The recent 520 Bridge drawspan openings have created a game of chicken for commuters hustling across Lake Wasington before the scheduled 30-minute road closures. With WSDOT’s email and text alerts giving fair warning, drivers can choose wisely: go early, go late — or attempt to cross at the very last minute.
However, last night’s race to beat the bridge wasn’t much of a contest. Traffic along 520 had been crawling for hours when an unfortunately timed drawspan opening at 7pm made a rough evening commute even worse. Not surprisingly, frustrated voices took to Twitter:
Why did @wsdot decide to schedule a 520 draw bridge opening for 7PM on a workday???
@wsdot I’m parked on 520 with many other frustrated motorists. Why is the bridge allowed to open for boat traffic at this time of night?
@520_bridge, angry boyfriend just called me. he’s not impressed with you.
Two words: Coast Guard. Yet, not everyone was unhappy:
have to say, kind of love getting stuck on the 520bridge closures. Always has a good vibe, people getting out of their cars and socializing
For those less hurried (or resigned to fate) sitting under the solstice sun while floating on Lake Washington became an unexpected joy. People took pictures and looked for eagles, while @520_bridge — bless its heart — led Microsoft workers in song.
In 2014 the old bridge will be towed away and recycled or reused elsewhere. With all these drawspan openings in its last two years, it might also become something more than just a freeway — 30 minutes at a time.
Originally published June 22, 2012