We’re at the South Portal Working Group meeting looking at what’s ahead for the Alaskan Way Viaduct – an ongoing process – and one group member, Marty Oppenheimer from South Park, brought up the issue of the South Park Bridge‘s impending June 30th closure. For those following the issue – of interest to many in south West Seattle and White Center, too – there were a few interesting replies from various city, state and port reps who are here. Ron Paananen from WSDOT noted the situation is “starting to get the attention of people in Olympia.” Ron Judd, also from WSDOT, said Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond asked him to “sit down with various folks to see if there’s a way in which we could provide some sort of assistance or help in solving this problem” – especially regarding putting together a “competitive” package to seek money for the bridge project. He added, “Pressure solves problems – and pressure is beginning to build.” Mike Merritt from the Port said, “We’re all engaged – we need to find a path that the project hasn’t had in the past.” He noted there’s a “big meeting” regarding the South Park Bridge situation tomorrow with multiple agencies/jurisdictions involved; we’re checking to find out more about that. Meantime, we’ll have a full report later on the main subject of this working-group meeting: What it’ll be like as Viaduct/South End construction is staged over the next five years – what closes when, who detours where and when, what’s getting built when, etc. Lots and lots of changes, twists and turns – we’ll try to help you make some sense of it.
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