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Ahoy! Boating season means more bridge openings

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Date:  Thursday, May 02, 2013

Contact: Mike Allende , WSDOT Communications, 206-440-4455

SEATTLE – Boating season marks the unofficial start to summer in Seattle for motorists and mariners alike. With more nautical traffic, drivers should expect additional delays on both the State Route 520 Bridge and the State Route 513 Montlake Bridge.

On Saturday, May 4, drivers will need to plan ahead and take an alternate route because the Montlake Bridge will close to vehicle and foot traffic from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. to allow about 900 boats to sail through the cut as part of the opening day of boating season.

In addition to the bridge closure, other ramps will be closed at the same time:

• The westbound SR 520 off-ramp to Montlake Boulevard.
• The left turn lane of the eastbound SR 520 off-ramp to northbound Montlake Boulevard.

Boat traffic will have less of an impact for drivers on the SR 520 floating bridge this weekend as the east navigational channel will be opening to accommodate vessels up to 59 feet tall beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 2. The channel will close as construction on the new SR 520 floating bridge resumes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 5.

Drivers will see frequent openings of the drawspan again this summer due to Coast Guard rules that require the Washington State Department of Transportation to open the SR 520 bridge for boats more than 45 feet tall. Marine openings of the SR 520 Bridge are prohibited between the hours of 6:30 – 10 a.m. and 3 – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays excluding Columbus Day.

In addition to electronic highway message signs advising drivers of an SR 520 opening, text and email alerts are also available to provide a two hour notice.

Besides opening weekend of boating season, WSDOT keeps the east and west navigation channels open on Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day, Seafair weekend and Labor Day weekend.


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