Mountains to Sound bike bridge completed in Bellevue

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That bicycle bridge spanning the busy Factoria Boulevard in Bellevue opened this week.

Cyclists emerge from the tunnel under a freeway onramp

The project helps hundreds of bicycle commuters and recreational bicyclists daily who will no longer have to negotiate the busy Factoria Boulevard – I-90 interchange in the shopping district.

Officials started working on the issue of how to get bicyclists safely across Factoria Boulevard in 2011 when they hosted a fact-finding bicycle tour of the area.

The tunnel/bridge project is part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail that runs in the I-90 corridor from Seattle and over Lake Washington toward Issaquah and the mountains beyond.

Construction on the tunnel-bridge project began several months before the coronavirus hit and was shut down for a time by Covid protocols. Last fall, crews completed and opened the bicycle tunnel underneath a I-405/I-90 onramp. The bridge opened this week.

Previous route across Factoria Boulevard

The project reconfigures the greenway trail so bicyclists pass over the intersection of Factoria Boulevard with an I-90 exit ramp and SE 36th Street. Previously, a trail under I-405 deposited bicyclists at the base of the Factoria/I-90 exit ramp. From there, they had to hope that right-turning motorists honored the WALK light and allowed them to proceed up the SE 36th Street hill toward Issaquah.

Which reminds me, that tunnel/bridge project also enables bicyclists to bypass the lower, steeper parts of that climb.

Eastbound cyclists coasting down the bridge ramp to SE 36th St.

The trail ends at a wall of construction barrels at 132nd Avenue SE. Just beyond, construction is already underway on the next phase that carries the trail another 10 blocks to 142nd Avenue SE, which crosses I-90 to Bellevue College.

Currently, bicyclists heading east through Factoria must cross 132nd Street and continue in the bike lane. Long term plans call for extending the trail beyond 142nd Avenue to Lakemont Boulevard.

Barrels mark the end of the trail

Credit the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for jump-starting the project after receiving a National Scenic Byways grant in 2011. Bellevue and the Puget Sound Regional Council provided more funding, and the state legislature provided construction funds. The project, which also benefits motorists exiting I-90, cost $21 million, according to a city news release.

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    • Eric H on May 12, 2021 at 8:28 am
    • Reply

    Good to know this is completed. I’ve been using the tunnel for some time now on my night rides and eagerly waiting for the bridge to be completed. With this plus the work being done on the Eastrail and Lake Washington Loop trails there’s a lot of trail news in the South Bellevue area.

  1. It’s so good to hear from you. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to hear this project has been completed. I have been riding in this tunnel for a while and I wish that the project would be completed for cyclists as well. Now we can ride with peace of mind here because it is safer than before.

  2. We should be very thank ful to Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to build this bridge for bikers. I am very happy to find that finally its has been completed. Bikers need their own road tracks for the safety and security. Thumbs up

  1. […] and extension of EasTrail, aka East Railroad Corridor, in Bellevue and Renton, as well as the bridge over Factoria Boulevard in Bellevue on the I-90 Trail, aka the Mountains to Sound Trail. Further east, the state is working to reopen the Beverly Bridge […]

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