Changes to the new SR 520 Trail? You decide!

By Steve Peer

UPDATE
Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 8:40 a.m.
We've tied inexperienced ribbon at the railing adjoining to the brand new plate to make it stand out. A signal has been added, and “test” has been spray-painted at the brand new plate as well.



Thank you in your continued feedback! So far we have heard from extra than 220 of you who desire us to update the current plates, and much not up to 10 who say you notice no difference/the antique plates are fine.


State Route 520's new path throughout Lake Washington has garnered excessive reward from extra than 300,000 customers when you consider that its December 2017 opening. Bike riders, runners, puppy walkers and people out for a enjoyable walk inform us they are delighted to have a new, foot-powered path with scenic lake and mountain views. And many pedal-pushing commuters say the brand new trail, as an selection to I-90's cross-lake connection, is reducing substantial time without work their every day treks among the Eastside and Seattle.



There's one part of the trail it is no longer getting rave reviews: the slender metal plates masking the trail's expansion joints at the bridge. Some motorcycle riders inform us the plates are jolting, especially for highway bikes with skinny, especially inflated tires. I've ridden the trail myself, a couple of times, and experienced the thump of every joint cover.



I'm totally satisfied to file that we are running on a remedy. Our engineers built and put in a prototype plate designed to ease the bumps cyclists journey whereas crossing the floating bridge. The new conceal plate layout will no longer totally remove the bumps – nevertheless it have to produce a marked improvement.



That's the place you come in. Now that the prototype conceal plate is installed, we are asking riders to #RateThePlate. After cycling over the replacement plate (located close to the east cease of the bridge) we are asking riders to textual content us at (206) 200-9484 to price their journey with NULL options:

This is an improvement, improve all identical plates: textual content "A"
I did no longer observe a difference/the antique plates are fine: textual content "B"
We'll solicit comments by means of the cease of the year. If we pay attention that the plate adds a higher ride, we will manufacture and set up replacements for all 27 latest slender conceal plates.
A side by side comparison of the prototype (left) and the existing expansion joint cover plate (right)

Why the path has cover plates
The roadway at the new, 1.5-mile-long floating bridge has expansion joints on every cease of the 23 massive, concrete pontoons assisting the structure. The joints permit the bridge to broaden (or contract) horizontally as air and water temperatures change. They also permit the bridge to flex vertically because the lake's water stage rises or falls. On the shared-use trail, there is an open hole at every joint that varies in width from about 2 to four inches. Left exposed, a hole of that measurement may well be dangerous to individual with a cane, a skateboarder, or different path users. So we extra hide plates over every joint to tackle the security threat that open gaps would pose.



The trail's latest metal hide plates are a half-inch thick, with a flat top, beveled edges and a rough, nonskid surface. When designing the bridge, we used federal tips to guarantee the plates' compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.



The plates also play a position within the integrity of the bridge itself. The roadway and shared-use path are elevated 20 ft or extra above the lake's surface. This layout characteristic retains vehicles, motorcycle riders and pedestrians wave-free throughout windstorms. It also provides our crews considerable room for inspection and repairs of the pontoons below.



Because the bridge deck is elevated – as much as 70 ft at the east high-rise close to Medina – we use a unique truck, in a position with an extendable, hinged arm and workforce basket, for inspecting the underside of the bridge. This 3-ton automobile travels alongside the path for those inspections, so the hide plates ought to be solid sufficient to help its weight. Moreover, emergency vehicles, adding fire trucks, would possibly should make use of the path if a important incident blocked the roadway.
An under-bridge inspection truck

A tale of two trails
A few bicyclists have requested us why the older, narrower shared-use path at the I-90 floating bridge is smoother than the brand new SR 520 Trail – with out the expansion-joint bumps. The answer, as soon as again, relates to SR 520's elevated roadway.



In the similar method site visitors moved at the vintage SR 520 floating bridge, all I-90 site visitors crossing Lake Washington – adding bicycles – travels straight at the pontoons' concrete surface. That capability there are not any heavy vehicles making under-bridge inspections from I-90's shared-use path – and no need for stable disguise plates on that path's expansion joints.



The new SR 520 Trail is a high-quality addition to the region's expanding community of trails, and we desire your ride of using the path to be fabulous as well. Be certain to #RateThePlate after your subsequent ride!

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