The Voice for Industry
February 17, 2010
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Mercer Wins, South Park Loses

The uncertain future of the South Park Bridge grew more uncertain Wednesday, Feb 17, when it failed to gain federal funding while the feds awarded $30 million to support a new Two-Way Mercer proposal in South Lake Union.

Seattle, King County and Tukwila officials argued for years about who should pay how much money to fix the crumbling bridge that connects South Park to the rest of south Seattle. King County sought about $100 million from the federal funding source to help fix the bridge. County officials say the bridge is so unsafe they may have to close it to traffic before the end of this year.

If closed, much of the bridge traffic would divert to the already crowded First Avenue South draw bridge. The South Park Bridge carries about 20,000 vehicles each day, with an unusually high volume of truck traffic.

The bridge is adjacent to the former site of Boeing world corporate headquarters where commercial airplane chief Alan Mullaly once let it slip to a news reporter that he felt our transportation planning process "sucks." That was before Mullaly moved on to become CEO of the newly resurgent Ford Motor Company. It was also before Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago. It was also before the Boeing Company announced it would build a new aircraft assembly line for the 787 in South Carolina instead of a new one here.


State of the City

New Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn delivered his first State of the City address this week and next week three members of the City Council will provide their views about City Hall during a community meeting sponsored by the Manufacturing Industrial Council.

City Council President Richard Conlin and council members Sally Bagshaw and Tim Burgess will take part in a panel discussion and a question-answer session February 23, from 4-5 pm, followed by a reception from 5-6 pm that will offer attendees a chance to speak with the elected officials one-on-one.

The meeting will be held in Room 106 in Building B at the Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center at 6770 East Marginal Way in Georgetown. RSVP to Pam at 206-762-2470 or email The reception will include refreshments.

Conlin was first elected to the council in 1997 after a lengthy career in a variety of civic activities and he serves on the Sound Transit board as well as the council. Bagshaw won her first council term last fall and was a long time Chief Civil Deputy for King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng. Burgess is a former Seattle police officer who later founded and operated his own marketing firm. He was elected to the council in 2007.

It is an irrevocable rule of nature that all elected officials in Seattle are green as green can be, but while the Mayor and council members share many core values, they are leg wrestling over a number of issues including last year's hard fought agreement with the state government to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bore tunnel. McGinn believes the tunnel plan is too auto-centric and will prove to be too expensive. He wants to tear down the viaduct and replace it with road and transit improvements including a new billion dollar light rail line between Ballard and West Seattle.

The City Council is famously enthusiastic about transit, bicycling, walking, swimming, hiking and all other alternative modes of transportation, but nearly all council members want to move ahead with the deep bore tunnel.

McGinn was elected mayor last fall in his first effort to win an elected post after working as a lawyer and serving as a successful community activist including a stretch as president of the local Sierra Club. He defeated another political newcomer, Joe Mallahan, who was backed by many business and labor groups. McGinn ran a populist campaign with evolving public positions regarding his plans for the viaduct.

You can find the Seattle Times story about the mayor's State of the City address here.

Lots of Night Time Work

  • Look out for construction on I-5 around I-90 interchange from 9:00pm - 5:00am, such as the I-90 Off-Ramp to 4th Ave S, or the the left lane of the southbound I-5 collector-distributor.
  • Construction on I-405 around I-90.
  • SR-99 Crews will close both directions of Alaskan Way between S. Atlantic Street and Royal Brougham between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. nightly from Feb 22 - Mar 1.

    East Marginal Way Grade Seperation

    Feb 15, 2010-mid 2011 Duwamish Ave S will be fully closed to through traffic (except local access). In addition, the right lane of S Spokane St between the river and East Marginal Way will be closed for the duration of the project.

    SR 509 between I-705 and Port of Tacoma Road

    A weather-dependent full closure of SR 509 is scheduled for Saturday, February 20, 6 am - 8 pm to complete repairs on the Puyallup River bridge. A signed detour will reroute motorists to I-705, I-5 and Port of Tacoma Road.

    Crews to close NE 12th Street Bridge nightly in Bellevue

    BELLEVUE Downtown Bellevue drivers will need to find a new way around at night because crews will close the NE 12th Street Bridge for nearly three weeks to create a construction work zone. Beginning tonight, WSDOT will shut down NE 12th Street at night from 112th Ave NE to 116th Ave NE. The closure is scheduled to last until the first week in March.

    The closure is part of the I-405 NE 8th Street to SR 520 Braided Ramps Project known as the Bellevue Braids because it builds a series of weaved ramps between NE Eighth Street and SR 520 that look like braids. While the bulk of the $107.5 million project funding comes from the 2005 Gas Tax, the Bellevue Braids received $30 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    South Spokane Street Project

    The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is significantly improving the South Spokane Street Viaduct , the 60-year-old elevated roadway that connects I-5 to the West Seattle Bridge.

    March 8 - early May - Crews will install a water main on First Avenue S. between Hinds and Dakota Streets. Two travel lanes will be open in each direction, which means 1 lane in each direction.

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