MP3 Download: Listen to Tim Ditch, Floating Bridge Maintenance Supervisor at the Washington State Department of Transportation, talk about the technical operation of the Montlake Bridge.
MP3 Download: Listen to Bill Dickinson, Montlake Bridge Tender, talk about life as a Montlake Bridge tender.
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The Montlake Bridge spanning the Montlake Cut in Seattle was completed in 1925. It is the last-built and easternmost of four double-leaf bascule bridges (a type of drawbridge) that carry vehicle and pedestrian traffic across the Lake Washington Ship Canal. It is set apart from its sister bridges by both its Gothic architectural details and its mechanical design, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. The Montlake span had a rough road to realization -- Seattle voters denied it funding on five occasions between 1914 and 1922, and when a $500,000 bond issue finally was passed in 1923, it was ruled void for technical reasons.
The bridge went before the voters one last time in 1924, finally gaining emphatic approval. Work on the span began almost immediately, and was completed in less than a year. The Montlake Bridge is owned and operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation and is part of the short State Route 513 that runs from State Route 520 to Sand Point.
VIsit HistoryLink.org to read more about the Montlake Bridge.