Many Seattle area drivers are getting their first experience on the new westbound SR 520 Bridge across Lake Washington on Monday. Eastbound drivers are still using the old bridge.
KIRO Radio’s Chris Sullivan was among the first drivers to give the new westbound lanes a try. He notes that there are a couple curves where the new bridge transitions with the old on the west side of the lake. He suggests paying a little extra attention but drivers should pass through smoothly.
Crews spent the entire weekend on the old 520 bridge, which was closed to drivers, preparing for the opening of the new span over Lake Washington early Monday morning. They paved, striped lanes, and moved barriers so that at 5 a.m. westbound drivers will cruise from Bellevue to Seattle on the new bridge.
Eastbound drivers will stay on the old floating bridge for two more weeks.
At 3:50 AM, the first vehicles crossed the NEW SR 520 floating bridge! pic.twitter.com/diM0fhv1Gb
— SR 520 (@wsdot_520) April 11, 2016
The new westbound bridge opens with three lanes, including an inside, left-hand HOV lane. It’ll convert to a general purpose lane before traffic exits the bridge and moves back onto the existing two-lane SR 520 roadway in Seattle, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
WSDOT will close the old bridge again the weekend of April 23-24 to transition eastbound drivers to the new bridge before Monday morning, April 25.
What will happen to the old ‘world’s longest floating bridge?’ The bridge deck will be disassembled and eventually removed by the end of this year, according to the WSDOT. The pontoons will be towed away and used for other marine purposes.