April 29

New 520 bridge plan includes lid over Montlake

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At a press conference on the UW campus, Gov. Chris Gregoire unveiled the WSDOT’s “preferred alternative” for expanding the 520 Bridge to six lanes, including a plan to build a lid at Montlake Blvd.

Map sketch of the plan, with the university to the north.

The plan includes an “urban interchange” from Montlake Boulevard to the waterfront, with an extended lid with open space, bike trails and bus stops. It involves a proposal to build a second drawbridge across the Montlake Cut with dedicated transit and carpool lanes.

Rendering of bus stops on the expanded Montlake lid

Up near Husky Stadium, a smaller lid would serve as a pedestrian walkway, providing easier access across campus and the UW Medical Center. WSDOT says the plan provides for a 45-foot space between west approach bridges for future light rail connection to the University Link station.

“For more than a decade we’ve worked with the neighborhoods, local governments, transit agencies and the public to replace this aging bridge,” Gov. Gregoire said. “Today, after all of that hard work and cooperation, we have a new 520 and are ready to move forward to open the bridge in 2014.”

The UW said it’s reviewing the plans, and Mayor Mike McGinn told the Seattle Times that the plan doesn’t go far enough in accommodating light rail. The state is about $2 billion short to complete the entire project, and next steps include pulling together environmental impact reports.

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