September 16, 2002
Surprise! Bridge opens to traffic a week earlier than expected
City and community spruce up downtown just barely in time for bridge opening
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALLŠThe King County Department of Transportation surprised residents and even some city officials last week by opening the Woodinville-Duvall Bridge to traffic a week earlier than expected.
The bridge opened Saturday, Sept. 14, at 3 p.m.
When the bridge closed for major renovation on June 24, officials projected the date of re-opening to be Sept. 30. Then, in late July, the date was moved up to Saturday, Sept. 21. About a month ago, opening was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20.
Then, bridge engineers suddenly announced last Thursday that the bridge would re-open on Sept. 14.
Sam Bellah, King County bridge construction supervisor, said last Friday that the contractor wanted his incentive and pushed his crew to finish the job.
"There was also a lot of pressure to finish early," he said. "The bridge is good enough to re-open, although there is still some cleanup work to be done underneath."
Mayor Becky Nixon was the first to drive across the renovated structure. There was no official ceremony; workers simply removed the signs and cones and opened the bridge to traffic.
The bridge will be closed again for about 10 minutes on Friday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. for a short celebration that will included a ribbon-cutting, followed by the Seattle-based Washington Cathedral 25-piece choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah.
The celebration, called "Resurrection," is the brainchild of Pumps & Grinds owner Paula McDonald, who also organized the mock funeral for the city that took place on Aug. 9. The event was designed to draw attention to the fact that businesses were suffering due to the bridge closure.
McDonald said plans are that community members will gather under the bridge or in the Park & Ride at 6:45 p.m. King County Council-member Kathy Lambert will be in attendance. They will then move toward the western part of the bridge deck, while the choir remains on the Duvall side. The ribbon will be cut and the choir will then sing Hallelujah!
McDonald said the downtown merchants will then do a surprise number.
The town has undergone a significant face-lift in anticipation of the re-opening. Over 100 people came out on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6 and 7, to help spruce up Old Town Duvall.
Businesses volunteered supplies; schools, churches and individuals supplied workers and the community supplied projects.
The Duvall community face lift projects included weeding the sidewalks on Main Street, clearing a vacant lot north of the Duvall Tavern, weeding and clearing at the Duvall Community Car Park and painting The Quilter's Garden and City Hall. A Cedarcrest High School class of nine developmentally disabled students painted rocks in the tree wells in front of City Hall.
"Having the kids paint those rocks help give them a sense of ownership," said City Administrator Doreen Wise. "Everyone did a ton of work, and had a really good time."
Wise said longtime resident Velma Hill allowed the group to have the use of her front yard to have lunch, which was provided by local businesses, including hot dogs from Safeway, pizza from Dominos and Sahara Pizza, chips from Ixtapa and drinks from Family Grocer and Tahoma Water.
Duvall True Value Hardware Store donated paint supplies and gave all participating businesses a discount on paint. Other local businesses who painted included Dave Harder, Cherry Valley Plumbing, Whitfield Plaza, and Pumps and Grinds (Mike Chapman). Many other businesses powerwashed and spruced up.
The community event included participation from members of Holy Innocents Catholic Church, Duvall Methodist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Riverside Community Church, property owners, local businesses, city staff, homeowners and business owners.