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State and local officials, along with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Gregory Nadeau, on April 2 attended the grand opening of the SR 520 Bridge in Seattle, the longest floating bridge in the world.
The bridge’s westbound lanes will open to traffic April 11, followed by the eastbound lanes opening April 25. A virtual tour is available here.
“The new bridge will enhance regional mobility and give the public new and better options for travel,” Nadeau says. “The improvements will help ensure that residents in the Puget Sound area are connected to jobs, education and other opportunities, and that businesses and freight shippers can move their goods more efficiently.”
The SR 520 bridge includes bus and bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths and serves as a “vital east-west roadway” crossing Lake Washington and connecting “major employment centers” in Seattle with suburbs including Bellevue.
The original floating bridge was built in 1963 but needed updating to accommodate an estimated 72,000 vehicles a day. The update now stretches 7,710 feet (nearly 1.5 miles), roughly 130 feet than the original bridge. Engineers say it can hold up to 89 mph sustained winds.