Our Northwest

Yesterday's SR 520 traffic jam was last of its kind

Thursday, April 21, 2016by  Jon Osterberg
Last night was perhaps my worst evening commute ever. One hour and 20 minutes from South Lake Union to Redmond.
     Blame the We Day traffic exiting KeyArena and a blocking accident on the old Evergreen Point Floating Bridge – which ironically, I was crossing for the very last time.
     Why the last time? Today I drive east via I-90, and tomorrow night SR 520 closes while workers spend the weekend shifting eastbound traffic from the old bridge to the new one.
     After that the structure I first crossed in 1963 at age 9, and later commuted across daily as a UW student and PEMCO employee, will close permanently. Soon workers will disassemble the old bridge piecemeal.
     But my bad commute heralds good news: no longer should motorists endure long delays on the 520 bridge. That’s because unlike the old bridge, the new version has shoulders, as well as an HOV lane.
     Last night, as it has over the past 53 years, an accident forced rush-hour traffic to funnel down to one lane past the crash scene. Approaching that bottleneck, cars in each lane hugged the bridge walls to create a pseudo-lane in between for fire trucks and emergency vehicles.
     Check out these photos of the new 520 bridge. Those shoulders will be a blessing. And we get a bicycle-pedestrian path, as well!
Photos courtesy of WSDOT

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