“A+” Bridge plan would keep costs low, protect environment
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council unanimously adopted a motion today stating its support of the “A+” option for the State Route 520 bridge, calling that option the best fit for the west side of the structure.
“Keeping costs down, relieving traffic congestion and protecting the Arboretum must be priorities for the 520 bridge replacement,” said Councilmember Jane Hague, the prime sponsor of the motion. “We will accomplish each priority with this option and connect people to jobs in a faster, more efficient way.”
“Many public facilities depend on this freeway for access, such as the University of Washington, the UW Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Husky Stadium. They need this integration of road and transit options,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents northeast King County. “I remember how important Montlake bus access is from my days as a student at the UW, and I am pleased to see the provisions for transit facilities in this plan.”
The SR-520 Bridge was completed in 1963 and carries approximately 150,000 people per day, twice the number for which it was designed. It was not built with the benefit of modern design and safety standards and is vulnerable to earthquakes and high windstorms.
A state Legislative Workgroup is currently studying several westside options for the bridge. “Option A” would add an additional bridge over the Montlake Cut to the University of Washington, which would allow for three lanes on two bridges to relieve congestion.
Option A with sub options, better known as “Option A+,” would protect the Arboretum by building within the existing right-of-way, limiting the impact on the environment. This option does not include a tunnel, which would keep costs down. Sub-options to this design include:
• An eastbound HOV direct access ramp;
• Bus layover space, passenger facilities and transit priority in the Montlake triangle area in the vicinity of Husky Stadium;
• Lake Washington Boulevard ramps in both directions;
• An Eastside bus station designed to accommodate buses passing each other; and
• Compensation to King County Metro for the loss of the Montlake Freeway bus station.
The Legislative Workgroup is scheduled to deliver its recommendation to the state Legislature by December 2009.