The Evolution of Seattle’s 520 Bridge

Big changes are under way on the 520 bridge, the longest floating bridge on Earth.

By Seattle Mag

520tolls

February 16, 2012

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Just when you thought cross-lake commuting couldn’t get any more fun, tolling on the S.R. 520 bridge went into effect. Now, crossing the floating bridge can set you back as much as $5 one way, depending on the time of day and whether you have a prepaid “Good to Go!” pass affixed to your windshield.

Tolls collected will pay for construction of the new six-lane 520 bridge under way right now; currently, 33 enormous concrete pontoons are being built in Aberdeen to be floated here. The bridge should be finished in 2014; tolling is expected to continue at least until the 30- and 40-year bonds are paid off—in 2056. To save money on tolls, ride the bus, share the ride (RideshareOnline.com), or check out a pair of new apps: TollAvoider.com and 520or90.com.

 

The bridge as it exists today, with four general-purpose lanes

 

 

The updated bridge, with four general-purpose lanes, two carpool lanes and a pedestrian and bike path

 

 

The new 520 can be retrofitted with additional pontoons to bear the weight of light rail at a future date

 

 

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