520 Bridge Replacement

transportation
5:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Bill calls for reports to lawmakers on costly WSDOT errors

Big mistakes made on the design and construction of pontoons for the new 520 floating bridge could lead to tougher reporting requirements for the Washington state Department of Transportation.

Lawmakers want more transparency and accountability when it comes to costly mistakes. Repairs to cracks in the new 520 pontoons, for example, are expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

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520 Floating Bridge
7:30 am
Thu November 15, 2012

WSDOT says cracks in new SR-520 pontoons are par for the course

Construction on on the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington, just north of the old bridge. WSDOT says it wants to show more transparency as the repair process on cracked pontoons continues.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

You may have heard about some issues with the large concrete pontoons being built for the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington. Several of them sprung leaks and cracks after the cement set in Aberdeen.

But the state Department of Transportation says drivers don’t need to worry; the situation is under control.

Click the "play" icon below to see video of State Construction Engineer Jeff Carpenter describing how pontoon cracks are being patched to ensure they will last 75 years, as stipulated in the design plan:

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520 floating bridge
5:15 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

'Food Bridge' wins design contest for old 520 floating bridge

The "South Park Food Bridge" – submitted by David Dahl and Nicole Lew, both of Seattle – would span parts of the Duwamish River waterfront with parks and gardens.
Courtesy of Seattle Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

A design for parks and gardens on the South Park neighborhood's waterfront won the international competition to create a use for the old 520 floating bridge pontoons, according to the competition's Facebook page. The "Food Bridge" would be set afloat along the Duwamish River.

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Environment
5:01 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Highway 520 design in federal court on Tuesday

The state's planned replacement for the SR 520 bridge across Lake Washington has sparked a lawsuit from Seattle neighborhoods, who say it is too big and too expensive. It is nearly twice as wide as the old bridge.
WSDOT image

Even as its construction is well underway, design plans for the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington continue to spark controversy.

A federal judge will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a lawsuit against the replacement project by the State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

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520 Bridge Replacement
2:48 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Tolls deterring fewer than expected on SR-520 Bridge

It's moving faster, but there's still lots of weekday traffic on the toll bridge across Lake Washington.
WSDOT photo Flickr

Tolling rates are going up on the 520 bridge this Sunday, in the first of four annual rate hikes. The 2.5%  increase will add about an extra dime to peak fees. It comes 6 months after tolling began on the bridge between Seattle and the east side.

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Other News
9:37 am
Wed June 27, 2012

More cracks in new pontoons for Seattle bridge

The Washington Transportation Department says more cracks have been found in pontoons under construction in Aberdeen for the new Highway 520 floating bridge on Lake Washington at Seattle.

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520 Bridge replacement
5:06 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Pontoons taking shape, creating jobs in Aberdeen

An engineer checks his calculations inside the pontoon pit in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Washington State is the floating bridge capital of the world. We have four of the most famous ones, including the longest: State Route 520, which is about to be replaced.

What holds them all up? Giant floats made of concrete, called pontoons. The first and largest of them are being manufactured in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen.

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Traffic news
8:47 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Highway 520 tolls: Traffic down on morning commute

The Highway 520 floating bridge, including the western high rise, where the bridge passes near the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle as it heads over Lake Washington.
Associated Press

On the first day of the post-holiday commute, Washington transportation officials say traffic is down significantly on the 520 bridge.

They say about 37 percent fewer drivers than normal crossed the 520 bridge between 6 and 7 a.m. this morning.

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transportation choices
4:33 am
Wed December 28, 2011

520 Tolls starting tomorrow

Tolling rates for the 520 bridge. You can save money by registering with the state's Good to Go system. Drivers without transponders will pay the highest rates
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Tomorrow (Thursday, 12-29-11), electronic tolls will kick in on the 520 bridge across lake Washington.

A series of technical glitches caused multiple past delays.  But now, the reader boards are going live and billing drivers on the most popular route between Seattle and the east side.

There are many creative ways to get around the tolls, but you’re bound to have to pay, sooner or later.

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Transportation
6:11 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

520 tolling to begin in 3 weeks

Tolling rates for the 520 bridge. You can save money by registering with the state's Good to Go system. Drivers without transponders will pay the highest rates.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Tolling on the 520 Bridge will start at 5 am on December 29th.

That’s the word from the state Department of Transportation, after multiple glitches that have delayed the system till now.

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Transportation Funding
3:36 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

It's (finally) official: Tolls on SR-520 Bridge start in December

An example of the signs that will be installed to let drivers know the SR 520 bridge is a toll bridge - starting in December. A trip during rush hour will cost $3.50 each way.
WSDOT photo

Get ready to pay if you drive on the floating bridge across Lake Washington. The state Department of Transportation has announced the much-delayed tolls on the 520 bridge will start in December.

Tolling on the bridge was originally set to begin this spring, then that was bumped to this summer. Now, the state says the all-electronic system will be up and running four months from now. 

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Floating Bridge
9:14 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Feds approve state's plan to rebuild 520 with 6 lanes

The new 520 bridge across Lake Washington got a big green light yesterday, as federal officials approved the state’s plan to put in a six-lane replacement.

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Transportation
9:19 am
Thu June 23, 2011

When will tolls start on 520? Delays leave state with no date

Toll charges for the 520 bridge might begin in August, but they might not.
WSDOT

People who drive over the State Route 520 floating bridge will likely have a few more months before tolls kick in. The latest estimate of when charges would begin is now August, but the Washington State Department of Transportation won't commit to a date.

The new system has faced a string of delays. It was originally scheduled to be up and running in April. Then it was pushed back to June. Then late July. 

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Floating Bridge
1:39 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Replacing 520 floating bridge moves ahead

Release of final environmental impact statement puts replacement of 520 floating bridge one step closer.
Associated Press

A $4.6 billion project to replace the Highway 520 floating bridge and improve the corridor between Seattle and Bellevue is moving ahead.

The Washington Transportation Department released the final environmental impact statement Thursday for a six-lane bridge to replace the four-lane bridge on Lake Washington.

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reports the Federal Highway Administration is expected to approve the project next month. Construction would begin next year and the bridge should be completed by 2015, although the whole project may take until 2018.

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EVERGREEN POINT BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
8:46 am
Wed May 25, 2011

How to mitigate the impact of a new 520 bridge on the Arboretum?

A kayaker paddles through the waters of Union Bay near the west end of the 520 bridge in the Washington Park Arboretum.
urbanvillages.com

Unless a lawsuit derails the process, a new 520 bridge will soon be built across Lake Washington. 

A company in Aberdeen is already constructing the huge pontoons that will keep the new, 6-lane structure afloat.

And the state is widening the highway on the east side of the lake. 

But exactly what the project will look like on the Seattle side is still being worked out.

Seattle's Board of Park Commissioners will get a briefing on impacts to the Washington Park Arboretum tomorrow night (Thursday).

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