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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 19, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Highway 520 bridge repair

Can’t dabble with human nature

The Build 520 Commission Report is flawed because it is not anchored in traditional, long-term transportation and population-growth forecasting. To the contrary, it is based on a snapshot of conditions today.

At best, it is a longshot gamble that conditions will remain the same. And, a longshot gamble that the studies producing today’s results will produce identical results tomorrow.

You just can’t justify bridge construction based on this report. The report is totally flawed.

Traditional, “need” transportation forecasting should be at the center of any long-term bridge decision. Build the bridge to fit the projected needs of the corridor. And, build a bridge that can handle those needs over the projected life of the bridge.

The state has no business changing the nature of transportation or dabbling with human nature. Yet, this is exactly what this report sets out to do.

Go back to “normal.” Forget the pie-in-the-sky stuff. Find a way to do the bridge right, regardless of cost. The Build 520 plan puts far too many square pegs into round holes. Plus, the study itself is fundamentally and irretrievably, flawed.

Also, forget the viaduct tunnel for the same reason. Do the forecasting first, then design a viaduct that fits the needs of the corridor for the life of the viaduct. Forget the little tunnel that gives downtown business their long-sought-after view. Do the tunnel in a normal and standard way with long proven fundamental principals at work and on display. There is nothing wrong with normal.

— Ted Nelson, Queen Anne

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