You can pinpoint the busiest construction area of Seattle right down to the shores of Lake Washington, with three mega projects occurring within mere miles of each other.
First, Let’s float. With the new 520 floating bridge project—the replacement of the world’s longest floating bridge that connects Seattle to points east—comes hefty price tags and now tolling on the old bridge to help pay for it all. The first real test of the new tolling was Tuesday and traffic volumes were down as much as 40 percent at times as drivers found alternatives to the $3.50 toll.
All that traffic shifted to the Interstate 90 bridge, arterials that skirt the lake and newly packed buses. It remains to be seen how much of the traffic that avoided the 520 tollway at the start will keep to their new routine and stay away from the bridge. But with that much money to be saved, you can figure there will be plenty that don’t come back to the floating bridge. In the meantime, crews in Aberdeen, Wash., continue to work to construct the new pontoons for the replacement floating bridge and 520 work is ongoing east of the bridge.
But back on the west side of the floating bridge, serving as an ever-changing backdrop to the lake, is the demolition of Husky Stadium. Things didn’t start out all that cleanly for the project, which literally hit a snag when a cable got caught during the roof demolition, jolting a crane to the point of inoperability. Thankfully nobody was injured in the mishap, but Labor & Industries has started looking into the situation.
Work is able to continue onsite, as demolition crews continue to tear out the south grandstands and will have them completely down, including the old footings, by mid-February at the latest. Elsewhere on site, shoring work for the footings on the north stands is ongoing; excavation and shoring is complete on the west side to support the football operations building and the foundation work has started; concrete work continues under the Don James Center; and the excavation and restoring of the west stands continues in full force.
Crews plan to have the stadium ready for football by fall 2013.
Basically across the street from Husky Stadium lies another massive Seattle project, the creation of Sound Transit’s University Link station at the stadium. In an effort to tie Seattle’s relatively young light rail network to more Seattle areas, crews are tunneling northeast from existing rail near downtown to the U-District. (Remember, almost every project in Seattle requires either a bored tunnel or a floating bridge, which makes things all that more interesting).
With a trio of projects so intricate and newsworthy in their own right zeroed in on one location, keeping an eye on this hub of activity on the shores of Lake Washington will provide intrigue for years to come (and a lot longer if the Husky football team can fill their newly renovated stadium with wins).
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