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Author Topic: New SR 520 Floating Bridge  (Read 21866 times)

Bruce

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New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« on: January 13, 2016, 08:18:50 PM »

WSDOT has finally announced the details of their grand opening of the replacement for the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (which carries WA-520 across Lake Washington from Seattle towards Bellevue). The new bridge is the world's longest floating bridge (surpassing the original span by a few feet) and will open in 4 stages in April:

  • Saturday, April 2: Community fun run/walk organized by Virginia Mason
  • Sunday, April 3: Bike ride organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Monday, April 11: Westbound traffic shifts to the new bridge
  • Monday, April 25: Eastbound traffic shifts to the new bridge

Read more in WSDOT's press release, the celebration website and The Seattle Times.

Here's a picture of the old and new bridges I took from Evergreen Point (the eastern end, looking west) in November:

« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 10:57:05 PM by Bickendan »
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707

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2016, 02:05:05 AM »

Holy Christmas, that bridge looks like it got hit with an ugly stick!
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 04:28:40 AM »

Holy Christmas, that bridge looks like it got hit with an ugly stick!

It's not quite finished yet. There's still plenty of aesthetic work to complete.
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kkt

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2016, 12:40:55 PM »

Wow, I didn't realize it was that close to opening.

Will there be another chance to walk across the old span after it closes to cars before it gets demolished?
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2016, 02:58:53 PM »

Here's the final design. Note the tall lit structures, called "sentinels", which will be "armed with lasers to fend off marauding invaders", as well as "amuse our feline overlords" (1):



Jokes aside, I think they're just tall things that can look cool at night...

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kkt

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2016, 03:27:24 PM »

Here's the final design. Note the tall lit structures, called "sentinels", which will be "armed with lasers to fend off marauding invaders", as well as "amuse our feline overlords" (1):



Jokes aside, I think they're just tall things that can look cool at night...



That really looks like the Transamerica Pyramid, except in color.
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Henry

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2016, 01:04:14 PM »

Here's the final design. Note the tall lit structures, called "sentinels", which will be "armed with lasers to fend off marauding invaders", as well as "amuse our feline overlords" (1):



Jokes aside, I think they're just tall things that can look cool at night...



That really looks like the Transamerica Pyramid, except in color.

To me, that looks like it could be something from the Wizard of Oz, but then again, Seattle is called the Emerald City for a reason  :)
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triplemultiplex

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2016, 02:46:40 PM »

Here's the final design. Note the tall lit structures, called "sentinels", which will be "armed with lasers to fend off marauding invaders", as well as "amuse our feline overlords" (1):



Jokes aside, I think they're just tall things that can look cool at night...



That really looks like the Transamerica Pyramid, except in color.

To me, that looks like it could be something from the Wizard of Oz, but then again, Seattle is called the Emerald City for a reason  :)

This bridge is on Romulus.  It just needs a certain silhouette of a predatory bird on it somewhere.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2016, 05:17:04 PM »

Will the new inside lane be an HOT Lane?
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2016, 06:23:17 PM »

Will the new inside lane be an HOT Lane?

HOV for now, but perhaps HOT in the future. The bridge itself is tolled so they're probably holding off. Lots of congestion is avoided in the first place with the bridge toll, which varies depending on the time of day.
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Kacie Jane

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2016, 12:35:16 PM »

Here's the final design. Note the tall lit structures, called "sentinels", which will be "armed with lasers to fend off marauding invaders", as well as "amuse our feline overlords" (1):

Thank you, this made my day.

To me, that looks like it could be something from the Wizard of Oz, but then again, Seattle is called the Emerald City for a reason  :)

I would be willing to bet a small amount of money down that someone mentioned that in a meeting somewhere along the line, and that is at least part of the reason they are lit green and not some other color.

Will the new inside lane be an HOT Lane?

HOV for now, but perhaps HOT in the future. The bridge itself is tolled so they're probably holding off. Lots of congestion is avoided in the first place with the bridge toll, which varies depending on the time of day.

Might be worth pointing out that the 520 tolls, as you said, vary depending on the time of day, that is, they vary on a set schedule.  The reason I'm repeating you and stressing it is to point out that it's different from actual dynamic pricing like on the 167 and 405 HOT lanes, where they adjust the toll based on how much traffic is actually on the road (not just how much traffic they expect based on what time it is).
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2016, 03:26:51 PM »

Will the new inside lane be an HOT Lane?

HOV for now, but perhaps HOT in the future. The bridge itself is tolled so they're probably holding off. Lots of congestion is avoided in the first place with the bridge toll, which varies depending on the time of day.

Might be worth pointing out that the 520 tolls, as you said, vary depending on the time of day, that is, they vary on a set schedule.  The reason I'm repeating you and stressing it is to point out that it's different from actual dynamic pricing like on the 167 and 405 HOT lanes, where they adjust the toll based on how much traffic is actually on the road (not just how much traffic they expect based on what time it is).

