News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

‘Rivet Buster’ taking this weekend off

September 1st, 2010 by master

After three consecutive Sundays of rivet busting and lane closures on the Aurora Bridge, crews will take this Sunday off to keep traffic moving smoothly over the Labor Day weekend. Rivet removal, along with the “rivet buster” equipment, will pick up again on September 12.

Crews continue to work Monday through Thursday nights drilling holes for the suicide prevention fence across the bridge.

Photos from WSDOT

Comments Off on ‘Rivet Buster’ taking this weekend offTags: , ,

Aurora Bridge closures continue Sunday

August 26th, 2010 by master

WSDOT’s work on the Aurora Bridge continues and drivers who plan on crossing it this Sunday could face closures, this time going both ways.

This Sunday crews will continue work to remove and replace more than 1000 rivets and bolts for the construction of a safety fence to deter suicides. Drivers can expect additional closures for rivet removal in September. Crews are working Sundays because rivet busting is too noisy to do at night. Nearby residents can expect to hear construction noise from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Aurora Bridge illo

  • From 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29, crews working for WSDOT will close two of three northbound lanes to remove and replace rivets on the east side of the bridge.
  • From 1:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. all six lanes on the bridge and the southbound Fremont Way on-ramp will be closed while crews move construction equipment to the west side of the bridge. WSDOT scheduled this brief full closure at 1:30 p.m. to help southbound traffic heading to Sunday’s Mariners’ game.
  • At 1:45 p.m. crews will reopen all northbound lanes and one southbound lane.
  • Two southbound lanes and the southbound Fremont Way on-ramp will remain closed until midnight while crews work on the west side of the bridge.

    If that’s not confusing enough, WSDOT has these suggestions on what to do to avoid closures and delays:

    • Taking southbound SR 99 across the bridge before 1:30 p.m. Another option is using southbound SR 99 after 7:30 p.m., when delays caused by the closure will be very short.
    • Taking northbound SR 99 across the bridge after 2:30 p.m. Drivers also should consider using northbound SR 99 in the morning before traffic volumes increase.
    • Checking traffic conditions before hitting the roads. Check SR 99 traffic and I-5 traffic and tune into to radio traffic reports.

    Comments Off on Aurora Bridge closures continue SundayTags: ,

    Aurora Bridge closure this Sunday

    August 21st, 2010 by master

    For the second Sunday in a row, the Washington State Department of Transportation crews will be closing lanes on the Aurora Bridge this weekend while crews work on the ‘rivet buster’ suicide fence. Commuters planning a trip downtown on Sunday should plan for delays or take an alternate route.

    Photo from WSDOT’s Flickr page.

    Crews will be working on the east side of the bridge, closing down two northbound lanes.

    Access to northbound SR 99 from Halladay near Canlis will be open. Lane closures will be from 6 a.m. to midnight again, with the noisy work beginning as early as 7 p.m. and continuing until 11 p.m. Since they will be on the east side of the bridge, the sound will likely travel further into Lake Union this time.

    WSDOT has been posting some pretty incredible photos of the work, which will continue through September 5, on its Flickr page. Check those out here.

    Comments Off on Aurora Bridge closure this SundayTags: ,

    Live tweeting on a would-be Aurora Bridge jumper

    August 19th, 2010 by master

    Last night, Wednesday night — Josh Trujillo, a colleague I greatly admire and used to work with at the Seattle P-I (he still does on SeattlePi.com as a photographer) tweeted live about seeing a woman hop a rail on the Aurora Bridge, in an attempt to jump. He called 911.

    Reading his tweets this morning, the story ends without tragedy at about 9:30 p.m.: “Good news. Young girl on Aurora Bridge is over the rail, back on the safe side. Police boats leaving from under bridge. Amen.”

    His tweets about her began about 13 hours ago, about 7:30 p.m.: “No. A girl is on the Aurora Bridge about to jump. My heart is sinking. Police not here yet.”

