Bellevue and six other Eastside communities are advocating state officials to replace the existing State Route 520 floating bridge with a new, six-lane bridge that would accommodate high-occupancy vehicles and a future mass transit system.
"The 520 bridge and corridor are critical links to the entire Puget Sound region's transportation network," Mayor Grant Degginger said Monday. "Bellevue and our neighboring cities are united in our vision for the new bridge and the corridor, and the urgency of both becoming a reality."
The communities signing the interest statement endorsing a six-lane bridge include Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Clyde Hill, Medina, Yarrow Point and Hunts Point. All cities pledge to work with the state to minimize neighborhood impacts caused by the improvements, including addressing noise impacts and developing a construction mitigation plan with state transportation officials.
The interest statement was formally approved Monday night by the Bellevue City Council and comes several weeks following release by state transportation officials of a draft environmental impact statement indicating a six-lane corridor would carry far more people that a four-lane alternative, and that new HOV lanes would provide the main benefit.
Puget Sound region voters are expected to go to the polls in fall, 2007, to determine the fate of a package of regional transportation improvements including the 520 bridge and corridor improvements.
The package will also ask voters to approve construction of a light rail high-capacity transit system that would operate from Seattle across Interstate 90 to Bellevue and Redmond.
In their 520 interest statement, the eastside cities also urge Sound Transit, state transportation officials, the City of Seattle, the University of Washington and affected Seattle neighborhoods to reach agreement on design options and transit access to allow the bridge replacement and corridor improvements to move forward without delay.
The interest statement calls for state transportation officials to meet its current schedule and issue a final EIS for the 520 improvements in 2007, with the project going out for construction bids in 2009. The cities also pledge to actively work to secure necessary funding to implement the improvements.
The interest statement supports a "preferred alternative" with six key points, including:
- A six-lane SR 520 bridge replacement and HOV option (two general-purpose lanes and one new HOV lane in each direction);
- A system of freeway-to-freeway HOV connections at SR 520/I-5 and SR 520/I-405;
- Direct transit access at 108th Avenue NE;
- A State Route 520 bridge and corridor designed and sized to incorporate HCT, with adequate right of way to accommodate the required footprint of HCT and a reconstructed east high-rise that can structurally accommodate HCT.
- Retention of bus transit flyer stops between the SR 520 Bridge and I-405 as long as HCT can be accommodated in the future;
- A bicycle and pedestrian path across the SR 520 Bridge and throughout the corridor from I-5 to SR 202, providing a continuous, seamless bicycle/pedestrian path.
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