New Salmon Bay Bridge

Combined Monorail/Automobile High-Level Bridge

by Bob Fleming

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The north end of the Interbay District and the district known as Ballard are separated by a waterway known as Salmon Bay. 15th Ave. W. is the main arterial running north-south through Interbay, and connects to its continuation, 15th Ave. N.W., in Ballard, with the Ballard Bridge, a drawbridge with trestle-like approaches. Because this bridge is fairly low, the drawbridge is necessarily to permit boats using the waterway to pass through. The opening of the bridge stops traffic for several minutes or more on this major arterial, including buses on several routes, resulting in irregular bus service. The bridge is also narrow by today’s standards, with narrow traffic lanes and narrow sidewalks, resulting in the death of several pedestrians and cyclists, and higher than normal auto crashes.

I would like to see a new high-level bridge that would gently arch up and over Salmon Bay, high enough in the middle that marine traffic could easily pass under it. The high bridge would result in uninterrupted traffic flow and more reliable bus service. The old bridge can still be retained to handle local traffic, including bicycles and pedestrians.

The plans for the failed Green Line monorail project included a high-level bridge for the monorail to cross Salmon Bay, just west of the existing Ballard Bridge.

My idea is to build a similar bridge, but larger, to accomodate both the monorail and automobile traffic. This would cost more than a bridge just for the monorail, and more than the cost of a bridge for automobile traffic only, but much less than the cost of both separate bridges. Since the cost of the combined bridge would be shared by the monorail project and the Seattle Department of Transportation, the cost to each would be subtantially less than if each built their own bridge.

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©2015 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 16 May 2018.

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