One of King County's most significant road projects in decades, thousands of residents celebrated the opening of the new South Park Bridge.
Thousands in the South Park community turned out to celebrate completion of the new South Park Bridge – set to reopen Monday, four years to the day after the old, deteriorating bridge was closed.
“Five years ago, I pledged to do all within my capacity to secure funding for the South Park Bridge,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Today is the day we deliver on that promise – thanks to the partnership of our funding partners, and the determination of the people and businesses of South Park who inspired us never to give up.”
One of King County’s most significant road projects in decades, the state-of-the-art drawbridge reconnects a critical industrial corridor with communities across the Duwamish River. It will carry 20,000 vehicles and nearly 3,000 heavy-duty trucks each day – transporting 10 million tons of freight each year, including aerospace parts for local Boeing facilities.
The celebration included a parade, live music, local vendors, a beer garden, and a pyrotechnic display. The bridge will open for vehicles at 6 a.m. Monday.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, County Council Chair Larry Phillips, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark, Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant, and other elected leaders and members of the South Park community joined the celebration. Sen. Murray played a lead role in securing $34 million in a federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to complete funding for construction.
“I can’t help but think back to 2010, when I took a tour of this neighborhood just after the old South Park Bridge had closed. I visited places like the Muy Macho restaurant and the SeaMar Community Health Clinic, and I heard from local business owners and families in this community who told me just how important the bridge had been to them,” said Senator Murray. “And now, we are here at the opening of the South Park Bridge, which will provide a strong foundation for this community for generations to come. This is really an example of what can happen when we invest in our communities and in our infrastructure.”
The new bridge is engineered to be energy efficient. Even though each drawspan weighs 3.5 million pounds, they are so precisely balanced that opening the drawbridge requires only the same amount of energy needed to drive a Toyota Prius.
The old South Park Bridge was closed in 2010 due to severe deterioration and the potential for failure during an earthquake. Executive Constantine forged a public-private coalition of funding partners for a new bridge that could keep open a key industrial transportation corridor and save an estimated 70,000 jobs along the Duwamish that contribute to the overall economy of South Park.
"Seattle is a city of neighborhoods and communities united as one, and being able to move freely is vital to our economy and culture," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. "Thanks to the leadership of Senator Patty Murray and Executive Dow Constantine, these communities are again connected."
“I am so proud of my South Park community for the role you’ve played in getting us here today,” said Dagmar Cronn, past president of the South Park Neighborhood Association. “It took hundreds of you joining with our other partners to make the case for a new bridge. Today we not only celebrate this new bridge, but a new beginning for South Park.”
The bridge recreates the look of its predecessor and returns a familiar silhouette to the low-rise South Park skyline. The new bascule drawbridge includes two distinctive piers capped by brick-surfaced control towers, and has two moveable leaves that raise for vessel traffic in the waterway below.
The bridge features four driving lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks. Other improvements include intersection realignment and safety improvements in the business area, a rain garden that naturally treats runoff and provides public access to the river, and art elements from the old bridge that are incorporated into the design of the new bridge. Among the governments and agencies that committed funding and land for the project:
• King County
• Federal Highway Administration
• State of Washington
• City of Seattle
• Port of Seattle
• Puget Sound Regional Council
• State Transportation Improvement Board
• State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board
• The Boeing Company
• City of Tukwila