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SR 520 workgroup sends final reports to governor, legislators | Includes Arboretum mitigation, high capacity transit planning and financing

Final reports sent today to the governor and state legislators outline mitigation improvements in the Washington Park Arboretum and recommendations for future high capacity transit planning and financing for State Route 520.

The state is preparing to replace the vulnerable SR 520 floating bridge and improve travel times and reliability in the corridor between Seattle and Redmond. During the 2010 session, the Legislature called for an Arboretum mitigation plan and a report focused on high capacity transit planning and financing in the corridor. Legislators also directed a workgroup be formed to recommend design refinements and transit connections related to the SR 520 preferred alternative from I-5 to Medina, and that report was issued Oct. 1.

The two reports sent today – Washington Park Arboretum Mitigation Plan and the High Capacity Transit Planning and Financing Findings and Recommendations Report – can be viewed online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/6392workgroup.

The Arboretum plan was created in coordination with the Seattle Department of Transportation and the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee – which includes representatives from the University of Washington, city of Seattle, Governor’s Office and Arboretum Foundation. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), King County Metro and Sound Transit jointly drafted the transit report. The Seattle City Council was recently briefed on the reports.

The Arboretum mitigation plan will guide further development of the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the I-5 to Medina project, which is scheduled for release in spring 2011. WSDOT will continue to work with transit agencies on future operations and planning for the SR 520 corridor.

With the funding secured to date, WSDOT next year will build a pontoon-casting facility in Grays Harbor, begin Eastside construction and select a contractor to build the new floating bridge. WSDOT intends to publish a final EIS in spring 2011 and then seek federal approval and construction permits for a new floating bridge.

The Legislature set the SR 520 program budget at $4.65 billion for improvements from I-5 in Seattle to SR 202 in Redmond. Toll revenue and state and federal funds provide about $2.37 billion for the SR 520 improvements. WSDOT will continue to work with legislators to identify additional funding to complete improvements in the corridor.

More information about the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program is online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520bridge/.

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