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Originally published February 10, 2010 at 8:41 PM | Page modified February 11, 2010 at 8:40 AM

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$221 million spent so far on new 520 bridge

Washington state taxpayers have spent $221 million so far on planning, environmental studies, public meetings and engineering for a new Highway 520 floating bridge.

Washington state taxpayers have spent $221 million so far on planning, environmental studies, public meetings and engineering for a new Highway 520 floating bridge.

The state Department of Transportation last month signed a contract for pontoon construction to start late this year in Grays Harbor County, the first step toward building the $4.65 billion project.

But the planning isn't finished. A Montlake Interchange design is far from settled, and there's no final decision on how wide to make the floating bridge's deck.

The State Department of Transportation released the $221 million figure Wednesday, in response to requests by The Seattle Times and another news service.

Lawmakers in 2007 settled on two general lanes and one car-pool lane in each direction for the new bridge, but they didn't dictate how or when to add any future light rail or bus-rapid transit.

There's a new push by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, some lawmakers and a neighborhood coalition to make the bridge rail-ready from day one, using two of the six lanes.

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