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Gov. Gregoire speeds up replacement of SR 520 bridge by four years

For Immediate Release: March 3, 2008

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire announced today that she has reduced by four years the time it will take to replace the economically vital SR 520 Bridge linking Seattle and the thriving east side of Lake Washington.

In a letter to legislative leaders, the governor said that at her urging, the Washington Department of Transportation has designed a way to build a new bridge by the fall of 2014 – a full four years earlier than it was previously estimated.

At the same time, work on the rest of the 520 corridor from Interstate 5 to Interstate 405 will be completed by 2016 – two years earlier than first planned. Completing the entire corridor two years early will save the region $100 million in congestion relief alone.

“I informed the Department that the timeline is too long,” Gregoire wrote. “Late last week the Department reported back to me. With your passage of my 520 bill, I am pleased to inform you that a new SR 520 floating bridge will be complete in the Fall of 2014. The full SR 520 corridor improvements will be complete by 2016. These changes, in addition to the pontoon proposal provided in January of 2008, will provide a savings of approximately $500 to $700 million on the total project cost and avoid delay costs.”

To help accomplish the accelerated construction timeline, an existing Tacoma facility will jumpstart the building of smaller pontoons in 2009. In 2010 a new facility in Grays Harbor will be up and running and by 2011 will be building the larger pontoons for the new bridge.

“We are going to put more people to work, faster,” said Gregoire. “This accelerated plan will work like an economic stimulus package to help create more jobs in Washington and make our roadways safer all at the same time.”

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