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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 6, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Highway 520 bridge bill

Costly tunnel mandate

Writing about the Highway 520 bridge, Mike Lindblom quotes House Speaker Frank Chopp saying, “All the community groups on the west side are unified behind Option K” [“Debate, delays likely on new 520 bill,” page one, April 2]. Untrue; the University District, Ravenna-Bryant and others are vehemently opposed and are joined by several east-side mayors.

While some Montlake extremists have been trying to redirect traffic from Montlake to anywhere but Montlake, even some Montlakers agree that there is a limit to how much can be shifted and at what cost.

The concrete monstrosity in Union Bay initially proposed has morphed into a dangerous, curved tunnel under the Montlake Cut. It will entail freezing the surrounding bore for many months each of several years, thus threatening fish passing in and out of Lake Washington.

If only environmental destruction were at issue, things would be really bad. But to make things even worse, the additional cost of building this tunnel (the “K” option) is estimated to be $2 billion more with usual cost overruns.

The Legislature apparently intends to mandate the tunnel, whatever the additional cost. This is legislators’ self-importance trumping their sanity.

— Earl J. Bell, Seattle

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