…make it the longest floating bridge in the world! Seattle has several floating bridges – and one of them, the SR 520 bridge, needs to be replaced. The bridge turned 50 in 2013, and is vulnerable to both earthquakes and windstorms, which are not good things for a bridge. That’s why WSDOT is now replacing the world’s longest floating bridge, scheduled to open by 2016. So think about every component of that description: world’s longest, floating, bridge, and schedule. Add all of those components together and you get a permitting and public involvement process that is going to get a lot of attention!
EnviroIssues has been WSDOT’s partner in this project since day one. We facilitated the original study committee, and once they reached consensus on recommendations, we facilitated the work of executive, technical and advisory committees that recommended alternatives to include in an EIS. Starting in 2000, we coordinated public scoping meetings, open houses and community design workshops to move the project forward. This effort has encompassed a total of nine federally-required environmental documents from 2006 through 2011 and dozens of technical reports along the way.
Construction launched on the SR 520 corridor in 2011, as crews began building a pontoon casting basin in Aberdeen and widening the highway on the Eastside. By 2012, construction was also taking place on Lake Washington, as the first 11,000-ton bridge pontoons made their way to Seattle. EnviroIssues staff have led construction communications from original groundbreaking through ongoing coordination with drivers, transit riders, and community neighbors.
EnviroIssues continues to manage the public involvement and communications activities associated with this highly visible project. We manage media relations and identify and implement strategic outreach activities, including online engagement tools, newsletters, community design workshops, open houses, agency coordination, and a project information hotline. If it’s about SR 520, odds are, an EnviroIssues team member has a hand in it.