[Update: April 25 — The bridge bike path set to open in middle to late May ] Get ready to pop the corks on your water bottles in celebration. The bike trail on the soon-to-be-completed Highway 520 floating bridge across Lake Washington is set to open in April.
A grand opening ceremony for the 1.5-mile-long floating bridge on the weekend of April 2 and 3 includes a bike ride and a footrace out on the roadway while the span is closed to traffic.
But what’s exciting to me is that the 14-foot-wide bike-pedestrian trail on the north side of the bridge will be open in April, about the time that westbound (April 11) and eastbound (April 25) motor traffic begins to cross the new section.
One big drawback, of course, is that the new bike trail only traces the new floating span, not the old fixed bridge at Montlake side of Lake Washington. A bike ride onto the floating span from the eastside will be an out-and-back affair stopping within sight of Husky Stadium.
Crews are still working to replace the western segment, official called the West Approach Bridge North Project. When it is complete, projected to open sometime in 2017, bicyclists can ride the trail all the way from Redmond to the University of Washington.
In the meantime, cyclists and pedestrians venturing onto the bridge can stop at five pull-outs, called belvederes, and sit on benches and enjoy a whole new view of Lake Washington. An Eastside resident myself, I can imagine riding out the SR 520 bike trail from Bellevue, pedaling onto the bridge, and stopping at one of the pull-outs for a snack and photos before heading back.
I’d probably reflect that I never thought I’d see this day.
The big news on Tuesday was the announcement that the Cascade Bicycle Club will include the floating bridge on its newly minted Emerald City Bike Ride on April 3.
There are two options — 20 miles and 8 miles — and each one starts at Husky Stadium and includes routes across the floating bridge to a turn-around on the eastern shore of Lake Washington. Pre-registered cyclists with bib numbers can start from the transit transfer station on the eastside.