Happening tonight: South Park Bridge closure and ‘wake’

(Photo courtesy King County Department of Transportation)
Less than four months’ time has gone by since South Park residents — and others who use the 14th Avenue South Bridge — started getting major, repeated, public warnings that King County would close the deteriorating old bridge permanently at 7 pm June 30th. (Here’s our report from the 1st major public meeting back on March 9th.) June 30th is here, and much has changed – while some of the fury over the closure turned to acceptance, much of the energy also has channeled into two drives: First, to make sure money would be found for a new bridge (as of last Friday, $80 million has now been committed toward the $130 million needed); second, to make sure that South Park’s businesses do not wither and die during the bridgeless time. Tonight’s “wake,” 6-10 pm, is partly meant to make a statement along the latter lines, so South Park is hoping that many will come to not only mark the end of their bridge’s life, but to see what they are like as a community, and how they plan to survive and thrive during a tougher-than-usual time. There are ceremonial events (including a final walk on the bridge) planned before 7 pm, with live art (muralists painting the bridge), live music, and restaurant specials during the evening as well (here’s the schedule).

(Photo by Dale Rowe, from April demonstration on the South Park Bridge)
If you’ve never been to South Park, one way to get there is to take Roxbury all the way east, and keep following as the road curves around and over Highway 509, then becomes Cloverdale S., the main east-west route, which ends in the business district at 14th (the bridge is a left turn/northbound from there). And/or you can mark the occasion right here in West Seattle – Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) is planning a South Park Bridge Wake starting at 6 (details on the FL home page, where you also can read about the bridge memorial T-shirts the Feedback’s been selling, so popular that South Park residents have made runs up here to procure more).

(County rendering of what the South Park end of the bridge will look like, right after the shutdown)
As for the practical aspects of the closure – at 7 pm, the barricades go up, and so do the bridge’s “leaves,” permanently. Demolition comes later. Three bus lines were rerouted as of 5 this morning. You can read about all that here. And on the emotional side – we wanted to share two links that have been brought to our attention: a South Park Bridge tender’s farewell, and memories from a couple who met on the bridge.

6 Replies to "Happening tonight: South Park Bridge closure and 'wake'"

  • Jim June 30, 2010 (11:41 am)

    Just drove over the bridge, drove past a endless line of Boeing workers walking across for a last lunch…

  • Jim June 30, 2010 (11:47 am)

    Watch your driving through the area. SDOT has already changed lane assignments as of Noon. You are going to be down one right turn lane off of E Marginal Way southbound.

    Also the right lane on Cloverdale is no longer a left turn lane, it is right turn only.

    This seems a little premature, and is bound to screw up the afternoon commute.

  • Amy June 30, 2010 (1:51 pm)

    Just took one last stroll across. Lots of folks doing the same. Good luck to the 14th Ave S businesses. What a shame.

  • vinitoo June 30, 2010 (2:51 pm)

    Looking at Google maps it looks like there are two marinas, various Boeing parking and vacant parking lots and not much else, south of the bridge. If those marinas were moved somewhere north of the bridge, at a much lower cost than building a new bridge, then it seems like the bridge could then stay in the down position.

  • BeachLady511 June 30, 2010 (10:12 pm)

    It was glorious and it was sad. It was great to mingle with everyone; free beer (water, pop) was a fine touch! The live load today was probably the greatest it’s ever had, but several years of less than minimal maintenance do render it unsafe (though so is the viaduct and we still use it). P.S. The bridge has to raise for a water-dependent business south of it, not usually mere boaters.

  • AmT July 2, 2010 (3:32 pm)

    Mixed emotions seeing talking heads like Joe Dirt coming over from Vashon Island to mourn with the people, knowing it was his witholding of funds in the legislature that denied bridge repair. Sally Clark dropped in to get her picture in the paper, also, as though she knows anything about the struggles the residents and businesses will soon face. Argh career politicians make me mad!
    The high point of the day was seeing the next generation of Leaders that genuinely care about the community such as Diana Toledo and Tim Fahey who were at the event because they have a connection to the community and weren’t just dropping in for a photo-op!

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