On a clear Saturday overlooking Lake Washington, Governor Jay Inslee officially opened State Route 520 – the world’s newest and longest floating bridge – to the public.
Over the weekend, April 2-3, thousands of people turned out to commemorate SR 520’s completion and take part in a weekend full of celebratory activities— including its induction into the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest floating bridge spanning 7,408.494 feet, end to end. The Washington Department of Transportation, who headed the event, estimates 45,500 turned up to celebrate.
After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, Inslee called the bridge a “monument of optimism” adding “we’re taking a big step toward that bright future.”
The grand opening offered people the chance to not only become some of the first to step foot on the newly paved roadway but also to participate in a 10K run/walk, a 20-mile “Emerald City Bike Ride,” and an opportunity to learn about the bridge’s building process through interactive activity centers.
As spectators strolled the bridge throughout the entire weekend, the Washington State Patrol was on hand to ensure everyone’s safety.
Sergeant Tina Martin explains K9s, a bomb squad, and troopers were all present to support the Department of Transportation with foot traffic and crowd control. Troopers even had the chance to interact with some K9-loving citizens.
The event was so popular the bridge quickly filled to maximum capacity by mid-afternoon. The DOT and WSP worked closely to monitor bridge traffic and assist all who needed attention. No major incidents were reported.
The new six-lane 520 bridge is ten years of planning and five years of construction in the making. The SR 520 is replacing its four-lane predecessor and will be open to vehicle traffic in both directions starting April 25th.
For more information please visit: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/