Crews spray down the deck of the new, temporary westbound SR 520 off-ramp to Montlake Boulevard to keep it moist in the hot weather before placing wet burlap to let the concrete cure. (Photo – WSDOT)
On Friday, July 10 the House approved the final agreement on Transportation. I’m happy to have supported it, though I have some concerns. (You always do when it’s a compromise between groups with very different views about the appropriate set of investments.)
- The SR 520 bridge will be finished. There is $1.6 billion in the package for the remaining part of the West landing. There is also funding for a new SR 520 interchange at 148th Ave. to support major developments in the Overlake area. This should help alleviate a lot of the slowdowns in that area and allow more density so that we have less sprawl. Also included is planning for a new interchange on SR 520 at 124th Ave. that will allow the Spring District in Bellevue to grow and have rational access to the freeway.
- A new I-405 lane from Bellevue to Renton, plus lots of work on the SR 167 interchange.
- Sound Transit III authorized.
- This package is the largest investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure ever in our state. There are some super Eastside projects I’ll write about once I deconstruct the whole package.
The Bad: Continue reading “Transportation!”
The SR 520 program is making lots of progress this summer – with 46 pontoons now on Lake Washington and a new Eastside transit stop open for transit riders! Today we also celebrated a new construction milestone on the floating bridge—installation of the first transition span. More details below.
Transition span installation on June 27
Today crews began installing the first of four transition spans for the new SR 520 floating bridge. This first span will connect the new floating bridge with the stationary east approach, south segmental bridge near Medina. This section of the transition span is composed of five steel girders, each 190 feet long, over seven feet tall, and weighing about 45 tons.
Continue reading “520 Progress – New Status Report from Chief Engineer”
I made some remarks at the Bellevue Rotary yesterday that seem to have been misinterpreted by some people, so I’m clarifying:
Passing a transportation package this session is incredibly important for the Puget Sound region. I support a well-designed package.
Starting in January King County Metro will start reducing service to make up for an expiring car tab fee the state authorized them to charge several years ago. You can see the proposed reductions here. The Eastside cuts will result in significantly increased congestion as commuters shift to single-occupancy cars.
The 520 bridge project will stop planning for the next phase. They will lay off the design team, making it difficult to re-start the project, costing millions and adding years of delay. If no package is passed we will have a bridge that has 6 lanes all the way to Foster island, which turns out to not be all that helpful. The exit to Montlake will be dysfunctional and highly congested as buses and HOVs cross three lanes of traffic to get off and on. The vulnerable parts of the bridge will remain – the hollow pillars on the west approach to Montlake and the Portage Bay Viaduct, and could fail in an earthquake or by being struck by a barge. (This happened a few years ago and did serious damage to one of the pillars.)
- The Seattle metro area has some of the worst congestion in the nation. In 2012 our area was the 4th worst in the nation, according to the Tom-Tom data company. (Link here.) This is a deterrent to businesses locating here, and fixing it has been a major ask of the Boeing Company, Microsoft, and a host of other major employers. As I’m sure you have figured out by now it’s also quite painful to live through.
I support a large transportation investment package to improve this situation and will vote for a package that makes sense.
However, I don’t support just ANY transportation package – it needs to be good for the central Puget Sound. (Other parts of the state care about the impact on their area, which makes putting together a package an incredibly difficult balancing act.) A good package will have a number of key elements: Continue reading “Transportation”
I reacted the same way many of you did when I heard from my son about the Bellevue High School football team bus rolling over – I was horrified. We followed the news all afternoon via phone from the Tacoma dome where he was waiting to photograph the game. (Check out his pictures at www.jackhunterphoto.com. I don’t do many commercial plugs in my newsletters or blogs, but hey, it’s my kid!) The players all had their pads on and thankfully nobody was seriously hurt except for superfan Gary, who’s still recovering. Two coaches were thrown from the bus.
Continue reading “Seat Belts in School Buses”