W Thomas St overpass delayed until August/September

Work on the W Thomas Street biking and walking overpass was originally supposed to start the summer of 2005. But changes in design and a lack of funds delayed the project, and at one time it appeared to be dead in the water.

But then a December 2010 grant breathed new life into the project, which would close a vital gap in access between Myrtle Edwards Park and Lower Queen Anne. Construction was supposed to start in the middle of 2011, but a lawsuit filed by Hempfest delayed construction until after August.

Scheduled 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 extended further and the new anticipated opening is in late August or early September.

From SDOT:

  • The overpass opening has been delayed due to difficulties with material acquisition and fabrication of critical handrail components.
  • The new opening date is tentatively scheduled for the end of August or early September.
  • Due to the delay, crews are now working to restore portions of the bicycle and pedestrian access through Myrtle Edwards Park prior to the opening. Until the trail is restored, we continue to ask that you please “Walk and Ride with Care!” Trail users, both bicycles and pedestrians, are asked to be considerate of others and use caution as there will be pinch points along the trail through the construction zone.
  • We thank you for your continued patience as we complete this project.

Among many other benefits, the W Thomas St overpass could revolutionize the bikeability of Lower Queen Anne, which has long been separated from the rest of the city’s bike routes by busy roads, train tracks and steep hills. Just one more month…maybe.

Concept image for the finished project.

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7 Responses to W Thomas St overpass delayed until August/September

  1. ODB says:

    It will be interesting to see how Hempfest accommodates bikes this year, since it appears to moving ahead with another waterfront festival in the midst of the delayed construction of its own making:
    http://www.hempfest.org/festival/map/
    Historically, it’s been an inconvenience for bike commuters during the epic set-up and garbage-strewn take-down periods because of the restriction of all bicycle and pedestrian traffic to one path so that Hempfest vehicles can use the other one. Now of course everyone has been living with one path for a year because of the bridge construction, but query how Hempfest vehicles and all the construction vehicles and equipment will coexist. No doubt construction activity will need to stop during the set-up/festival/take-down period and we can thank Hempfest for further delay! This year, how about at least cleaning up the broken glass in the path promptly after the festival so bikes don’t get flats, rather than leaving it there for days.

  2. psf says:

    really disappointing…
    either the job was let to the wrong firm, or some oversight milestones were allowed to slide.

    hope they can publicize a real date soon.

  3. Law Abider says:

    It’s frustrating to see all this money going to a low priority project such as this. Meanwhile, unfunded bicycle projects that could be done for a fraction of the cost of this monstrosity, sit on the shelf.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      I wouldn’t say that bikes are the primary reason for this overpass. Lower Queen Anne is a very dense neighborhood only a few blocks from a stunningly beautiful park, yet there is no easy way for residents to get there. I think general public access is the main driver.

      Also, there were grants involved, so the city isn’t fronting the whole bill (which is the only reason it’s happening).

      I definitely agree that it’s frustrating to see so many affordable projects sitting on the shelf.

  4. Law Abider says:

    Was not aware there were grants involved. I do support using grants where available, rather than letting them expire and losing them forever.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      This is why we need to get a design plan for fixing the Ballard Bridge. Once we have that, we can start looking for grants (since the full cost of that project would likely be beyond the SDOT budget).

  5. Pingback: Hempfest gears up along Elliott Bay Trail, so you might want to take another route | Seattle Bike Blog

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