July 24, 2000
More than halfway through construction, the Novelty Bridge is ready for the installation of the side arches, to begin this week.
Staff photo by Lisa Allen.
DUVALL--Motorists can expect to be using the new Novelty Bridge by mid-October, say King County engineers.
"We're shooting for an opening date of October 15," said senior engineer Bob Lee. "There may be some minor work left to do, but it won't affect traffic."
The substructure has been completed, including the pier walls and the pilings underneath, he said. And beginning this week, workers will be installing the side arches, due to be delivered last Friday.
"Steel erection will last three to four weeks," said Lee. "Once that is completed, work will start on the decking. Following that, there will be paving, striping, signs, and landscaping."
Wilder Construction crews have been working 10-hour days, six days a week, to get the bridge finished in time for the October opening, said Lee. Construction was originally expected to take a year and a half, but was later pared down to a year. In response to public opposition to an extended bridge closure, incentives were offered to the contractor to complete the work in as little as seven months. The old bridge, built in 1920, closed March 15.
"It's an aggressive schedule," he said. "It's been a real challenge."
Construction has been speeded up by the use of prefabricated parts that are built in Vancouver, Washington, and trucked to the site, predrilled and ready to install. "It's like a big Erector set," Lee said.
The new bridge will be 623 feet long with a tied-arch main span, precast concrete girder approach spans, and two 11-foot travel lanes with two eight-foot shoulders. The structure will be green and blue with a touch of pink and lavender, with decorative side rails of wavy lines, included as part of King County's "Art in Public Places" program.
The Novelty Bridge will be the first new bridge in King County to have art incorporated into the structure as it is being built. Seattle artist Carolyn Law designed the color scheme and the railings.
The project is expected to cost $10 million. A federal grant will cover about 80 percent of the replacement cost.
During the bridge planning stage, engineers had hoped to also raise NE 124th as much as 14 inches on both ends, which would have added a couple of days to the use of the road during winter flooding. However, farmland preservation and fisheries issues prevented the county from getting the necessary permits to raise the levels of the road.