Thank you for the clarification (it is important). I think this difference (scheduled tolls versus random tolls) is the reason why most people no longer have any issue with the 520 toll, but are all over the 405 tolls.
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jay8g

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2016, 08:09:02 PM »

I got to go on a tour of the bridge today. Here's the pictures.
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2016, 08:15:55 PM »

I got to go on a tour of the bridge today. Here's the pictures.

Great photos, Jay. Nice to see things coming together.

On a related note, I have placed a gypsy curse on WSDOT for refusing me a tour. I have to, instead, ride my bike over it in April.
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kkt

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2016, 09:31:33 PM »

Nice photos!  thanks!
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Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2016, 06:38:53 PM »

A mini-road meetup for the bridge opening (on foot) wouldn't be a half-bad things to have, would it? I'm going to the first day and walking the bridge during the free hours.

jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2016, 07:07:23 PM »

A mini-road meetup for the bridge opening (on foot) wouldn't be a half-bad things to have, would it? I'm going to the first day and walking the bridge during the free hours.

I'm in. Is that run/walk on Saturday?
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Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2016, 07:14:57 PM »

A mini-road meetup for the bridge opening (on foot) wouldn't be a half-bad things to have, would it? I'm going to the first day and walking the bridge during the free hours.

I'm in. Is that run/walk on Saturday?

The run/walk is early Saturday morning, but the general festivities start at 10 am. Ribboncutting at 10:30 am.

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2016, 09:45:44 AM »

Just checking- are there any closures on the existing bridge?  I'm taking a trip to Seattle next week and I plan on taking that bridge pretty often.
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jakeroot

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2016, 11:24:17 AM »

Just checking- are there any closures on the existing bridge?  I'm taking a trip to Seattle next week and I plan on taking that bridge pretty often.

It will be closed at the beginning of April to celebrate the opening of the new bridge, but otherwise, there are no planned closures. That said, if a strong wind storm pushes through (unlikely), the bridge can close due to waves. Other than that, the bridge should be wide open.
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Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2016, 01:44:27 AM »

It opened to walkers and runners today. Tomorrow is a big bike ride.

Re-dedicated in honor of Governor Rosellini, so there's no way to distinguish between the old and new bridges, officially.

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2016, 04:31:54 AM »

Why couldn't they have widened the bridge while they were at it? It's only 6 total lanes (old bridge had 4 total), and considering that this is a tolled bridge and traffic is that bad, they could have at least widened it.
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Bruce

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2016, 11:59:02 AM »

Why couldn't they have widened the bridge while they were at it? It's only 6 total lanes (old bridge had 4 total), and considering that this is a tolled bridge and traffic is that bad, they could have at least widened it.

Because the areas on either side of the bridge have strong opposition (and political clout to boot...Medina on the east side has a ton of billionaires, incl. Bill Gates) to any further widening. Plus the west side has the arboretum and Union Bay (both protected areas), and the interchange with I-5 would become a major pinch point where traffic has to squeeze through 2 lanes.

And traffic really isn't that bad on the bridge because of the tolls. Traffic counts have fallen a bit and there's no real need to increase the number of lanes.

The bridge itself can be widened (with extra pontoons) to support light rail, and that's about it.

kkt

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2016, 03:28:46 AM »

So was this the last weekend the bridge will be closed to cars for the foreseeable future?
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KEK Inc.

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Re: New SR 520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2016, 04:30:44 AM »

I walked on the bridge last Saturday.  I don't think they expected the amount of people that showed up, but it was fun. 

Here's some photos:












Went canoeing last Thursday. 







I can see the bridge from my bedroom window, and the lights haven't been turned on until last Friday.  The sentinel colored lights aren't really noticeable from where I live, but the white decorative lights are much brighter than the HPS streetlamps.  I have yet to drive on it, but I probably will in the few days.

It will be closed at the beginning of April to celebrate the opening of the new bridge, but otherwise, there are no planned closures. That said, if a strong wind storm pushes through (unlikely), the bridge can close due to waves. Other than that, the bridge should be wide open.

The new floating span is supposed to withstand hurricane-forced winds.  The road-deck is elevated, so waves will just pass through underneath.  They still have to work on the causeways connecting the floating bridge and Seattle, so sporadic road closures are likely in the next 2-3 years until the bridge is completely done.  Then there's the Portage Bay bridge replacement and the I-5/SR-520 interchange improvement project, but I don't think the state has funding for those projects.

And traffic really isn't that bad on the bridge because of the tolls. Traffic counts have fallen a bit and there's no real need to increase the number of lanes.

The bridge itself can be widened (with extra pontoons) to support light rail, and that's about it.
So before the new bridge opened, there's a pinch point at the eastern landing of the bridge going westbound.  Between 4 PM and 6 PM, metered traffic from 84th Ave NE causes a backup on SR-520's mainline often extending all the way back to I-405.  Now, the pinch point is in the middle of the bridge (since the western approaches aren't done). 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 04:47:23 AM by KEK Inc. »
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