For a change of pace from the Capitol Hill protest zone and yet another civic duty deadline — Tuesday night! — how about some reporting on a water fountain at a new park in Montlake. The Washington State Department of Transportation is hosting an online open house about the state Route 520 project near Montlake Blvd. The open house includes a survey asking about the sorts of amenities people may want when the park lidding 520 is completed. Consider it an entertainment option for the rest of your Tuesday.
In the COVID-19 era, what would normally be a public, in-person open house has been moved to the Internet. The “open house” documents are fairly compact, though some of them do get into a bit of detail.
The project began last year, and parts of it may run through 2029. However, the open house focuses only on the portion being built now, known as the Montlake Project, which covers the stretch of 520 roughly between Montlake Blvd eastward to where the bridges approach the land. This portion is expected to wrap up construction in 2023. It is being built by Calgary, Canada-based Graham Construction for $455.3 million.
This portion of the overall project is broken into four components.
The most interesting is the Montlake Lid. The state will build a cover for the portion of 520 between Montlake Boulevard and 24th Avenue. The cover will then be turned into a park. It will include walking paths and open spaces, but will also have a transit plaza with direct access for buses, HOV and other forms of transportation. Coupled with this section is a pedestrian bridge over 520, a bit further east from the new lid.
For those of you interested in efforts to lid I-5, you can look to 520 for near-term inspiration.
Probably the least interesting, but possibly the most important in terms of traffic mobility is rebuilding the eastbound bridges. The westbound bridges are already complete.
The lid and pedestrian bridge are the parts that the state wants to hear about. There are a set of questions about what design elements are important, how people think they might use the space, and what amenities they would find important, and also how they might use the pedestrian bridge. There is also an open section for more free-form comments.
There is a tab explaining a big picture timeline for planned construction this year, though it doesn’t get into much detail, except to say lots of building will be happening over the next few years. For those interested in keeping up with the more specific construction schedule, the state has a different website updated regularly with plans including lane closures and other potential issues which is searchable by date.
Another portion of the open house explains what people might expect in terms of construction impacts on the day-to-day. With the summer coming and people heading outdoors, there are notes about areas around Foster and Marsh islands which will be restricted to canoes and kayaking. The section also goes into notices about potential nighttime construction and vibrations that may be caused by construction activity.
Finally, the Open House includes ways to contact the state, including a hotline if there are urgent construction issues, links to websites with more detail, a bit about the drop-in information center and contact information for the community liaison.
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