Washington Builds: SR 520 Looking Good, So Do Light Rail Tunnel and Columbia River Crossing


Walking paths!? (Picture: WSDOT)


It has become quite the trend to read the AGC newsletter each morning and see it flush with Washington building news. Today’s edition showcased the Columbia River Crossing and the Seattle Light Rail Tunnel, while the Seattle Tunnel and SR 520 Bridge have been recently discussed. Not a great time to be a Seattle driver, but certainly some good news for the lucky contractors that picked up any of this work.


Washington is currently managing some of the largest public civil projects in its history. The most talked about this week is the SR 520 Bridge, which will bring a six lane highway with walking/biking paths to the jaunt between Bellevue and Seattle.   According to the state, construction barges were scheduled to arrive last week and start working on the new bridge. This summer, the pontoons will be brought in, though the final drivers will not rest upon pontoons like the existing bridge. The bridge will also feature sentinels that light up at night. There are plenty of photos of the project, released by the state, over at this link.


The $3.5 Billion Columbia River Crossing is more to benefit Portlandia, where its business travelers will finally have light rail access to Vancouver, WA. But the project is a big endeavor for both Oregon and Washington, as both sides of the river require significant work. Testing has begun and the work will be in full flux this summer. The Crossing will replace the existing (and pretty cool looking) I-5 bridge separating the states.


In other news, the Seattle Times posted some extremely interesting video of “Balto” breaking through the ground into Capitol Hill. Balto is the name given to the massive tunnel boring machine (TBM) used by contractors to dig the new Seattle Light Rail tunnel into Capitol Hill. If you have 6 minutes, check out this video.


Big stuff going on in Washington. Keep your heads up, construction industry.




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