It seems that lawyers spend a lot of time dealing with problems and crises, but it is healthy to celebrate successes as well. Here are a few things around Seattle that we can celebrate.
Sound Transit continues its expansion of the light rail system. The station next to Husky Stadium opened in March, connecting folks from the University of Washington to downtown and the airport. Work is under way to extend the system further, through the University District and up to Northgate and eventually Lynnwood. North of 90th Street, the line will emerge from its tunnels and proceed on or above the surface, but that is years in the future.
In April, most of the new and improved State Route 520 floating bridge opened to traffic with a celebration that included a fun run and bicycle events. The new bridge is elevated to minimize the need for closures during storms and to accommodate a water collection and treatment system that will help keep Lake Washington clean. Challenges remain, including arrangements for disposing of the old bridge pieces and concerns about road noise, but after years of watching the new bridge gradually take shape, we can finally drive over most of it.
Even the troubled project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a highway tunnel seems to be gaining momentum. After a two-year stoppage to repair the tunnel boring machine, the contractor has resumed mining and successfully passed beneath the existing viaduct. Now the tunnel boring machine will mine under the downtown core, so significant challenges remain. The viaduct remains open, but its days appear to be numbered, which is a good thing because it is considered vulnerable to earthquakes.
Looking farther afield, work is progressing on I-90 through Snoqualmie Pass. Travelers over that route have had to cope with detours and narrow lanes for a long time, which made for difficult driving conditions during bad weather. Now a large part of the work is completed from Hyak to the Keechelus Dam and it’s a much more comfortable drive.
Many more projects are getting done and put into service, to the advantage of all of us around Seattle. Others are in the planning stages. It takes a lot of smart and experienced people to accomplish this work, and it’s a pleasure to acknowledge and applaud their efforts.