The in basket: Dr. Larry Iversen writes, “Even though the 520 bridge is on the other side of Puget Sound, as a major highway, it does impact all of us who will travel across Lake Washington.
“Questions: 1) Why tear down the old 520 bridge? Why not renovate it and use it like what was done with the Tacoma Narrows old bridge?
“2) How will the new bridge traffic blend with I-5 OR is the plan to narrow and divert the new bridge traffic with the existing highway between Montlake and I-5?
The out basket: Steve Peer, the state’s SR 520 media and construction communications manager, fielded this one and said, “After more than a half century of use, the existing floating bridge is showing its age and has become vulnerable to windstorms. The bridge approaches, with columns attached to land, are susceptible to earthquakes.
“The new floating bridge adds HOV lanes in both directions which will connect to future improvements that will add the same westward toward I-5. It also boasts a 14-foot shared-use path for bicycles and pedestrians.
“Once connected to the west approach, currently being constructed, non-motorized traffic will be able to cross Lake Washington from the Eastside to Seattle.
“Traffic from the new floating bridge will narrow and move onto the existing highway with a temporary connection bridge. In summer 2017, WSDOT will complete the westbound lanes between the new floating bridge and Montlake. “Then, in 2018 WSDOT will start the Rest of the West project which will improve regional mobility with the addition of dedicated HOV lanes across the entire SR 520 corridor, in both directions from Redmond to I-5.”
If the Rest of the West online link Steve provided doesn’t automatically take you there, or if you’re reading this in the newspaper, it can be accessed online via wsdot.wa.gov.