Before vehicle traffic takes over the world’s brand new longest floating bridge in late April, the public will have a chance to get close and personal with the 7,710-ft-long pontoon-supported bridge.
The Washington State Dept of Transportation will host a weekend of festivities atop the 1.5 miles of floating concrete highway, starting Saturday morning, April 2, with a community fun run and walk. Then, on Sunday, April 3, the 520 Go Long celebration closes with a public bicycle ride from the University of Washington on the west side of the bridge across the bridge and back to campus through car-free routes in downtown Seattle.
“We’re hoping to get people from all across the region to come to this event,” Julie Meredith, WSDOT administrator of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program, says in a statement. “It’s going to be a fun weekend for the whole family.”
WSDOT wants to highlight community health and wellness with the fun run/walk and bike ride, also bringing attention to the bridge’s 14-ft-wide shared-use path that will eventually stretch from Redmond to Interstate 5.
The event’s plans will continue to fill out as the April weekend approaches, with more family-oriented activities expected to offer the public an opportunity to experience the construction in a way they won’t be able to once the bridge opens to vehicle traffic later in April.
When the traffic does shift to the new bridge, it will do so in stages, using two weekend closures in April to open the two general-purpose and one transit-carpool lane in each direction. Following the final shift, crews will then decommission the old bridge and remove it by floating it out in sections.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.