Our Northwest

The Seattle freeway that almost was

Friday, March 25, 2016by  Jon Osterberg

     Workers building the new SR 520 bridge continue to prepare the way by demolishing the “ramps to nowhere,” vestiges of the aborted R.H. Thomson Expressway near Seattle’s Arboretum.
     Today I came across this fascinating photo from the Seattle Municipal Archives. It’s an aerial shot from May 1962 superimposed with the routes of SR 520 and the Thomson freeway.
     As you can see, had it been built, the latter route (far right) would have spanned Union Bay east of Husky Stadium, eventually connecting with I-5 via the N.E. 50th corridor.
     Voters approved the Thomson Expressway in 1960, but environmental concerns led to a 1972 referendum that killed the route.
     Read our January story detailing plans for the R.H. Thomson Expressway.

(Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives)

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