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Community bids fond farewell to old SR 529 Ebey Slough Bridge

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Date:  Thursday, June 14, 2012

Contact: Meghan Soptich Pembroke, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (Shoreline)
Mark Sawyer, WSDOT project engineer, 425-225-8799 (Everett)

MARYSVILLE – The two-lane Ebey Slough Bridge on State Route 529 sometimes gets lost in the shadows of Interstate 5. Considerably smaller and narrower than its cousin to the east, the little bridge might not seem that important – or that memorable.

But for the past 85 years, the Ebey Slough Bridge has linked Everett and Marysville and seen its share of history along the way. Current bridge tenders, community members and elected officials gathered Thursday, June 14, to celebrate the life of the 85-year-old bridge and share their stories of its history.

“These days, it’s easy to take our roads for granted,” said Lorena Eng, regional administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “Drivers can just hop on I-5 to head out of town and can easily connect to other highways along the way. But when this bridge opened in 1927, it was the only option for drivers headed north or south to Marysville and Everett.”

The Ebey Slough Bridge was one of four spans built in the 1920s across the Snohomish River delta that helped complete the old Pacific Highway between Canada and Oregon. At the time, the swing-span bridge was state-of-the art technology; it provided a highway route for drivers and could swing to make room for vessels sailing up and down the slough.

Throughout the years, a tight-knit group of bridge tenders got to know the Ebey Slough span inside and out. They each spent eight-hour shifts in the tender house, working the controls to open and close the bridge and keeping the old steel span in tip-top condition.

During Thursday’s celebration, two longtime bridge tenders shared stories of their days perched atop the bridge and joined in a final walking tour across the span. The tenders received mementos from the old bridge as tokens of appreciation for their dedicated service.

WSDOT began construction on a taller, wider replacement bridge in the summer of 2010. Crews opened part of the bridge to traffic in April 2012, and expect to open the entire bridge to traffic in early 2013.

More information on the Ebey Slough Bridge replacement project can be found at the project website.

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