Highway 520 bike trail opens in April; big bike ride planned

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[Update: April 25The 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.

Bike-pedestrian trail and pull-outs (WSDOT rendering)

Bike-pedestrian trail and pull-outs (WSDOT rendering)

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.

Out-and-back affair
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.

View of bridge construction in 2015 from 520 overlook

View of bridge construction in 2015 from 520 overlook

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.

Emerald City Ride / 520 Bridge grand opening

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.

Registration is now open to the Emerald City Bike Ride. Read the directions carefully, as there are strict time cuts for being off the bridge and the I-5 HOV lanes.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2016/01/12/highway-520-bike-trail-opens-in-april-big-bike-ride-planned/


1 pings

    • Margot Navarre on February 1, 2016 at 8:43 am
    • Reply

    Thanks for the great overview! Just one question. Are you saying that there will be no physical connection of the new 520 bike ped trail to the montlake area until 2017? Is it just going to dead end at the west end of the floating bridge until the west approach segment is complete? We are on the eastside and can’t wait for a better connection to the Burke gilman trail! Thanks!

    1. That’s what I understand. The new floating bridge will connect to the existing bridge on the west side of the lake in April, if things go according to schedule. Since the existing bridge doesn’t have room for a bike trail, the trail on the new floating bridge will end east of the connection. When the last phase into Montlake is complete, however, the trail will roll all the way across the lake.

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