WSDOT is in the process of building a new part of SR509 that will connect I-5 to the rest of SR509 on the west side of the airport. The alignment that the new road is taking cross SR99 at the same place that we are currently building the light rail extension. To avoid making life too complex, WSDOT funded Sound Transit to build the bridge for SR99 that is needs as part of the light rail construction program. The contractor diverted SR99 around the work site and then excavated the area where SR509 will go. A new bridge was built over this and then it was all filled in underneath. The road then was laid on top of the new bridge.
Since these pictures were taken, the road has been re-opened. However, at this tie, they were finishing the pours of concrete for the new bridge and too tie it in to the existing roadway. This view is now gone so it was a narrow window to see the bridge. I was lucky to see it at various stages of its construction. In due course, WSDOT’s contractor will come in and remove the earth under the bridge and build the SR509 roadway. That will happen pretty soon.
The San Juan Islands were our escape a couple of times during the limits on travel that COVID provided. Getting to the islands involves a ferry trip and I will always enjoy that. One of the things that I find interesting about the ferry terminals on the islands is how simple they are. When we lived in the UK, the ferries were constantly expanding in their usage and the terminals were all getting upgraded to accommodate more vehicles. They also had shops and food outlets.
The San Juans are far lower key. The terminals are often in remote locations (accepting that the islands are generally pretty remote anyway) and they are tucked away looking far more like part of the coastline. As we travel on the ferries, we get to see some that we stop at and others we pass. Here are a few of the ones I have photographed from the water.
The replacement of the SR520 bridge across Lake Washington is being undertaken in stages. The main floating bridge element has been completed and now they are working on the next section through to Portage Bay. Traffic from the old lower eastbound section has been diverted up on to the new westbound section while a new eastbound bridge is built. Driving across the bridge you get to see some serious construction hardware. However, you can’t photograph it while driving.
A bike ride took alongside the construction site so I was able to stop and get some photos with my phone. The large lifting structures are actually running on top of a temporary bridge built just for them. These will lift the new bridge sections in to place and allow the construction of the new eastbound section to be done. I’m not sure of the schedule for completion of this work but, once it is done, it will just leave the last phase to I-5 to be done.
Washington State Ferries cover a wide range of routes. Some of them are major commuter journeys and the boats are sized to handle lots of cars and passengers. Others are far more specialized runs that have lower frequencies and capacity. This can change throughout the year with the peak season demand being way higher than the off-season and larger boats get drafted in.
While I was on the shore at Coupeville, one of the ferries came in. We actually took this route on a vacation a couple of years ago and it was quite busy then. This time things were a lot quieter and the boat was clearly not one of the biggest that WSDOT has available.
In the days running up to the introduction to service of the new WSDOT Siemens Charger locomotives, they were stored in the yard in Seattle awaiting the clearance to run. I was down there for another project and all of these shiny new locomotives were just asking to have their picture taken. How could I refuse? Sadly, one of these locos was involved in the accident a few weeks later.
I wrote in a previous post about heading out to get shots of a Sounder train for a project I was working on. I did get a bonus opportunity while I was there. The same line is used by the Amtrak Cascades services between Seattle and Vancouver BC. A train from Vancouver was running a bit late so it was the first one I saw. It appeared to have been that they held the Sounder trains for the Cascades train, perhaps because of the timings of the stops although I don’t know for sure. Either way, it showed up just after I got there.
WSDOT’s new Siemens Charger locos had just entered service on this day and one of them was on the front of the train. They had not yet removed the old loco as they were running in the new units to deal with any infant mortality issues. The Charger was mounted ahead of the NPCU on the opposite end to the other loco. Having worked on the Charger program, I was pleased to see them in service.