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W Thomas St overpass opening delayed until July

Photo from SDOT, taken in March

Due to supply problems, work on the W Thomas St overpass has been delayed. The city expects the walking and biking bridge to be completed in July.

The delay-causing culprit? They’re waiting for the handrails. From SDOT:

The fabulous new elevated bike/ped path may now look just about done, but in reality one could accidentally fall off onto Elliott or the tracks below since handrails are yet to be installed.  Why?  The huge sections of heavy railing have not yet been manufactured and delivered.  Why?  Well, turns out it’s a bit of a bear to make 20 to 40 feet long pieces of railing especially when the material needed for the fabrication is in high demand and hence delayed in its delivery.  So there you have it.  It’s not pretty, considering it’s bike month, but it certainly WILL be a pretty site to see once the overpass opens in July.

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The overpass was originally supposed to open in late 2011, but a lawsuit by Hempfest organizers pushed construction back. When it finally opens, it will create a much-needed connection between Lower Queen Anne and Myrtle Edwards Park. Now that the Ship Canal Trail reaches almost all the way to Gilman Ave in Magnolia, the new overpass will provide a connection from Lower Queen Anne (and Seattle Center) to the Fremont Bridge and the Burke-Gilman Trail that requires very little climbing and mixed-traffic biking.

It could also be the start of the Great Bikeification of Lower Queen Anne, a dense commercial and residential neighborhood that has long been cut off from the rest of the city’s bicycle network. An influx of new biking customers could be an economic boon for neighborhood businesses.

And things are set to change dramatically in the next few years. The Mercer West project will build a cycle track between Dexter and Seattle Center, and the planned deep bore tunnel will reconnect Harrison, Thomas and John Streets between South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne.

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8 responses to “W Thomas St overpass opening delayed until July”

  1. Kirk from Ballard

    I hope they will at least be able to open up the bike path through Myrtle Edwards Park. The narrow, shared pedestian path is getting really crowded and dangerous this time of year.

  2. I wonder if there could be some sort of bike facility running from the Thomas green street, through Seattle Center, all the way onto W Thomas and onto the overpass. Magnolia would have a pretty direct commute to SLU.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Say hello to the Lake to Bay Loop: http://www.seattleparksfoundation.org/project_Lake2Bay.html

      That is precisely the plan. However, Thomas St does have a difficult trolley track intersection where the SLUT actually weaves from one side of the street to the other: http://www.google.com/maps?ll=47.620858,-122.337715&spn=0.000886,0.001979&hnear=Seattle,+Washington+98122&t=h&z=19

      Ugh. It’s like they purposefully designed the streetcar to ruin all good bicycling options in South Lake Union…

  3. Gary

    Nothing like moving all your steel fabrication to China….

  4. Todd

    I think it’ll be exciting when this opens up. Mainly to get all the construction gear off the bike trail.

  5. Nope

    @gary, I’m pretty sure that this project is federally funded, which means its using us steel for the handrails. The only way they could use a foreign source would be to spec aluminum or some other non steel product for the handrail.

  6. […] to be open in May, the project was delayed yet again due to trouble acquiring materials (specifically, the long handrails). Now, those delays have been […]

  7. […] be finished in spring of 2012, then it was July, then it was August. The last hold-up has been the installation of handrails, which were being shipped in separate pieces and installed as they […]

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