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Governor Gregoire Urges Action on SR 520

For Immediate Release: November 12, 2007

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today said that delay on the SR 520 Bridge replacement project is unacceptable. Speaking at a new building opening at Microsoft’s Redmond campus, Governor Gregoire described the SR 520 Bridge as one of the region’s top safety priorities.

“The 520 replacement was part of the regional transportation experiment known as RTID. With the failure of Prop 1, we must take the 520 replacement project out of RTID,” said Governor Gregoire. “Our number one concern is safety. We can’t wait any longer to fix this bridge. We need a finance plan so that the first pontoons can be under construction in 2010. The economy and lives of the region are at stake.”

About the SR 520 Bridge
The SR 520 Bridge, also known as the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, was opened to traffic in 1963. It was designed to carry 66,000 cars per day. Today, this bridge carries 115,000 a day.

Today, new floating bridges are designed to withstand sustained winds up to 92 mph; the 520 bridge can withstand winds up to 77 mph for short periods of time only with the bridge’s draw span open. Even minor windstorms put wear and tear on the bridge, and engineers estimate the floating bridge’s useful life to be another 12 to 17 years.

The bridge across Portage Bay, and the fixed bridges that connect to the floating bridge, are extremely vulnerable to damage during earthquakes.

New bridges have “Sufficiency Ratings” of 100. A score of 80 warrants major re-habilitation, a score of 50 warrants total replacement. The SR 520 Bridge has a rating of about 45.