Monday, April 16, 2012

Crews ready to move traffic to the new SR 529 Ebey Slough Bridge in Marysville

By guest blogger Meghan Pembroke

The new SR 529 Ebey Slough bridge being built next to the
existing 87-year-old bridge.
It’s the end of an era in Marysville. On Friday, April 13, the 87-year-old Ebey Slough bridge on State Route 529 will retire from service, making way for a new wider, four-lane bridge being built beside it.

Crews will fully close both directions of the highway for the weekend while they prepare to switch traffic to the new bridge. Only half of the bridge will open to traffic on Monday, April 16, with both north and southbound SR 529 traffic running in the future northbound lanes of the new bridge.

Next, crews will shift their focus to dismantling the old bridge. They’ll position cranes on the closed west half of the new bridge to remove pieces of the old bridge. Demolishing a bridge over water is a challenge, especially when it’s as old as the Ebey Slough bridge.  Crews will be dealing with steel pieces covered in lead paint and other potentially hazardous materials. They’ll work carefully and deliberately to protect themselves and the slough during the demolition.

There are only two state-owned movable bridges that are older than the Ebey Slough bridge, which opened to traffic in 1927. The old bridge is at the end of its service life and can’t meet today’s traffic demands. SR 529 is a main commuter route between Marysville and Everett and is used by about 17,000 drivers each day.

The new four-lane, fixed-span bridge will fully open to traffic in January 2013, with two lanes in each direction, separate bicycle lanes and sidewalks on each side of the bridge.

By the way, I bet you’re wondering which three stated-owned bridges are older than the Ebey Slough bridge. Well, they are the Murray Morgan and Thea Foss Waterway bridges in Tacoma, built in 1911, and the I-5 Columbia River bridge built in 1916.


Kristin said...

The current construction configuration of the new bridge is a hazard to bicyclists - worse than the old, narrow bridge by far and completely out of compliance with any design and safety standards. Please get the project engineer to consider how people on bikes are to pass through safely over the next many months.

WSDOT said...

We take bicycle and pedestrian concerns very seriously and have worked hard to maintain non-motorized access throughout construction of the new SR 529 bridge. As with any project, we have to balance the needs and safety of everyone who uses the highway. Our current construction phase has limited roadway width to work with, but we’ve done our best to maximize that space while still providing safe passage to all traffic on the route, including vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. In general, the new bridge provides improved access throughout the project, with wider lanes, shoulders and sidewalk than the old bridge.

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