Monday, September 10, 2018

Washington State Route 520

On September 3, 2018, we drove across the lake and all the way to Redmond on Washington State Route 520.

RCW 47.17.720
State route No. 520

A state highway to be known as state route number 520 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 5 in Seattle, thence easterly via the Evergreen Point bridge to a junction with state route number 202 in the vicinity of Redmond.

SR 520 @ I-5
From northbound I-5 in Seattle, we branch eastward onto the start of Highway 520.

SR 520 @ SR 513
Soon we're on a bridge (a viaduct, actually) high above Portage Bay. The viaduct descends rapidly toward Montlake and the junction with SR 513, which is not signed as a state highway. Last exit before toll!

SR 520 @ I-405
After the brief bit of land at Montlake, we're quickly on the Evergreen Point Bridge over Lake Washington. The first mile is a viaduct across the edge of Union Bay. The westbound lanes were replaced in 2017, towering high above us in the old eastbound lanes from 1963. But as we climb the west highrise, we transition from the rough pavement to the smooth. We're on the new bridge, also opened in 2017. As we descend to the floating section of the bridge, the speed limit changes from 50 to 60 mph, but I think most people thought it was already 60. At the east highrise, the roadway is flanked by two columns of art. Back on land again, we are tolled a few dollars. We quickly pass through Medina, Hunts Point and Yarrow Point before entering Bellevue. These broad, sweeping turns were widened and repaved in 2015, so we're flying when we reach the junction with I-405.

SR 520 @ SR 202
We head east across the north edge of Bellevue, over and parallel to Northup Way on a section of road first built in the 1970s. We enter Redmond near the Microsoft campus and turn northward on the last section of the highway built, opened in 1979, which takes us down the hill toward downtown Redmond. After West Lake Sammamish Parkway, we shoot straight east a mile on a section that was originally opened as SR 920 since it was completed before the preceding section. This stretch beside Marymoor Park was also only two lanes until the 1990s when it was belatedly widened and an interchange was built at the junction with SR 202. Cirque du Soleil!

SR 520 in Redmond
Highway 520 keeps going past the exit to SR 202, all the way to the end of the overpass, where "End 520" and Avondale Road begins.

All I can say is that's it's much nicer to drive Hwy 520 in the light traffic on a Sunday than a weekday.


pchazzz said...

Why are there stubs for offramps from eastbound 520 at the beginning of the Lake Washington Bridge?

Sotosoroto said...

In the 1950s, Seattle was planning to build an expressway from Mount Baker (MLK & Rainier) to Lake City (LCW & 100th). In the 1960s, the 520 bridge was built with that in mind. In the 1970s, the project was killed.

It was going to be called the RH Thompson Expressway.