The Magnolia Bridge Replacements

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The Magnolia Bridge Replacements

Sophia Eckhart

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Everyone who goes to Blaine lives in Magnolia or, at least, as to get into Magnolia somehow. One of the many entrances into Magnolia is the Magnolia Bridge. The bridge is one of the least used entrances into Magnolia, only 17,000 cars use it each day, however, it is also used by 265 buses daily. The bridge is old, about 90 years old to be exact, a bridge that old needs to be replaced; but by what?

Well, there are 4 possible alternatives for replacing the bridge. I attended one of the Magnolia Bridge meetings addressing the findings of a study started by the city in 2017 on the different alternatives to fix the Magnolia Bridge and was just published. Many people who where up in arms about the alternatives, especially after reading an article called Should We Help This Island of Rich People?By Lester Black.  This article was a biased opinion piece based on the idea that because of the income the people living in Magnolia have, we shouldn’t be replacing the Magnolia Bridge because of the sheer expense of the project and lack of need. Although I wasn’t able to write down everything I heard, there was plenty of talk about taxes and traffic, along with many people outraged by the options. But what were the alternatives?

The first one alternative, which is the most expansive one, is replacing the Magnolia Bridge.  Like it says, this plan would just replace the whole bridge. This would cost an upwards of $420 million and at least $340 million. However, it is one of the two options that consistently performed well. It is also the option that was recommended in a 2006 study. Most Magnolia residents favor this option, but, due to the expanse, many others don’t want to pay for it if they aren’t going to be using it.

This is where the second option comes in, the Armory Bridge and West Uplands improvements. This option is the second most expansive at $350 million to $200 million and was the other alternative that performed well consistently. It is also the option most favored by SDOT (Seattle Department of Transportation). This includes improvements to Thorndyke Ave W and 20thAve W, along with making an Armory Bridge and a Magnolia Bridge Spur. This and an Upper Westland Perimeter road and an Alaskan Way connector, should theoretically replace the Magnolia Bridge.

Another alternative is the Dravus St improvements and new Garfield St Bridge. This would only cost $210 to $360 million dollars, but it doesn’t have much in the way of access to Magnolia and transit accessibility.  It would include upgrades to the Dravus intersection from 15thAve W to 20thAve W, along with a bridge that provides access to 23rdAve W and Smith Cove Waterfront.

The last option is Dravus St improvements and West Uplands Perimeter Road, which would cost somewhere between $190 to $310 million dollars. This option would have many components would include a perimeter road, improvements to Dravus intersection, Alaskan Way expansion and a few other road improvements.

To conclude, no matter which option the city chooses to go with, it will be very expensive. Adding to that, the city hasn’t done much in the way of budgeting for this large financial decision, despite the knowledge of the need for a replacement has been known for almost 20 years or since the 2001 earthquake, which damaged the Magnolia Bridge.  The city needs to decide and we need to make sure that our voices are heard on this issue because we will all be affected by the decision.