Feb. 12, 2015
SR 520 drawspan openings for marine traffic to end Feb. 17
If you are a regular SR 520 driver, you’ve likely been caught at some point in a drawspan opening that halted your vehicle for up to 30 minutes. During these traffic stops, you had the chance to admire the Cascades (when visible), ponder nearby bumper stickers and, of course, check out @wsdot traffic and @wsdot_520 for more information.
Most of these backups have been caused by a required opening of the floating bridge’s center drawspan to let boats pass through. Since construction on the new floating bridge began in spring 2012 and blocked the old bridge’s east navigation channel, the drawspan has opened for marine traffic more than 600 times.
We know this has been difficult for drivers on the bridge, and we’ve appreciated your patience. But good news is at hand! Starting Tuesday, Feb. 17, the floating bridge’s drawspan will open for boats nevermore.
Why? The new floating bridge is steadily growing from east to west as crews join together its supporting pontoons. On Feb. 17, newly joined and anchored pontoons will completely obstruct the drawspan. (We’ve got a diagram up on the SR 520 website.) From that day forward, the north-south channel through the middle of the bridge will be blocked.
Local mariners will still be able to get past the floating bridges (both old and new) by passing through a reopened east navigation channel or the marine channel on the west side of the lake. For more information on the navigation channels, please visit our drawspan information Web page.
Until traffic moves to the new bridge in spring 2016, there will still be occasional drawspan openings for late-night maintenance or high winds. But for drivers and transit riders, those midday minutes of motionless, midlake tranquility will be a thing of the past.