MP3 Download: Listen to Archie Allen, Bridge Maintenance and Operations Superintendent at the Washington State Department of Transportation, talk about monitoring storm damageon the bridge.
MP3 Download: Listen to Archie Allen, Bridge Maintenance and Operations Superintendent at the Washington State Department of Transportation, talk about the effects of earthquakeson the bridge.
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When local, regional, state and federal dignitaries cut the ribbon to open the Governor Albert D. Rossellini (Evergreen Point) Bridge in 1963 it was the most expensive and one of the most technically advanced floating bridges in the world. Over the next 50 years the bridge played a major role in the development of the Seattle metropolitan area, where the bridge provides easy access for commuters travelling between Seattle and the communities east of Lake Washington. The bridge paved the way for increased suburban development to support population expansion and the development of the east side of Lake Washington into one of the region’s largest employment centers.
While the region around the bridge has reshaped itself and changed in ways most could only imagine over the past 50 years, the bridge itself appears today much as it did when Gov. Albert Rosellini, the mayors of Seattle and Bellevue and the president of the American Automobile Association opened the $30 million bridge on Aug. 28, 1963.
Today the bridge floats about a foot lower than originally designed and is closed during major storms and high winds – eliminating one of the two vital transportation corridors across Lake Washington. The aging structure has required patching and repairs over the years. Contractors completed a limited seismic retrofit on the approach structures in 1999; however, the bridge remains at risk of collapse in an earthquake because the west and east approaches rest on hollow piles that do not meet current seismic design standards. Construction to build the new floating bridge is underway.