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New website highlights history of the 520 corridor

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Date:  Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Contact: Debera Carlton Harrell, WSDOT communications, 206-770-3554; 206-819-7230 (mobile)
Marie McCaffrey, HistoryLink.org, 206-447-8140

WSDOT invites media and public to participate in 50th birthday of SR 520

Two score and 10 years ago, our forefathers brought forth the longest floating bridge in the world – a span that has figured in the lives of commuters, truckers, students, sports fans, Seattle and Eastside neighbors, shoppers, boaters, festival-goers, marathon racers, and even rooster-tailing water skiers.

Today, Aug. 21, the Washington State Department of Transportation, in partnership with HistoryLink.org, launches 520history.org – a new website that looks at 13,000 years of history along the State Route 520 corridor. A key element of WSDOT’s project commitments under the National Historic Preservation Act, 520history.org is an educational resource featuring geographical, cultural, planning and construction history of the area.

Site visitors can view historical essays, photos and maps about subjects ranging from the Olmsted parks and boulevards plan, the University of Washington, the “Montlake Ditch,” Native American tribes, and neighborhoods in the SR 520 corridor. There are also audio interviews with Lorraine McConaghy, public historian at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), Mayor of Medina Michael Luis, and others.

The 520history.org website also includes educational curriculum developed for teachers and students in grades three, four, seven, and eight. Topics include geography, civics and history, and are aligned with state standards for those subject areas, as well as for reading and environmental and sustainability education.

50 years of SR 520

The SR 520 floating bridge, named after former Governor Albert D. Rosellini, opened to traffic on Aug. 28, 1963. WSDOT is inviting the public to join in the birthday celebration by contributing flashbacks, twice-tolled tales and “golden anniversary” memories of the bridge. Contributors might want to share how long it took to reach the University of Washington from Bellevue, or to travel from Seattle to Redmond, before the bridge was built. Others might describe getting stuck during the 1993 Inaugural Day storm, running in the 2008 cross-bridge marathon, or carpooling friendships.

Those who are interested can view other’s memories and share their own on the SR 520 MemoryLane website.

WSDOT is also sharing a #520at50 fact of the day when you follow @wsdot on Twitter.

“Fifty years is a major milestone, and we know there are many people who remember when the floating bridge was being built,” said SR 520 Program Director Julie Meredith. “We hope people will help us celebrate with a fun look back in time, as well as looking forward to a new bridge being built for the next 75 years.”

Details about the new SR 520 floating bridge can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr520bridge.


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