Putting commuter trains on the Interstate 90 bridge will require protecting the structure against damage from stray electrical current and may require innovative ways to attach the rails to avoid damaging the span, a panel of experts told state lawmakers Wednesday.
A Sound Transit project manager said the trains would likely have to slow for a few seconds while crossing joints between the floating bridge and its approaches. And who would pay for what part of the project is still being worked out.
“This is very new to us, the idea of putting light rail on a floating bridge,” said state project manager Theresa Greco.
I think the idea of transit in general is new to our state’s Department of
Highways Transportation. These guys see that center span as theirs, and they look at any project that doesn’t rely on cars or buses as suspect.
During the meeting, Rep. Judy Clibborn compared installing light rail on I-90 with The Big Dig. Really? Putting rails on a floating bridge is the same as the most ambitious public works project in American history? Making “Big Dig” comparisons is a sort of “Godwin’s Law” of transportation arguments: every project you oppose is the same as the “Big Dig.”
How can something be a “Big Dig” when we’re not even digging?
go away spews:
This shit again. Are we going to have to listen to Will fellate Ladenburg’s Sound Transit schemes twice daily for the next five months?
Hey Will – run along and find somebody else’s campaign to manage, mkay?
Making “Big Dig” comparisons is a sort of “Godwin’s Law” of transportation arguments
That’s the best thing you’ve ever written.
Putting rail on the I-90 bridge in a manner that is safe and effecient strikes me as being quite an engineering challenge.
3 I wonder how it might be inherently more so than running rail across a suspension bridge.
Apparently this is not uncommon, nor is it new.
However, I would just like to point out that Rossi’s proposed waterfront tunnel would, in fact, be a LOT like the Big Dig!
Roger Rabbit spews:
But light rail does have to dig, and that’s a big part of its problem. Maybe not across Lake Washington (although if you wait long enough, someone will come up with a scheme to tunnel under Lake Washington — oh wait, they already have!), but light rail has to dig in a lot of places, and that’s why Seattle’s light rail will cost 6 to 10 times as much per mile as the U.S. average. This costly engineering problem should have eliminated light rail from the list of our public transportation options. Add the worst possible funding mechanism — raising a highly regressive general tax — and you end up with a hugely expensive mass transit system paid for by taxing the wrong people. I can’t vote for that.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@5 It’s hard to tell who’s crazier, Rossi or the ST board, but my vote goes to Rossi (in this referendum only).
The new Tacoma Narrows bridge was built so that light rail could be added to it at some point. Personally, I’d hate to see the extra 20K worth of people living on the Gig Harbor peninsula that it would take to make Gig Harbor-Tacoma light rail feasible.
From the little bit that I saw of the I-90 light rail debate light rail looked like a good option.
When I questioned what to do between now and the decade from now when light rail would be operational and suggested that BRT would be a good option in the mean time I got screamed at and called names by people on my own side of the issue . Thanks! Now I try to stay out of King County transportation issues.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@9 That doesn’t deter me. Getting screamed at by liberals is no worse than getting screamed at by rightwing traitors.
Roger Rabbit spews:
I see in the news that a convicted sex offender won a $57 million lottery. That’s capitalism for you. The free market makes sure money ends up in the hands of those who will make the best use of it!
Richard Pope spews:
We will be much better putting “light” rail on a new structure across Lake Washington, than retrofitting an existing structure. Somehow, we have had too much bad luck in this state with “floating” bridges that stopped doing so — including the first Mercer Island “floating” bridge.
I would like to wait and see how the existing Sound Transit light rail works when it is opened next year (hopefully), before investing massive sums of money on new light rail extensions.
And I definitely have to give very strong weight to Judy Clibborn’s point of view in this matter.
See, that’s the problem with you Sierra Club guys. People ARE moving there, and will continue to move there. If it’s feasible, why not let people from Gig Harbor take the train into Tacoma everyday?
Also, you claim that it would take 20k more people to make light rail feasible. I don’t know where you get that number. SLC isn’t very dense at all, yet they’re building light rail. Why do we need to be in gridlock BEFORE we build rail?
You’re right, Richard. Since Seattle is the first place light rail has ever been built, we shouldn’t be too hasty. Steel wheels on steel rails may have been around for 150 years, but it’s still unproven technology.
@11 Oh great. I expect it’s next stop: Phnomh Penh for him. He can hang out with Gary Glitter and all the other white male pedophile expats.
Transit Guy spews:
The 1976 interlocal agreement that allowed the I-90 floating bridge to move ahead makes clear: the bridge is to be designed to accommodate rail transit in the center roadway. And the design engineers will confirm that this was done.
All the new information does is confirm what was engineered in the beginning: The I-90 floating bridge was designed for rail transit and can accommodate rail transit. The problems with rail transit on I-90 are political, not structural.
ArtFart @ 4: I don’t claim to know anything about the design of the I-90 bridge (yet), but I do know the difference between trying to balance a heavy moving object on a floating structure, such as a boat or a floating bridge. It has considerable challenges greater than those in a suspension bridge. For one thing the weight and motion of a fast-moving train doesn’t create much impact to the air below a suspension bridge, but it does create a considerable wave-action movement below a floating bridge.
