After years of hard work to get the aging State Route 520 corridor rebuilt, the City Council on Monday heard the news they've been waiting for: Construction on the eastside portion will begin early next year.
State Department of Transportation officials (WSDOT) gave the council a progress report on the highway, one of two east-west roadways across Lake Washington and a major commuter route for workers residing on both sides. Bellevue has played a key role in seeking political support for the project, as well as assisting WSDOT with planning and engineering work.
"This project has been a long time coming, and our thanks go to Gov. Gregoire, our state legislators and others who have been instrumental in supporting the legislation needed to get this project underway in 2011," Bellevue Mayor Don Davidson said. "This project is essential not only for public safety reasons, but for the continued economic success of our region."
The SR 520 project calls for the replacement of the aging Evergreen Point Bridge and the Portage Bay Bridge, both of which were built in the 1960s without the benefit of today’s design standards and considered vulnerable to windstorms and earthquakes. The project also calls for major highway improvements along the 520 corridor.
The Bellevue City Council is particularly interested in the portion of the highway that runs through Medina and Bellevue. Planned improvements include three lids over the freeway, a new bridge at Bellevue Way, an enhanced regional bike trail, noise walls and fish passage improvements.
Among the planned high-occupancy vehicle changes will be two transit stops located under the lids in the center of the freeway, an HOV "direct access" ramp on and off the westbound lanes of the highway at 108th Avenue Northeast, and relocating the HOV lanes east of 108th Avenue Northeast from the outside of the highway to the middle.
Topics of Monday's presentation included:
- Eastside improvements: State legislation approved in March cleared the way for SR 520 work on the Eastside to begin. Construction on the Medina to SR 202 segment in Redmond is scheduled to begin in early 2011 and wrap up in 2014.
- Floating bridge replacement: The work from I-5 to the eastern shore of Lake Washington in Medina includes replacing the floating bridge and replacing the landings, interchanges and roadway.
- Financing and tolling: The total budget for the SR 520 projects is $4.35 billion, part of which will be paid through tolls on the new floating bridge, scheduled to begin in spring 2011. Prices will vary by the time of day and type of vehicle, but have not yet been determined.
- Bellevue's role: The city is working closely with WSDOT on issues such as contracting agreements, utility relocations, traffic signals and how tolling on SR 520 will impact city streets.
Council agenda item
WSDOT SR 520 project
Feedback: Rick Logwood, Capital Projects Manager, 425-452-6858 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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