Contractor works out preliminary design for SR 520 project that could spare neighborhood grocer

It will take longer and cost more money to save Montlake Market during construction of the Montlake phase of the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement Project, but residents at a January WSDOT meeting remained steadfast in their desire to keep their small neighborhood grocer.
The Montlake Market was removed and later added back into plans for a reconfiguration of Montlake Boulevard for the next phase of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program, which includes a new West Approach Bridge South for eastbound traffic that will connect to the floating bridge over Lake Washington, a lid over 520 and a bicycle/pedestrian land bridge east of the lid that connects the Washington Park Arboretum and East Montlake Park.
Last session the state Legislature added a proviso that directed WSDOT to spare the market building from demolition if feasible.
WSDOT did not a have preservation plan for the market, located southeast of the SR 520 off-ramp to Montlake Boulevard, during its last community meeting on Nov. 7.
WSDOT awarded Graham Contracting Ltd a $455.35 million design-build contract for the Montlake Project in October.
The contractor has developed a preliminary design that would avoid using the property during construction, which was shared by WSDOT during a Jan. 30 community meeting. More assessment is needed to determine if it is feasible, said WSDOT director of construction Dave Becher.
“There’s a certain risk inherent in all of these,” he said of the three design proposals Graham came up with to avoid needing the market and adjacent 76 gas station site.
A final environmental impact statement in 2011 had recognized community support for the market and didn’t plan for its condemnation. When WSDOT did a reevaluation in 2016, it realized it would need the property after all.
Montlake Boulevard needs to be raised in order for the new SR 520 under it to meet a required 16.5-foot clearance, which would only impact the 76 station, said WSDOT deputy engineering manager Todd Harrison, and the new structure needs to be three feet thicker due to seismic reinforcement requirements.
A 54-inch-diameter water line under SR 520, on the east side of Montlake Boulevard, needs to be replaced, as does a King County combined sewer line.
With a commitment to the City of Seattle to maintain all lanes of traffic on Montlake Boulevard, Becher said, that would mean shifting traffic further west, affecting the Montlake Market site.
Graham proposes moving the west end of the Montlake Lid 45 feet to the east, away from the combined sewer line. This will have little impact on the transit plaza on the northwest end of the lid, Becher said, but is a “more economical design.”
WSDOT had been proposing to build the new water line beneath SR 520 with a tunneling pit that started south