The King County Department of Transportation has this to say about the South Park Bridge: “The existing bridge was built in 1929-1931. The substandard lane width of the bridge carries approximately 20,000 ADT with 14% being truck traffic. It is severely deteriorated and vulnerable to seismic. The bridge is one of a few river crossings connecting to industrial area.”
Blogger Gurldoggie‘s insight about the neighborhood make it clear why it needs and deserves this gateway into the community: “South Park is a fascinating little neighborhood on the southern edge of Seattle, mostly built from the 1920’s through 1950’s to provide homes for the Boeing workers whose factory was in full bloom at the time. Since then the fortunes of Boeing and all of the industries that surrounded it have waxed and waned, and South Park has come through many rough patches. Statistics from the 1970’s and 80’s suggest that it was Seattle’s most dangerous zip code for quite a while, but in recent years the neighborhood has undergone a rennaisance, finally getting a long sought library and community center, and becoming the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in Seattle.”
The bridge is slated to close on June 30th.
Community meetings have been held, studies have been made and at the end of the day, the bridge is simply not safe enough for continued use, and there is not enough money for replacement (estimates for this project come in at around $130 million). According to the Seattle Times, “The federal government last month rejected King County’s request for $99 million in stimulus dollars to pay most of the replacement cost for the bridge. Instead $30 million was awarded for a competing Seattle project to transform one-way Mercer Street into a landscaped, two-way boulevard.”