October 30, 2000
New bridge reflects rural community
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL - "On time and within budget" was the recurring theme last Wednesday as county dignitaries praised the work of staff and contractors at the opening ceremony of the new Novelty Bridge.
"We didn't want to wait 18 months for this bridge," said County Executive Ron Sims to a good sized crowd gathered in the chill of the foggy fall morning. "We were on the budget and had it done in seven months."
Sims referred to the 623-foot long structure as "gorgeous," with the "texture and feel of a rural community," emphasizing that King County Councilmember Louise Miller was a driving force behind the effort to cut construction time.
"Louise was insistent and firm," he said.
Miller recalled that when she became a councilmember in the early 1990s, the clock was "ticking, ticking, ticking on bridge funding," and commended King County Roads for moving quickly on the detour routes.
"The detours made an enormous difference," she said. "But nobody anticipated that half of Snohomish County would decide to use the Woodinville-Duvall Road because of the (construction) mess on 522. That created more of a problem."
Duvall Mayor Glen Kuntz also complimented all involved for paring down construction time and also for keeping the look and feel of the old bridge.
"When the County Council first came to Duvall to discuss the bridge replacement, we let them know that we couldn't go without the bridge for an extended time. They listened and responded to our concerns and they delivered. Wilder Construction did an outstanding job in cutting the construction time."
Kuntz added that bridges are "symbolic of America's 'can do' spirit. This is the gateway to the Snoqualmie Valley. Let it stand for the people and the Valley."
First in county with art designed into structure
The new Novelty Bridge is the first bridge in the county to have art incorporated into the structure as it was built. Seattle artist Carolyn Law was selected to integrate elements into the bridge, and chose three art components‹blue wave-shaped railings, four granite pylons‹two at each end, and the color scheme, with cooler colors leading into the Valley and warm colors heading toward the city.
Law said she decided on different portal colors to reflect the "tranquil and peaceful" feel of the Valley.
"The city is hotter, more intense," she said. "The colors suggest that."
Law said she is very pleased with the way the bridge looks.
"People wanted to be able to see the river. We really wanted to open up the views for the different seasons, and especially when the river is about to flood. The waves reflect the pattern of the water."
She said the granite columns came from the Olympia area and were purchased from Marenako's Stone Supply near Fall City.
"It is hard to find column granite like this," she said. "It took a year to find four stones that were just right."
Road raising to be a separate project
Originally, engineers had hoped to raise the road levels on each side of the bridge out of the flood plain during bridge construction so the road wouldn't be closed for each project. Raising the road at its lowest points would add several hours of use during times of high water. But problems arose when engineers learned the property on both sides of the road is included in the county's Farmland Preservation Program.
"Farmland Preservation said we couldn't make a road out of farmland, so to keep our commitment to the bridge, we decided to make the road raising a separate project," said King County engineer Gwen Lewis.
Lewis said there is no timeline established for raising the road.
"We hope to negotiate further with the Farmland Preservation people," she said. "We want to balance the needs of transportation with the needs of farmers. Most importantly, we kept our commitment to finish the bridge on time."
Lewis said actual construction costs were $7.8 million, with total costs $12 million, emphasizing that "this is the first project of this size in the county completed within the budget."
Remnants of the road raising effort are visible in some oddly curved striping on the west approach to the bridge.
Lewis said the offset happened when the engineers were getting ready to raise the road and shifted it over to avoid certain environmental impacts to the roadside stream.
"But at the 11th hour, we needed a right-of-way for roadside mitigation and then ran into the farmland preservation issues," she said." Operationally, the road drives fine, but I don't like the striping. It's a visual concern and we plan to provide a fix ... we just don't know when the fix will be."