Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SR 520 Westbound: Straight ahead

By Ashley Selvey

In just a few short days, the new State Route 520 West Approach Bridge North is opening to full capacity for the first time. At 5 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, westbound drivers will take their inaugural drive in two new general purpose lanes, and carpoolers and transit riders will see their HOV lane extended farther west from the floating bridge to the new lanes.

Just weeks after last month’s opening of the new westbound off-ramps, we’re on track to open the general purpose and HOV lanes as the second of three major project milestones in 2017. The final milestone? Later this fall we will open the SR 520 trail from the floating bridge to Montlake - giving bicyclists and pedestrians a new, safe route across Lake Washington.

Key changes on Monday
Drivers headed west across Lake Washington will experience a few changes to their traffic patterns come Monday morning.
  • Three lanes will carry traffic from the floating bridge west into Seattle – two general purpose lanes and an HOV/transit lane. 
  • The HOV lane will extend the current westbound HOV lane west from the floating bridge. The HOV lane will end east of the westbound exits to Montlake to make space for the transit-only lane and the new location for the westbound SR 520 transit stop at Montlake Boulevard. 
  • Transit riders will have a new platform under the 24th Avenue East Bridge. You won’t miss it — you’ll use the same path to connect to/from Montlake Boulevard.

SR 520 closed Aug. 25 – Aug. 28
Crews need time and space to prepare the new bridge for vehicles. To complete the work necessary to open the new lanes, SR 520 will be closed in both directions from 92nd Avenue NE to Montlake Boulevard from 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 28. So this weekend, drivers needing to cross the lake should use alternate routes like I-90.

Benefits of the new bridge
Replacing the 50-year-old structure, the new bridge has enhanced safety features including:
  • Wider shoulders.
  • Taller, noise-reducing traffic and pedestrian barriers.
  • Solid, instead of hollow, columns.
  • Seismic isolation bearings that reduce the risk of damage in the event of an earthquake.

View larger image (pdf 1.4 mb)

Future SR 520 Milestones

  • Early Fall 2017 – Restripe eastbound SR 520 to add an HOV lane east of Montlake.
  • Late Fall 2017 – Open the SR 520 trail connecting Montlake and Bellevue.
  • Beginning of Montlake Phase (late 2018) – Shift both east and westbound traffic onto the new WABN structure while we construct the new West Approach Bridge South and Montlake lid.

In these final months of West Approach Bridge North construction, we’d love to interact with you more. The first new @WSDOT_520 follower on Twitter that mentions this blog will win a free SR 520 Grand Opening hat. Good luck!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What's the holdup on opening the Bike Trail? Winter is coming. I want to ride across the lake while it is still nice out. :)

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