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520 Rebuild Way More Expensive Than Previously Thought: I Called it Back in July

November 20th, 2008 · 3 Comments · 520 Bridge

Jeez, who would have thought that cost estimates from 2006 would be way off from today’s numbers? I did.

Maybe I should be hired as a consultant for the DOT. Here’s Ron Paananen of the WSDOT today, regurgitating my comments from July:

Paananen says the governor and legislature still have to finalize a plan to pay for the new bridge, which could open as early as 2014. “We have had to deal with, over the past two years, some pretty high inflation as it relates to materials and construction cost.”

Ya think?

Komo’s Brian Johnson put it best, “even with a ten dollar round trip toll, there’s not enough money to finance any of these plans.”

I’ll say it again. Time to consider realistic action NOW to save this failing structure. Float in a new span — replace the existing one, and retrofit the existing columns. Let’s get real before the thing sinks.


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Steve Roth // Nov 21, 2008 at 10:27 am

    How much would it cost to float in a new span compared to a full rebuild?

  • 2 Jason Preston // Nov 21, 2008 at 11:19 am

    A fair question. But given that it’s taken, what, 15 years to not decide on an alternative, I think Broback is probably right-on…

  • 3 Steve Broback // Nov 25, 2008 at 12:12 am

    They’ve priced a rebuild everal times. Even the feds did it at least once. They never produce the specifics though. I’ve asked at least two 520 project leads over the years and they (reluctantly) confirmed that it would require less tax dollars than any of the options on the table now. As does my friend the engineer (whose doctoral dissertation focused on 520 safety issues.)

    The disingenuousness of this project was that only these 3 options were ever studied:
    1) Build a brand new 6-lane bridge north of the current structure. (This was clearly the one that the politicos obsessed over, and the deck was stacked for it to “win” all along.)
    2) Build a brand new 4-lane bridge north of the current structure.
    3) DO NOTHING. Can you imagine? “Do nothing?” That’s the functional equivalent of “Let it sink.” Hmmmm do you think maybe it should have been “bring current structure up to standard”?

    Your tax dollars at work…

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