The first pontoon for the new 520 floating bridge will arrive in Shilshole Bay this morning and is set to pass through the Ballard Locks between 6-9pm tonight. A second pontoon left Grays Harbor yesterday and should arrive at the locks sometime Monday night. Once through the locks, pontoons are expected to take up to four hours to move through the Ship Canal and out to Lake Washington. Eventually, 77 pontoons will make the journey through Seattle’s watery middle.
The pontoon can be viewed tonight at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks before they close to the (landed) public at 9pm — and at other vantage points along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. There is limited parking near the locks, so consider honoring the new 520 bridge by taking a High Occupancy Vehicle (Metro route 44) to Ballard, or riding a bike.
Since Seattle has no recent memory of parading large triumphal objects through its waterways and streets, watch how it was done in this video of Portlandia’s arrival in 1985 (statue begins to move at 3 minute mark).
Excited!?! Okay, maybe this pontoon doesn’t have the civic soul of Lady Portlandia, but it also isn’t sitting in front of Earth’s ugliest building either. However, this pontoon #001 is a world record breaker: 360 feet long by 75 feet wide by 29 feet tall. Like it or not, when we the good people of Washington State build 21st Century transportation projects, we break world records. That’s worth parading down the Ship Canal… uh, ain’t it?