Realistically, we'll probably have 180 mph bullet trains rocketing between Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, before anything like a total bypass ever takes off.
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #48 on: July 21, 2017, 06:52:44 PM »

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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2017, 01:22:09 AM »

Picture of the 520 Bridge maintenance facility, situated directly below the eastern end of the bridge in Medina:



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