SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program - SR 520 Trail

New cross-lake path connects communities

The SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program is expanding routes and improving access for bicyclists and pedestrians all along the SR 520 corridor, from I-5 to Redmond. A key part of these improvements is our new, dedicated shared-use path across Lake Washington that connects to existing local and regional trails. Whether you plan to walk, bike, jog or wheel, we hope you enjoy this new community resource!

 

A bicyclist rides away from the camera on a trail next to state route 520 highway. There are cars and busses on the highway and in the distance three pedestrians walk away from the camera
See a pictorial history of the trail in our SR 520 Trail Flickr album.

Share your SR 520 Trail adventures with us: #SR520Trail
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Trail counter update:

A horizontal graphic that shows people walking a dog and bicycling on a path. The graphic reads State Route 520 Trail 241,878 2018 trips to date.

As of September 14, 2018

 

Trail history

Bicycle and pedestrian facilities on the Eastside corridor
The first section of the new SR 520 regional path – between Evergreen Point Road in Medina and 108th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue – opened in early 2015. WSDOT later helped the city of Bellevue build new sidewalk and bike lanes along Northup Way from 108th Avenue Northeast to the old SR 520 Trail east of I-405.

Extending the SR 520 Trail on Lake Washington

In July 2016, WSDOT opened the SR 520 Trail on the new floating bridge as an “out and back” trail from Medina to the west end of the floating bridge, about halfway across Lake Washington. This trail section includes scenic viewpoints and interpretive signage for trail users to enjoy the views and learn more about the history of the 520 corridor.

Connecting Seattle and the Eastside

A few months after the 2017 completion of the West Approach Bridge North, we opened the SR 520 Trail all the way across Lake Washington. Between the trail’s Dec. 20 cross-lake opening and the end of 2017, community members crossed a bicycle and pedestrian counter at the trail’s west end 6,543 times – clear evidence of the path's popularity.

 

"Where the I-90 Bridge feels like a means to get across the lake … the 520 Bridge is also a destination of its own"
- Tom Fucoloro, The Seattle Bike Blog, 1/3/18

 

What’s next? Future connections and extensions of the SR 520 Trail

In future phases of SR 520 construction, we‘ll extend the SR 520 Trail across Portage Bay. We'll also build an improved nonmotorized crossing over I-5 to provide a better connection to Seattle’s local bicycle and pedestrian network. In the Montlake area, a new lid over the SR 520/Montlake interchange will provide a direct connection to the Bill Dawson Trail, while a pedestrian/bicycle land bridge over SR 520 will create a safe north-south connection between the Washington Park Arboretum and East Montlake Park.

You can find an overview of the planned bicycle and pedestrian improvements in SR 520’s Seattle corridor on pages 6 and 7 of the 2016 Final Concept Design report (pdf 6.54 mb).

Want additional information on future SR 520 construction phases? Visit our I-5 to Lake Washington page.

 

Seattle connections

A map of the Montlake neighborhood showing the various connections to the State Route 520 Trail.

Connecting between the SR 520 Trail and:

UW/UW Med Center/UW Link Station/Burke-Gilman trail*:

The Bill Dawson Trail*

* Please note that Shelby Street is one-way westbound, and Hamlin Street is one-way eastbound.

Local Montlake connections

**Please note the above maps and Google links are only estimates, and are not intended to direct users to disregard posted signs or the law while accessing trails.

 

Eastside trail connections

Bellevue area

A map of the Bellevue area with the state route 520 trail, the points loop trail and the cross kirkland corridor trail highlighted in various colors.

Connecting between the SR 520 Trail and:

Redmond area

A map of the Redmond area. The State Route 520 Trail is highlighted as are other regional trails like the Sammamish River Trail.

Connecting between the SR 520 Trail and:

*Please note the above maps and Google links are only estimates, and are not intended to direct users to disregard posted signs or the law while accessing trails.

 

Trail safety

The SR 520 Trail is designed to be a regional shared-use path, meant for users of all kinds, including commuters, joggers and those out for a weekend adventure. The trail is 14 feet wide to allow for simultaneous use – please be courteous while on the path and watch for others.

The path features safety designs including knee-level lighting all the way across the lake, a protective barrier between the path and adjacent traffic, and a specially designed railing that provides views of the lake while keeping everyone safe.

Keep in mind that the trail is not meant for high speeds, as speed can create a safety risk for others on the path. Reduced speeds can also help minimize the effect to riders as they pass over the trail’s steel cover plates. These plates are necessary to maintain the structural integrity of the bridge while allowing people to use the path. The plates cover expansion joints that allow the bridge to expand and contract with changing temperatures and water levels. The plates also must support the weight of emergency vehicles and specialized bridge-maintenance vehicles.

Exploring a potential retrofit

In response to bicyclists' concern that the cover plates create a bump when crossed, our engineers are studying whether the plates could be retrofitted or replaced with a thinner plate. We don’t yet have an estimate of how long our investigation will take or what level of funding might be required, but we’ll share our findings and next steps with the public just as soon as we can. At this time, we can’t be certain a fix is feasible, but we take this issue seriously and are working to get answers.
 
In the meantime, we’ve added caution paint to alert path users as they approach each of the plates. In addition, we have added signs at each end of the floating bridge, alerting users to the upcoming bumps.

Looking west on the State Route 520 Trail over Lake Washington. In the middle of a picture is a yellow sign that says "Raised Plates Ahead."

 

Trail closures

There are currently no scheduled closures of the SR 520 Trail. Find the most up-to-date information about trail closures on our Community Construction Information page.

Future closure of 24th Avenue East Bridge

Please note that with the next phase of SR 520 construction, known as the Montlake Phase, the 24th Avenue East Bridge, which currently connects the SR 520 Trail to the Lake Washington Loop, will be reconstructed and incorporated into the new Montlake lid. To do this, the contractor will have to close this overpass to bicycle and pedestrian traffic during construction. We will announce a closure date when we are closer to construction (expected to begin in late 2018) and we will place detour signs throughout the neighborhood to ensure the community can continue to connect with regional trails.
 
Additionally, Montlake Phase construction may require intermittent SR 520 Trail closures. WSDOT and contractors will do our best to minimize the impacts and will provide advance notice of any trail closures.

Helpful resources for walking and bicycling in the SR 520 corridor

 

Contact

Email: sr520Bridge@wsdot.wa.gov
Phone: 206-770-3554  (staffed 8-5, Mon-Fri)