Here’s an updated and shortened Blog Video of our behind-the-scenes look at the Fremont and Ballard Bridge openings, and how they work:
SDOT operates and maintains over 149 bridges throughout Seattle, including four movable bridges. Three of SDOT’s movable bridges are draw bridges, known as bascule bridges. These are the Ballard Bridge, Fremont Bridge and University Bridge.
The city is required to open the bridges to marine traffic when requested, but is allowed to restrict boat and marine traffic openings during the morning
(7-9 a.m.) and afternoon (4-6 p.m.) commutes on weekdays (except national holidays). The openings average about four minutes, from stopping traffic to letting traffic resume. SDOT appreciates the public’s patience during the openings as marine traffic passes through.
The Ballard Bridge, located at the west end of the Lake Washington Ship Canal at Salmon Bay, is the fourth and last of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridges to be passed before entering Puget Sound from Lake Washington. Built in 1917 with a length of 2,854 feet, the Ballard Bridge links the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods with Ballard.
The Fremont Bridge crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal and connects the Fremont and Queen Anne neighborhoods. The bridge opened on July 4, 1917, it is the only blue and orange bridge operated by SDOT. The Fremont Bridge’s current color was chosen by a 1985 poll taken among Fremont residents and the Fremont Arts Council.
The Fremont Bridge also connects the Lake Washington Ship Canal Trail to the Burke Gilman Trail and has one of Seattle’s nine bike counters (here’s our previous blog about the Fremont Bridge Bike Counter and how it works). The Fremont Bridge has celebrated over 610,000 openings and counting as of January 2016. The bridge sits just 30 feet above the water, and rises for marine traffic on average of about 35 times a day, making it as one of the busiest bascule bridges in the world.
Here’s a link to our SDOT Bridges page: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bridges.htm