    I know Josh, so I know how sincere he is, so I don’t question how hard this must have been for him. This is a guy who was in the Army and deployed overseas before he was a photographer. He’s a consummate professional and he’s also a family man.

    The irony is, the state is installing an anti-suicide fence on the bridge, have been for awhile.

    Part of Josh’s reporting shocked: “Woman on Fremont Bridge who said she was waiting in traffic for an hour just said “jump already,” loudly. Crowd upset at her.”

    He showed self-consciousness at what he was seeing, and reporting: “In the news media we rarely report suicides or attempts at suicide. I feel really uncomfortable tweeting this one. This is awful.”

    But he also revealed, “FYI, I used to live under the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge. A jumper once landed in my yard. That was a terrible day. Hope today is better,” and conversed with our news partner’s executive editor, the Seattle Times’ David Boardman: “@dlboardman I have to agree that this is strange ground & I have been uncomfortable reporting it. But I also saw her hop rail & called 911.”

    What do you think, readers?

    Comments Off on Live tweeting on a would-be Aurora Bridge jumperTags: , ,

    ‘Rivet Buster’ work resumes on Aurora Bridge

    August 15th, 2010 by master

    After responding to complaints from neighbors about the late-night noise, Aurora Bridge construction crews have begun a new work schedule.

    The first of four Sunday shifts, WSDOT crews resumed using the loud tool called the “Rivet Buster” today to build the suicide fence along the bridge. But unlike last time, workers will avoid the overnight hours.

    Until midnight tonight (Sunday), two of three southbound lanes on the bridge and the southbound Fremont Way N. on-ramp are closed to traffic.

    “WSDOT engineers looked at weekday and weekend traffic volumes and determined that four 16-hour Sunday closures would allow crews to get the work done with the lowest overall noise and traffic effects,” explains WSDOT in a press release. “Four straight Sunday closures are critical to completing the fence project by the end of the year.”

    Drivers can expect additional Sunday closures on Aug. 22 (northbound), Aug. 29 (half day each northbound and southbound), and Sept. 5 (northbound).

    Comments Off on ‘Rivet Buster’ work resumes on Aurora BridgeTags: ,

    Lanes closed Sunday for Aurora Bridge work

    August 12th, 2010 by master

    If you’re planning on going to downtown Seattle the next four Sundays, 99-S may not be the way to go.

    WSDOT sent us this today:

    Crews working for WSDOT will close two of three southbound lanes on State Route 99 across the Aurora Bridge and the southbound Fremont Way N. on-ramp from 6 a.m. to midnight on Sunday.

    The work is part of the installation of a fence to deter suicides on the historic landmark. This is the first of four consecutive Sunday closures needed to remove and replace more than 1000 rivets and bolt. Drivers can expect additional Sunday closures across the bridge on Aug. 22 (northbound), Aug. 29 (half day each northbound and southbound), and Sept. 5 (northbound).

    Four straight Sunday closures are critical to completing the fence project by the end of the year. Crews will use a tool called the Rivet Buster to do the job. The Rivet Buster is the fastest, safest and cleanest tool for the job, but it is also extremely noisy and can’t be used at night. WSDOT engineers looked at weekday and weekend traffic volumes and determined that four 16-hour Sunday closures would allow crews to get the work done with the lowest overall noise and traffic effects.

    We wrote about the Rivet Buster a few weeks ago.

    So it looks like I-5 will be the way to go downtown, and WSDOT will run the I-5 express lanes in the southbound direction this Sunday.

    WSDOT encourages carpooling, public transportation, biking and walking as alternatives to using your car on these installation days.

    Travelers can check SR 99 traffic conditions on the Seattle Department of Transportation website.

    Comments Off on Lanes closed Sunday for Aurora Bridge workTags:

    The Aurora Bridge Rivet Buster: “Can’t Get Any Sleep Loud”

    August 1st, 2010 by master

    Even Nyquil won’t help you get your Zzzz’s if you live near the Aurora Bridge and you’ve heard it. By “it,” we mean that “loud as a monster woodpecker banging on a metal tree” sound that might have interrupted a few good nights’ rest.

