520 Bridge east channel blocked to sailboats
Larger sailboats coming through Seattle’s Ballard Locks to take cover from the season’s first storms will encounter delays if their crews hope to find shelter south of the new SR520 Floating Bridge in Lake Washington.
Work to remove the old 520 Bridge with leave the east navigational channel completely blocked until Oct 31. The west navigational channel, with a vertical clearance of only 44 feet, with remain open to recreational boat traffic.
However, vessels requiring more than 44 feet of clearance can arrange to have the east channel temporarily opened by contacting Matt Steffens at 425-749-6675 or [email protected] The east channel has a vertical clearance of 70 feet.
While the east channel will appear to be open, state officials say most obstructions are below the water surface and not visible to boaters.
Crews have been removing the old bridge’s pontoons with a sense of urgency. About 70 percent of the bridge has been towed away, but with the approaching storm season there are fears the remaining pontoons and structures could be damaged by high winds and big waves, causing the pontoons to break up and sink.
Or worse, officials say, the pontoons could be driven against the new bridge.
(Lake Washington is covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Puget Sound.)