WSDOT Monthly Construction Meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month at the Graham Visitors Center from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
- Latest News & Monthly Construction Meeting Reports
- Current Seattle Concept Design, Recommendations & Process
- Construction Phases
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Links + Contacts
Latest News & Monthly Construction Meeting Reports
- 04/01/2016 [Flyer]: 520 Grand Opening – April 2nd & 3rd
- 10/23/15 [Flyer]: Oct. 24 – 25 Weekend Closure of the Montlake Bridge
- 09/16/2015 [Flyer]: SR 520 Resolution Meeting
- 09/04/2015 [Flyer]: 24th Ave East Bridge to Close Sept 8th
- 09/03/2015 [Flyer]: SDOT Seeks Input on Bridge Openings
Current Seattle Design, Recommendations & Process
January 16 2015, WSDOT and the city of Seattle released a draft design report containing the final conceptual design recommendations for improvements to the SR 520 corridor in Seattle. Planned but still unfunded improvements in this west side section of the highway include a new Portage Bay Bridge, the new west approach bridge south, lidded overpasses in the Montlake and Roanoke neighborhoods, and enhanced facilities for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders.
In 2012 WSDOT conducted the Seattle Community Design Process to collect public feedback on design options for the phases listed above. From that process, WSDOT heard loud and clear that the plan for the Montlake interchange, including its landscaped lid, needed more work. A lot more work. In February 2013 the Seattle City Council passed Resolution #31427 formally asking WSDOT to study a “wider range of options for the Montlake Lid” and specifically to improve the walking and biking connections throughout the area.
WSDOT’s final (2012) Seattle Community Design Process report is here (85 pages, 24Mb PDF). Enjoy that. Here are WSDOT’s preferred plans for the Seattle side, as of the last design update in 2012. Click to enlarge.
WSDOT is replacing 520 as funding becomes available, which means construction work is happening in several phases:
- West Approach Bridge North, WABN (September 2014 — 2016) — A new 3-lane elevated viaduct adjacent to the existing West Approach, connecting the western high-rise near Madison Park Beach to Montlake Blvd. Together this new structure and the existing West Approach will each have 3-lanes during the interim period until the entire 520 corridor is replaced. Funded with a $300 million federal loan.
The rest of the Seattle-side 520 replacement remains unfunded to the tune of $1.4 billion so the construction schedule is who-the-hell-knows.
Toward A Connected Montlake Lid
Alternatively, an independent analysis of the 2012 design for the Montlake area, called Toward A Connected Montlake Lid, points out 10 problem areas in the lid design and makes suggestions for improvements. Click here to check it out.
Design work has re-started in 2014, following up on City Council Resolution #31427 to explore “a wider range of options” for the Montlake Lid. WSDOT is expected to hold a public open house in September 2014 to unveil updated designs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the mitigation we were promised? — Since funding and construction happens in phases, the mitigation projects also are funded in phases. The Seattle-side lids are expected to cost hundreds of millions and have to be built after the mainline highway is constructed. Don’t expect them to happen anytime soon. There is mitigation included with the $300 million WABN phase, including: the Arboretum Multi-Use Trail, a new Portage Bay park for UW at the Bryant Building, and wetland restoration work at the WSDOT Peninsula.
Will there be a bike path on the future Portage Bay Bridge? — Yes. WSDOT received “overwhelming” support during the 2012 design process to include a walking and biking path on the future bridge. This is excellent news for people who think transportation infrastructure should also support non-carbon producing ways of getting around town.
What is the City’s role in all of this? — The City of Seattle is partnering with WSDOT to help guide the project toward “Seattle values”. Two point persons working within City administration are leading this effort: Lyle Bicknell, Department of Planning and Development; and Bernard Van De Kamp, Department of Transportation. WSDOT’s design team will present to the Seattle Design Commission throughout 2014.
What’s happening with the proposed Second Bascule Bridge? — Not much. A 2012 Montlake corridor traffic analysis concluded that adding more automobile lanes over the Montlake Cut would not improve traffic because the real culprits to congestion are the inefficient intersections before and after the bridge. So the Seattle City Council voted to table consideration of a second bascule bridge “for the foreseeable future.”
What’s up with the Coalition for a Sustainable 520? — The Coalition was a group of people from six neighborhood surrounding the 520 corridor that sued WSDOT over Governor Christine Gregiore’s 2010 decision for the Perferred Alternative, a six-lane highway blasting through Montlake. The lawsuit was rejected by a federal judge in 2012. In the spring of 2014, the Coalition re-branded as a group called Respect Seattle.
Links + Contacts
WSDOT SR-520 Orange Page (for construction news and closures, not very orange)
Want to have your voice heard? Send comments to….
- WSDOT’s 520 team: SR520bridge@wsdot.wa.gov
- Mayor Ed Murray: email@example.com / @Mayor_Ed_Murray
- Tom Rasmussen, City Council Transportation Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org / @CityHallTom
- Mike O’Brien, City Council Transportation Committee: email@example.com / @CMMikeOBrien
- WA State Legislative Representatives, 43rd District