    It’s the latest development in the Aurora Bridge Fence Project (the anti-suicide barrier) from WSDOT. We’ll let them tell it:

    A couple of weeks ago our contractor began using a tool called the Rivet Buster to remove rivets and bolts on the historic bridge. In many ways the Rivet Buster was a great tool. It was fast, efficient, safe and environmentally sound. But it was really loud. Can’t get any sleep loud.  So loud that some of your neighbors got up in the middle of the night to write us or call our 24-hour noise hotline (206-440-4099). And we listened.

    As of this posting the Rivet Buster is on hiatus while we look into quieter ways to remove the rivets and bolts that meet our safety and environmental standards, and keep us on schedule. If those don’t pan out, the Rivet Buster will be on a 10 p.m. curfew.

    Counter-intuitively, WSDOT says the work can’t be done during the day.

    It comes down to safety and traffic. Workers need to close two lanes of the bridge to create a safe work zone. When two out of three lanes are closed at night, traffic can scoot by without many slowdowns. But if we closed two out of three lanes during the day, that could cause some lengthy backups on Aurora Avenue and send the spillover traffic over to Fremont and Dexter avenues.

    It’s a delicate balancing act where one person’s cost is another person’s benefit. The bus rider that gets on the 358 at N. 46 St. wants to get to work on time. The person living under the bridge wants a good night’s sleep. The taxpayer wants the project to stay on budget. And the construction worker wants to come home safe. And yes, we really do think about how our decisions affect each of them.

    They expect to have the work done by the end of this year or early 2011.

    Comments Off on The Aurora Bridge Rivet Buster: “Can’t Get Any Sleep Loud”Tags: , ,

    Police and fire activity under Aurora Bridge

    June 17th, 2010 by master

    Police and fire have been dispatched to N 34th St and Troll Ave N after reports that someone jumped from the bridge, a witness tells us. According to police, they have found the victim and are waiting for the King County Medical Examiner to arrive.

    State Department of Transportation crews have been working since last month to install an eight-foot ‘suicide fence’ to prevent people from jumping. As of now, there isn’t any noticeable changes to the bridge as the DOT attaches the anchor bolts before the fence goes up. The project was slated to start in April but was delayed by construction equipment problems.

    Comments Off on Police and fire activity under Aurora BridgeTags: ,

    Aurora bridge anti-suicide fence work resumes tonight

    May 24th, 2010 by master

    KOMO news reports that as of tonight, May 24:

    State transportation crews will resume work on the suicide prevention fence. It measures more than 8 feet tall, and will cost some $4 million.

    As we’ve reported in the past, the project, which was supposed to start April 19, has been delayed by construction equipment problems.

    The KOMO article noted that, “More than 230 people have jumped to their deaths on the Aurora Bridge since it was first built – making it the second-highest suicide rate for any bridge in the country, according to some figures.”

    For those who commute or use Aurora/99 regularly, expect some delays. More specifically from WSDOT: Crews will close two northbound lanes and the northbound sidewalk across the bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Thursday nights (May 24 and May 27).

    If the noise gets too much for you, WSDOT is offering free earplugs, which are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays at the Fremont Neighborhood Service Center located at 908 N. 34th Street. Or, call (206.440.4099) or e-mail phippsg@wsdot.wa.gov with the subject “SR 99 Aurora Bridge Fence earplug request” and WSDOT will send free earplugs to your mailbox. Please include your name, address and the number of earplug sets you need.

    Track the project here.

    Comments Off on Aurora bridge anti-suicide fence work resumes tonightTags: , , ,

    Suicide fence work delayed until mid-May

    May 3rd, 2010 by master

    Construction delays on the new suicide prevention fence across the Aurora Bridge continue to grow. It now appears that work won’t begin until mid-May. The project, which was supposed to start April 19, has been delayed by construction equipment problems. You can track the project here.

    Comments Off on Suicide fence work delayed until mid-MayTags: ,