October 2, 2000
Novelty Bridge to open to traffic in two weeks
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL - Bob Lee's work is almost done. As King County's senior engineer for the Novelty Bridge construction project, he says he will miss his daily trips to the Valley.
"It's a beautiful setting," he said last week, enjoying the view from the bridge. "I have enjoyed it and will miss coming out here."
The new bridge, sporting fresh coats of light blue and cream paint, is still on schedule to open to traffic October 15. An official opening ceremony is set for October 25 at 10 a.m. The bridge will be closed for about 30 minutes during that time.
But before the celebrated first car is allowed to cross, there is quite a bit of work yet to be finished, some of it weather sensitive.
The final asphalt coating needs to be laid, and guard rails installed. The finished "portals" still have to be painted. As part of the artwork, the portals will be multi-colored (purple, yellow and orange). Also included in the artwork are the wave-plate guard rails and granite and rock pylons at each side of the approach spans.
Workers are also digging out an area adjacent to the bridge to create flood plain storage as compensation for fill installed for the new structure.
The new bridge is much wider than the old one, at 12 meters from curb to curb, which will make the truckers happy. Tales abound of trucks around the Valley, including the fire district's aid cars, that have lost mirrors due to the very close quarters on the old bridge, built in 1920.
The new structure will also have 2.4 meters of shoulder on each side for pedestrian and bicycle use.
The opening of the Novelty Bridge will alleviate the morning and evening traffic jams on the Woodinville-Duvall Road. Congestion, however, was not as bad as many residents had feared, due to extra planning efforts by traffic engineers.
Duvall Police Sgt. Bob Akey said the department is "looking forward to seeing traffic flowing normally again."
King County engineers had originally said bridge construction could take as long as 18 months, but pared it down to six months, offering incentives to the contractor for finishing early.
"Wilder Construction exceeded all expectations for getting the job done in time," said Lee.