The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Governor edges closer to Republican demands for 520 by 2013

New 520 bridge by 2014, state says

Seattle Times staff reporter

OLYMPIA — Gov. Christine Gregoire on Monday said the state expects to replace the Highway 520 floating bridge by 2014, four years earlier than planned.

Gregoire and the state Department of Transportation (DOT) said the work can be done faster in part by expediting the environmental review and starting construction of the pontoons sooner.

The move is expected to shave millions of dollars off the cost of the project, Gregoire said. New estimates peg the cost at $3.7 billion to $3.9 billion. Previously the bridge was projected to cost $4 billion.

The state Legislature is moving ahead with a financing plan, supported by Gregoire, to replace the 520 Bridge. The plan calls for early tolling — as soon as next year — on the existing bridge to help pay for construction.

The new bridge would be built near the existing structure. No highway closures are expected during the work.

As envisioned, the bridge would have a single row of pontoons supporting six lanes of traffic. The plan has drawn criticism from Eastside groups and legislators who are concerned the design could preclude adding high-capacity transit lanes in the future.

However, Gregoire on Monday promised that the bridge would be expandable. And the DOT also said any lids at Foster Island or on the Eastside would be wide enough to add light rail or separate bus lanes.

"We cannot and will not foreclose a decision in the future to expand," she said. "We will construct it in a manner that will allow that future decision to be made. The pontoons will be done with that in mind."

In addition to completing the floating bridge faster, the DOT expects to finish related work, including the fixed section over Portage Bay and the Seattle exit ramps, by 2016, two years earlier than projected.

DOT officials also believe the environmental review won't take as long as originally thought

The articles are posted solely for educational purposes to raise awareness of transportation issues. I claim no authorship, nor do I profit from this website. Where known, all original authors and/or source publisher have been noted in the post. As this is a knowledge base, rather than a blog, I have reproduced the articles in full to allow for complete reader understanding and allow for comprehensive text searching...see custom google search engine at the top of the page. If you have concerns about the inclusion of a specific article, please email for a speedy resolution.