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520 Builders In A Pinch Over Where To Destroy Old Bridge

View of the construction site in Kenmore at the north end of Lake Washington, April 29, 2012.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
View of the construction site in Kenmore at the north end of Lake Washington, April 29, 2012.

People are able to drive part of the brand new 520 floating bridge Monday morning. The westbound lane is open after weeks of hype and an official ribbon cutting. But now there's an old bridge, and getting rid of that will be much less glamorous.

Paige Browning explains, there's a dispute over where to destroy it.


Contractor group Kiewit/General/Manson (KGM) built the bridge. Now they need to get the old span off Lake Washington. KGM planned to crush it up in Kenmore, then haul it away, until  they explained their plans to Kenmore's City Council last month.

Smith: "Um, can you tell me why this wasn't presented when we were originally presented the work that was going to be taking place here?'"

That was how City Council Member Brent Smith reacted.

KGM built parts of the 520 in Kenmore, but the City Council says there was no agreement to decommission the old bridge there.

Mayor David Baker says he's worried about crushing old concrete in town.

Baker: "Immediately north of there is residential properties. And so we're not really sure what deconstruction could possibly do. What could be carried in the wind from the dust of the old bridge."

The most toxic pieces, the pontoons, have been sold and will be sent away through the Ballard Locks.

Baker says the city would entertain an alternate plan, but KGM has not presented one.

KGM's corporate staff would not confirm if they still plan to use the Kenmore site, but said in a statement: "Remaining components will be dismantled onsite and hauled to concrete recycling facilities," and they anticipate "little to no impact on the surrounding area."

The issue adds more frustration for Mayor Baker, already concerned about the wear-and-tear on local roads from construction traffic.