(Note: if you saw the right episode of “Ice Road Truckers” on The History Channel, they used some graphics to show how heavy trucks exceeding the speed limit over frozen lakes caused a wave action under the ice which could actually break up the ice ahead of the truck, causing it to fall through the hole into the icy water below. Now, imagine instead that the ice is the concrete of the I-90 floating bridge, which doesn’t have the benefit of being able to repair itself overnight in the cold weather).
Actually #1: I’m an ex-Sierra club guy. But, I’m still rather fond of them.
Actually #2: You make a good point. But, there’s no guarantee that even if we got the growth the rail would get built. There’s also no guarantee that the growth would happen in a sensible manner. In fact our current growth plan looks like shit.
Actually #3: if we had a good growth plan that had rail built into it and paid for it in a sensible manner I’d be for it (But, I still might get drunk and rail against it on occasion). Right now we have big box ghettos and sprawl. The sprawl stays inside the growth boundary so it’s all good by the GMA. How developers and the city got away with building a big box ghetto on the head waters of a salmon bearing stream I do not know.
Actually #4: I might be wrong on the 20K figure, but I was thinking about some of the growth projections and Pierce Transit figures I’ve seen.
Do please remember that SLC didn’t pay for a big chunk of their light rail, the feds did.
And please remember we’re on the same side here. I’m pro light rail and want to see the end of sprawl.
Richard Pope spews:
Will @ 14
Nice facile facetiousness.
Seattle obviously isn’t the first place light rail has ever been built, but it is the most expensive place it has ever been built.
And I don’t think rail of any sort has ever been run across a floating bridge. If we are to do this, it would be far better to use a bridge specially designed and built for this purpose. Especially considering that two out of the six floating bridges ever built in this state stopped doing so.
He’s got a point there. And with that I will happily re-bow out of King County transportation issues.
open mind spews:
isn’t the useful life of the I 90 bridge limited whether we put rail on it or not?
It seems like many debate in all or nothing terms; that is, it’s the big dig or there’s no problem at all. People are just screaming.
I heard part of the problem is (a) whatever you gain in train capacity you are losing two lanes anyway (b) the weight of the train brings the bridge close to its maximum (c) the motion of the floating bridge is great, for example a suspension bridge does move around in the air but tides and water have greater force than air esp. in a storm
so how about some facts not just knee jerky conclusions?
You know why I am always calling you people suckers?
Because you are actually debating taxing the hell out of yourselves to build a small rail line that will not be finished for 15 years.
The only problem light rail will solve will be the problem of how to keep a bunch of bureaucrats employed indefinitely.
Hey dream the dream, even if the reality is that in Seattle, 95% of transit ridership will come from buses. As you watch the earth get ripped up, the concrete get poured, the rail get laid, remember, rail is the environmentally responsible thing to do.
The day the always clueless busdrivermike and Roger Rabbit actually say something relevant to transportation policy will be the day I stop calling them out on their ignorance.
Like Judy “don’t take my Republican friends’ HOV/SOV lanes away” Clibborn, these jokers are pursuing other agendas. Roger fells the need to return Seattle to its Luddite freeway-only roots. Cabdrivermike sees social engineering behind every bush. Can’t upset the shitty bus status quo afterall. These two clowns have been sticking their heads in the sand for so long, they apparently haven’t noticed diesel prices nearing five bucks per gallon.
Michael, where on earth did you get that info about the Feds paying for SLCs light rail program? Voters there recently upped local sales or property taxes to fund a big extension. Compared to the big 50% match for Sound Transit’s U Link project, SLC federal money pales in comparison.
The initial portion of Trax that was installed for the Olympics. I didn’t say the feds paid for all of it. But, never mind that comment as I was thinking about Prop. 1 and it’s horrible funding mechanism when I wrote it.
I guess the point I was trying to make is that you NEED federal dollars to build an expensive project.
Sorry – everywhere else in the WORLD rail is one of the primary means of transportation. It LINKS to buses and does not get caught in traffic or jam up traffic like busses.
If we had spent the money on light rail when we should have – it would already be here. But the naysayers told us in 1978 it was too expensive and we would never need it (I-5 would never fill up they said). Gas was too cheap in the 1980’s – no one would ride it. The frickin’ Sierra club and the Eastside republican millionaires club (Spencer Freeman) shot down roads and transit last year.
If we keep listening to the brilliant idiots with no arguments – we will get the lousy transportation system, with no alternatives to roads, that we deserve.
How many times can these naysayers be wrong and still be listened to? It reminds me of the Iraq war proponents.
Right Stuff spews:
“Mistele says his company’s research shows that the area has a relatively simple fix, “There’s just a couple of key hot-spots in the Seattle area, if you were to add some additional capacity to about 10-miles of road you could significantly reduce congestion.” Mistele says adding a westbound lane to the 520 bridge and southbound lane on I-5 between Seattle and Tacoma could relive most of the city’s problems. ”
Of course we shouldn’t build more lane capacity, that would make sense… In WA, the goal is to eliminate SOV, and get the sheep into gov run transit…
There will be study after study after panel after blue ribbon commission for another 25 years…. and still we won’t do anything….
Build lanes… Ease congestion