Local Information

Gov. Inslee, Guinness World Records on deck for SR 520 bridge ribbon cutting this weekend

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 09:28

Steve Peer, WSDOT communications, 425-301-2023

Shuttles take participants to festivities on Saturday; new bridge opens to vehicles later in April

SEATTLE – After more than a decade of planning and five years of construction, the newest and longest floating bridge in the world is about to open. But foot traffic—not cars, trucks and buses—will be the first to cross the new State Route 520 bridge during its grand-opening celebration.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will close both the old and new SR 520 floating bridges Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, for the festivities.

Saturday events
The first to set foot on the new bridge will be nearly 10,000 participants in a 10K fun run and walk at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The course begins at Husky Stadium, crosses the new bridge to Medina, and then returns to the stadium.

The new floating bridge will then open to the general public at 10 a.m. Saturday. For most participants, that means taking a shuttle to the new bridge from one of four shuttle stops on either side of Lake Washington. The free shuttles will operate between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday’s portion of the celebration offers a number of activities for participants of all ages:
• An official ribbon-cutting ceremony near the middle of the bridge is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., with remarks by Gov. Jay Inslee and other dignitaries.
• A presentation from Guinness World Records, certifying the new bridge as the world’s longest floating highway.
• A giant LEGO display and play area.
• Stamping stations where “passport” holders gain eligibility for winning free air travel.
• Interactive exhibits showcasing the science, technology, engineering and math involved in building the new bridge.
• Several food-truck vendors will be on hand, offering food and beverages for purchase.

Sunday morning bike ride
The weekend celebration concludes Sunday morning with the 20-mile Emerald City Bike Ride, which has sold out with 6,000 riders. The bike ride is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. There is no pedestrian access or shuttle service on the bridge Sunday – the bike ride is the only event.

Getting to the grand-opening event
Participants need to plan ahead to get to and from the event. For most people, activities on the new bridge will be accessible only by free shuttles from Seattle and the Eastside. The only exception is to reach the celebration’s Eastside entrance on foot from the Evergreen Point Road lid or by bicycle from the new SR 520 regional bike and pedestrian path on the Eastside.

In Seattle, shuttles will pick up participants near Husky Stadium, just across the street from the new Sound Transit U-Link University Station. On the east side of Lake Washington, shuttles will pick up participants at the South Kirkland Park and Ride, Kirkland’s Houghton Park and Ride, or just north of the Bellevue Transit Center along 108th Avenue Northeast.

Opening the new bridge to traffic
The new bridge is scheduled to open in stages to vehicles later in April. Moving vehicles onto the new bridge will occur over the course of two weekend highway closures later in April. First, crews will close SR 520 during the weekend of April 9-10, and then open the bridge to westbound drivers on Monday morning, April 11. Crews will close the highway again during the weekend of April 23-24, and then transition drivers onto the new bridge’s eastbound lanes on Monday morning, April 25. The work is weather dependent and could be delayed if heavy rains occur. If the weather cooperates, the existing bridge—originally opened in 1963—will be closed by the end of April.

The work is part of the SR 520 Floating Bridge and Landings Project that replaces the existing bridge with a safer structure that includes transit/HOV lanes, wider shoulders and a new bicycle-and-pedestrian path.

Local road closure for fun run
Montlake Boulevard East will close between Northeast Pacific Street and Lake Washington Boulevard from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for the fun run. Event attendees should access the University of Washington parking lots from the north.

Highway closure details
Friday, April 1, to Sunday, April 3: SR 520 will be closed between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast from 11 p.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Friday, April 8, to Monday, April 11: SR 520 will be fully closed between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.
Friday, April 22, to Monday, April 25: SR 520 will be fully closed between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

For up-to-date information on highway closures and construction activity associated with SR 520, please visit the SR 520 Orange Page, or follow the project on Twitter.

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