By guest blogger Meghan Pembroke
|The new SR 529 Ebey Slough bridge being built next to the|
existing 87-year-old bridge.
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.