On a rainy Friday afternoon, Choose Your Way Bellevue staff got the awesome opportunity to tour the new State Route 520 Floating Bridge. We were accompanied by WSDOT’s communications and engineer team to show us around. The new SR 520 Bridge to the north of the existing floating bridge has been under construction for years and we’ve seen it march west towards completion. This April, WSDOT is unveiling a huge milestone in the process of the updated SR 520 connection: the floating bridge and landings segment.
We’re particularly excited about SR 520’s regional shared-use path which runs along the north side of the bridge. It is making progress as construction of the new highway moves from east to west. Because of the SR 520 program’s phased construction, the path on the bridge will not immediately link Medina and Seattle. When the floating bridge opens to traffic in spring 2016, its bike and pedestrian path will also open – but as an “out and back” trail from Medina to the west end of the floating bridge. At that time, westbound cars, trucks and buses will merge from three lanes to two when nearing Seattle and pedestrians and bicyclists will turn around. The connection to Montlake should open as part of the West Approach Bridge North project in summer 2017.
On the new floating bridge, the 14-foot wide, cross-lake lane will include belvederes to provide scenic viewpoints and resting areas for bikers, joggers and walkers.
The path will also have knee-level lighting all the way across the bridge, a protective barrier between the path and adjacent traffic, and a specially designed railing that provides views of the lake while keeping foot-powered travelers safe.
Bicyclists and pedestrians will not pay a toll to cross the bridge once the shared-use connection is open in 2017 or to use it as an “out and back” path in the interim.
Choose Your Way Bellevue staff recently toured the soon-to-be open SR 520 floating bridge on a rainy afternoon with WSDOT! Check it out the photos below: