The Senate Transportation Committee has heard public testimony on a bill designed to keep the SR 520 Bridge project moving forward. The immediate future of the 520 Bridge project has been threatened by an appeal of the state-approved shoreline permit which allowed construction to begin. Recognizing the safety and economic factors involved in keeping the bridge project moving forward, on Thursday the Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 6599, which would allow bridge construction to continue during the appeal. Tim Gibbs of Greater Grays Harbor Inc. told the committee that allowing the work to continue will keep hundreds of people at work in Aberdeen, where the pontoons for the bridge are being built.
Tim Gibbs: “We know the need in Grays Harbor, and not just in Grays Harbor but in Washington, for these types of jobs and for the jobs that are there and for the shot in the arm that it has been and we are very grateful for that.”
Committee Chair Mary Margaret Haugen said in addition the loss of jobs, a delay in the construction of the new bridge would bring the state closer to a “catastrophic failure” of the current span in either an earthquake or a strong windstorm.
Sen. Haugen: “I don’t know about the rest of you, but when the wind is blowing, and it blows a lot, I wonder how the bridge is doing.”
Haugen says the committee has every intention of moving the bill out of committee as quickly as possible.