(ADDED TO END OF STORY: How Metro service will change when bridge opens Monday)
Ever been inside a drawbridge as it opens? That’s what our video shows, as recorded during the new South Park Bridge‘s behind-the-scenes media tour on Tuesday afternoon, looking ahead to its dedication on Sunday and opening on Monday, which will be four years to the day since the old bridge’s shutdown. While photographers were inside during the bridge opening, your editor here recorded the next clip from the top deck (much quieter!):
Engineers are proud of how fast the new drawbridge moves – as little as 6 1/2 minutes for a full opening/closing (of course, the time will be variable depending on the marine craft moving along the Duwamish below). It’s operated by two 75-horsepower motors:
But the story of the new bridge (located here) is also in what surrounds it, and in reused pieces of the old bridge, on and below the new one. Read ahead to find out about that and to see a dozen more photos (plus another video clip):
The foot/bike paths along the bridge are more protected from traffic than their predecessors.
And the railings are part of the bridge’s 1 Percent for Art component, with all 41 gears from the old bridge incorporated.
The raingarden on the south side of the bridge is in the right-of-way that the old bridge spanned:
It connects to a path with river access that didn’t exist in the bridge area before. In addition to permeable pavement, some paths reuse century-old red bricks that previously comprised part of 14th Avenue South:
(WSB photo taken Monday – all other photos taken during Tuesday’s tour)
You’ll also see old lampposts and concrete railing from the previous bridge as part of that mix, plus seven interpretive signs. Meantime, back up on the bridge, you might notice its towers echo their predecessors:
The bridge has four lanes, as did the old one, but these are wider:
11-foot lanes, to be precise, with 5 feet for bicycles/pedestrians:
(To compare, see the old one here.) The county notes that the new decking is “made of lightweight concrete that is 22 percent lighter than regular concrete.” That’s part of why the workings inside will use less power:
On Monday morning at 6 am, KCDOT says, the bridge will be opened to vehicle traffic from both ends simultaneously; before the old bridge closed, it was averaging 20,000 vehicles a day, with trucks comprising 14 percent of that. Here’s a bridge-top look northeast to the Boeing side:
And southwest to the South Park side:
Again, that will follow a celebration all afternoon and into the night on Sunday – here’s the schedule for it so far. You’ll be able to walk on the bridge, since it doesn’t open to vehicle traffic until the next day.
And now to bookend this story – here’s our inside-the-bridge video as the span was closed:
The county estimates the project’s total cost at $162 million. The financing included contributions from not just King County, but several other government entities, as announced back in 2010.
(For more photos taken around the bridge on Tuesday, the day before the media tour, see this gallery on our partner site The South Park News.)
ADDED 12:24 PM: Readers asked how Metro will change routes once the bridge opens. Here’s the answer, from KCDOT spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok:
The new South Park Bridge is scheduled to reopen for service between South Park and Georgetown at 6 a.m. June 30. At that time, two bus stops will reopen northbound and southbound on 14th Ave S just north of S Cloverdale St, serving the South Park business community.
When the bridge reopens, Route 60 will operate its former routing on 14th and 16th Ave S between S Cloverdale St and East Marginal Way S. Route 60 will no longer operate on 14th Ave S between S Cloverdale St and Highway 99, and on East Marginal Way S between the 1st Ave S Bridge and Carleton Ave S. Operating via the South Park Bridge is expected to save about 5-8 minutes per trip in each direction.