State Route 520 changes are good

The current State Route 520 design expands the bridge from four lanes to eight to 10 lanes, and looms from 10 feet above the water to a 20- to 40-feet double-decker with room for maintenance vehicle below.

Welcome this proposed SR 520 to a long list of memorable Washington bridges: Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie), Hood Canal (partially sank), Interstate 90 (sunk) and the Alaskan Way Viaduct (sinking and unsafe). The height of the new SR 520 bridge would make it a concrete kite buffeted by varying winds and twisting and turning at every angle.

The current design puts a seven-lane bridge over Portage Bay and 10 lanes past the Washington Park Arboretum, offers no significant improvement in traffic at Montlake and moves more cars onto Interstate 5 without increasing I-5 capacity. It focuses on moving cars rather than moving people.

While it makes it easer for one lane of traffic from the Eastside to get to downtown and back, it does not increase capacity for cards going north and south. While it adds a new drawbridge at Montlake, it does not expand capacity of the current surface streets. In short, we will spend $4.6 billion in constructions costs, plus $4.5 billion in interest, for a solution that does not make anything better.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has issued a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The comment period ends April 15.

Council have hired an independent, outside consulting firm, to examine the bridge design and the west-end exchange and to offer alternative solutions.

Legislators in Olympia tell us they cannot have much credibility unless the mayor and the City Council speak with one voice. We urge you all to call, e-mail and writer the City Council and the mayor.[[In-content Ad]]