520 Arboretum ramp to close

520 Arboretum ramp to close

520 Arboretum ramp to close

Some Madison Valley residents are raising issues with a long-standing plan regarding the new State Route 520 bridge across the Washington Park Arboretum.

Jim Crutcher, a Broadmoor resident, said that the Washington Department of Transportation’s plan to demolish an eastbound on-ramp to 520 will be one to bite them, and residents, in the aftermath.

“Anybody wanting to get onto 520 from Madison Park will have to go all the way up to Montlake,” he said. “Traffic is going to be abysmal on Montlake.”

WSDOT’s plan to eliminate the on-ramp to help return the Arboretum to a green space is well-intentioned but misguided, Crutcher said. Traffic on Montlake Avenue East, 24th Avenue East and Lake Washington Boulevard will back up into the Arboretum regardless, he said.

Steve Peer, spokesman for the 520 project, said that things might be a little difficult for a while as Montlake is expanded, but ultimately traffic will flow correctly and cars will be out of the Washington Park Arboretum.

“We’ve been in contact with groups for about a decade about that,” he said. “We’ll be making several enhancements during the “Montlake Phase.” The on-ramp wouldn’t be able to be used anyway with the new bridge.”

The new bridge is considerably higher than the on-ramp to be demolished, and Peer said the cost to replace it is prohibitive. The Montlake Phase “includes a new Montlake interchange, a block-long lid covering the freeway, a land bridge to carry bicyclists and pedestrians over the highway, and the eastbound half of the SR 520 west approach bridge,” according to WSDOT documents.

More than 75,000 drivers traverse 520 each day, and 60,000 go north and south on Montlake, making the intersection of the two a high-priority section of Seattle’s transportation infrastructure, Peer said.

Work to demolish the ramp is scheduled tentatively for winter of 2018, but construction bids will determine the exact schedule. WSDOT is planning for four years of construction on the Montlake phase.

“We’re looking forwars to building a big transportation hub,” Peer said. “When we unveil this thing  four or five years from now, it will be a net gain for the motorists on 520 and Montlake, but also for the neighborhood.”