Montlake, here are the plans for your 520 ‘short lid,’ new Portage Bay Bridge

"The revised Montlake Lid design proposes a landbridge connection across SR 520," WSDOT says.

“The revised Montlake Lid design proposes a landbridge connection across SR 520,” WSDOT says.

It’s all 520 to you and me but WSDOT has tackled the replacement of the highway’s path from I-5 and Montlake across Lake Washington to the Eastside in segments as it coordinates construction schedules with Olympia’s wrangling over transportation budgets. Thursday, neighbors in Montlake will get their first public views of the latest plans for the as-of-yet unfunded “new Portage Bay Bridge between I-5 and Montlake, a highway overpass lid in Montlake, and enhanced highway-corridor connections to neighborhoods and local shared-use paths for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

20140905-004403-2643287Community site Montlake.net is watching:

WSDOT is coming to the neighborhood on Thursday, September 11th with new plans for a shorter Montlake Lid — and high hopes of getting enough state funding next year to finish the SR-520 Replacement project through Seattle. Since the last design update in 2012, WSDOT has partnered with the City of Seattle to respond to critical public feedback asking for better pedestrian and bicycle access.

Neighbors will be particularly interested in changes being discussed to a planned lid covering the highway:

Previous plans from 2012 call for a 1400-foot-long landscaped lid over the future 520 from Montlake Blvd to Montlake’s eastern shoreline. This new plan calls for a much shorter 800-foot-long lid from a wee bit west of Montlake Blvd to 24th Ave East (the ex-MOHAI overpass). Goodbye eastern lid.

The plans will also include concepts for a bicycle-and-pedestrian-only bascule bridge over the Montlake Cut.

After community feedback in previous outreach sessions, WSDOT planners have also incorporated a “multi-use” trail for bikers and pedestrians as part of the proposed new Portage Bay Bridge portion of the 520 replacement.

Community organizers are asking for more support Thursday night:

Community meeting this Thu – 520 plans. Make your voice heard!

Open House about the new 520 plans Thursday Sept. 11 at Montlake Community Center, from 4:30 to 7 pm. State Department of Transportation will present its new plans for pedestrian and bicycle access, and traffic mitigation – these will have a big effect on community quality throughout Capitol Hill, Montlake, Madrona and Madison neighborhoods. WSDOT staff, consultants, key SDOT and DPD staff and mayor office representatives as well as council members will be there. They need to hear a full range of diverse opinions before the proposal makes it way to Olympia.

"A cable stay bridge is one of two bridge types under consideration" for Portage Bay, according to WSDOT

“A cable stay bridge is one of two bridge types under consideration” for Portage Bay, according to WSDOT

The replacement projects are part of a massive overhaul of the 520 floating bridge. Construction of the Eastside elements is nearing completion as the floating bridge work continues. In March, CHS reported on the start of work on the so-called West Approach Bridge North section of the bridge. The $300 million federally funded westbound section will have three lanes and include a pedestrian and bike path that will eventually connect to a path all the way across Lake Washington. The eastbound section — a south bridge — is part of more than a billion dollars in 520 replacement projects yet to be funded.

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9 thoughts on “Montlake, here are the plans for your 520 ‘short lid,’ new Portage Bay Bridge

  1. So, the Eastside aristocracy gets its precious lid, but the Seattle end gets an extra wide overpass? I love how they sell these projects with beautiful feature renderings that never materialize, at least for us schleps on the Seattle side. Now that I think about it, it’s probably just really coldly served revenge for the revolt against the RH Thompson Expressway.

  2. I highly encourage Capitol Hill residents to attend this meeting and provide input on the design. This stuff really matters without how we as neighbors interact with this huge new highway going through the north end of our neighborhood. The more voices the better.

    First, major kudos to Rep Brady Walkinshaw for getting an amendment added to SB 6001 earlier this year that mandates WSDOT to work with Seattle to optimize the lid and the ped/bike/transit connections. Lots of progress has been made but much more is needed.

    Specifically:
    -Ped/bike connections with the west-side of Montlake Ave are pretty bad (the lid only really helps people crossing over 520 on the east-side of Montlake Blvd). Walking from the vicinity of Interlaken park to new 520 transit stops and UW light rail station will still be very difficult and treacherous.
    -The west side of the Portage Bay Bridge ped/bike trail needs to connect all the way to the 10th & Roanoke intersection and lid. Anything short of that is a missed opportunity.

  3. Yes on the bike connection to Roanoke and 10th! Though in an ideal world, I wonder if a reconnected Federal Ave might make a good “green street” up to the dedicated bike path at Roy/Broadway?

    • I’ve long thought that about Federal — 10th is pretty heavy and fast for beginner or tired bicyclists, and conversely there could be a bike-lane of smooth pavement on Federal that made it a bike boulevard without inviting 10th-avoiding traffic.

      I’d like a bike bridge connecting Federal to Roanoake Park, thence to rejoin the roads to get down to the University Bridge. This is wildly blue-sky. How are you connecting it to the 520 paths?

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  5. Pingback: State settles on final designs for Seattle-side 520 projects including new Portage Bay Bridge, Montlake ‘land bridge’ | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle