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Project will keep bus traffic off bridge in Fremont
Seattle Times staff reporter
Monday's closure of two of the four lanes on the Fremont Bridge will have a major impact on commuters, but bus riders may face the most significant changes over the next 10 months.
Buses and trucks will be banned from the bridge while the city replaces the approaches, which are the raised roadways at each end of the bridge, which was built in 1917.
Of the four bus routes that now cross the bridge, only one will have any service to the heart of Fremont.
It's all part of a $40 million project that will replace the bridge's approaches and its mechanical and electrical systems. The project is expected to be completed in 2007. Lorelei Mesic, project manager, said the city considered doing a retrofit of the approaches but decided it would be cheaper to replace them.
This is what's in store for Fremont beginning Monday:
• Two of the four lanes on the Fremont Bridge will be closed, and there will be just one lane in each direction. Pedestrians and bicycle riders will share a sidewalk on one side of the bridge. The closures will begin on the northbound lanes.
• The contractor is allowed to completely close the bridge on 15 weekends, but that could be trimmed by doing nighttime closures instead. The first closure is the week of June 12-15, when the bridge will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. There will be a full bridge closure the weekend of June 25.
Plan your commute
• Four bus routes will be detoured off the bridge, the 26, 28, 74 and 31. The 26, 28 and 74 will move to Aurora Avenue North and exit on Bridge Way North. The 31 will take the Ballard Bridge and loop into Fremont on Leary Way, with a stop at 35th Avenue North and Fremont Avenue North. It will be the only route to serve the center of Fremont.
Metro officials say 600 people board and disembark in Fremont on each work day.
• There will be no right turns allowed on North 34th Street, just across the bridge, and the left turn onto westbound North 34th Street from Fremont will be prohibited.
• The city has asked the U.S. Coast Guard to extend the time the bridge is closed to boats. Now, the bridge can't be opened from 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. The city wants to extend that an hour in the morning and in the afternoon. The Coast Guard has not made a decision.
Mesic figures about half of the vehicles that now cross the Fremont Bridge will switch to other roads, including the Aurora and the Ballard bridges.
The bus changes are expected to have the most-severe impacts:
• The bus 31 will no longer travel on West Nickerson Street. This will have a significant impact for those traveling to and from North Queen Anne and the Seattle Pacific University campus.
• North of the Fremont Bridge, there will be no bus service on Wallingford Avenue North between North 35th Street and North 40th Street and on North 35th Street between Wallingford Avenue North and Stone Way North.
• There will be no bus service on Fremont Avenue North between the bridge and North 35th Street.
In addition, a section of the Burke-Gilman Trail through Fremont will remain closed until next spring.
Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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