Weekend 520 closure marks milestone




Posted on June 27, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 6:32 PM

SEATTLE -- The bad news: The 520 bridge will be closed between Montlake and I-405 from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. The good news: A lot of progress is being made.

The most notable is the installation of a massive "hinge transition span."  It’s 190 feet long, weighs 90,000 pounds and connects the east end of the new floating bridge to the eastern shore. It's the sort of thing that makes WSDOT managers downright giddy.

"I’m very happy," giggled Deputy Construction Manager Greg Meadows. "That’s a big milestone to show the progress of this project."

The hinge allows the bridge to move up and down as water levels rise and fall throughout the year.

And there’s a lot more going on that isn’t apparent to the untrained eye. Defective pontoons that once delayed the project have all been repaired and are now being bolted into place.

"Obviously a ton of work is going on," said 520 spokesman Ian Sterling. "Some of that will be wrapped up by the end of the summer, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

As for why DOT is doing all this work, as well as several other major road projects on a very busy summer weekend, officials say there are only about 20 workable weekends a year weatherwise and they are trying to do their best to combat what they call “construction fatigue.”

"We pool them together so we can get as much work done at the same time and be the least inconvenient to drivers," said Sterling.

A bit more good news: The bridge is on track to be completed by spring of 2016. It's being built to last for generations, so drivers won't have to go through this again for about 75 years.