News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Suicide prevention fence goes up this week

November 8th, 2010 by master

Work to build a suicide prevention fence across the Aurora Bridge has been underway for months, but there’s still no sign of the fence itself.  WSDOT tells us that will all change this week when crews start putting up the fence posts on the west side of the bridge. 

So what’s taking so long?  WSDOT says it has been dealing with small details they hope will make a big difference in the end.  They drilled about 2600 holes for anchor bolts, used an x-ray device to make sure they didn’t hit rebar, and repaired the bridge’s steel that was damaged by corrosion. 

The fence posts will go up first, followed by the fence panels.  The fence should be finished by the end of the year.

Image from WSDOT

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Are noise panels on the Ship Canal Bridge working?

October 30th, 2010 by master

Now that all those noise panels are up on the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge, have you noticed any difference? WSDOT says it just finished its first tests, and the results are mixed. They sent crews into the field last week and took noise measurements at 18 locations. WSDOT says the numbers show the panels are working as well as predicted in about a third of the locations, but not as well as predicted in the majority of the locations. The biggest noise relief came on the west side of the bridge. You can check out the noise measurements here.

WSDOT photo

WSDOT will continue to take noise measurements once each quarter and then annually for 3 years. 700 noise reducing panels were put in place as part of a $7 million pilot project with money allocated by the state legislature.

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Electronic tolling coming to the 520 Bridge

September 30th, 2010 by master

Commuters heading from Wallingford to the Eastside will be hit with a toll starting next year. The Washington State Department of Transportation sent out this alert:

In the spring of 2011, all-electronic tolling will begin on the SR 520 Bridge to help pay for the construction of a new, safer bridge. Good To Go! electronic tolling uses technology to keep traffic moving with no toll booths, no stopping, and no slowing down.

Good To Go! account customers can set up prepaid accounts linked to a Good To Go! Pass that is installed in your vehicle or linked to your license plate. Automatic replenishment allows you to never have to worry about running low in your account. Simply link a bank account or credit card to the account and your Good To Go! account is automatically replenished when you run low.

Toll rates will be determined this fall by the Washington State Transportation Commission. The Commission is studying two toll rate options: a lower toll rate for vehicles with Good to Go! accounts and a higher rate for vehicles that receive a bill and pay-by-mail. The Commission also will set toll rates that vary by time of day and on weekends to encourage driving during less-congested periods. For example, rates during weekday morning and afternoon peak periods will be higher than during off peak hours and weekends.

The Commission is following a process outlined in the Washington Administrative Code that will include public hearings this fall that will be well-publicized in advance. Final toll rate decisions are expected to be made by early next year. You can review Commission meeting agendas and minutes, as well as submit your comments about toll rates, at .

Starting in early October and continuing next year, Metro and Sound Transit will be adding nearly 130 bus trips a day across the SR 520 bridge. These service enhancements, along with park-and-ride and bus stop improvements, will give drivers an alternative to paying tolls when electronic tolling begins in spring 2011.

Good to Go! passes will be available in mid-January 2011.

More information on the 520 project and tolling can be found here. You can sign up for Good to Go! information and other incentives here.

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'Rivet Buster' taking the weekend off

September 1st, 2010 by master

After three consecutive Sundays of rivet busting and lane closures on the Aurora Bridge, crews will take this Sunday off to keep traffic moving smoothly over the Labor Day weekend. Rivet removal, along with the “rivet buster” equipment, will pick up again on September 12.

Crews continue to work Monday through Thursday nights drilling holes for the suicide prevention fence across the bridge.

Photos from WSDOT

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Noise panels on Ship Canal Bridge

June 6th, 2010 by master

If you live near the Ship Canal Bridge, here’s some news that might help you sleep better at night. Starting this Monday (6/7), crews will begin the process of putting up noise absorbing ceiling panels on the south end of the bridge above the express lanes. The panels are designed to absorb and block some of the reflected traffic noise that bounces off the ceiling of the express lanes and into the surrounding neighborhoods in Wallingford, the U-District, and Eastlake.

The impact of the panels will be studied over 3 years to see if they can be used in other projects. Some lane closures on the express lanes will also take place during part of the installation. You can learn more on the WSDOT’s webpage.

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Noisy Aurora Bridge work postponed

April 21st, 2010 by master

Residents who live near the Aurora Bridge will have a few nights of relief from the month of expected nighttime noise surrounding the construction of a nine-foot safety fence over the bridge. WSDOT announced today that construction on the fence, which was scheduled to begin on Monday night, April 19, will be postponed due to an equipment problem. A new estimated start date for the work has not yet been announced.


When construction on the safety fence does begin, crews will work Sunday through Thursday nights and will work on one side of the bridge at a time. Construction will close two lanes and the adjacent sidewalk across the bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly. WSDOT expects to finish installing the fence by the end of the year.

When construction does start up again, WSDOT says it will be extremely noisy. If you still haven’t received your free industrial strength earplugs, call 206-267-6019. Follow the fence project progress here.

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