Rest In Peace South Park Bridge (1931-2010)

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Story and photos by Michael Brunk

Dating back to 1931, on Wednesday June 30, 2010 at a little after 8:00 PM the South Park Bridge opened its spans one last time. In the process a vital link across the Duwamish River was severed, causing bitter feelings for many local residents and great concern for South Park businesses.

Time and the 2001 earthquake have taken their toll on the bridge. A host of problems, including structural damage and issues with electrical and mechanical systems have led officials to deem the bridge unrepairable but funds for a new bridge have been slow in coming.

State and local politicians continue to beat the bushes looking for funding but as the bridge permanently closes, they remain some $50 million shy of the projected cost of a replacement. Even if funds were available to begin building immediately, it is estimated that the project would take nearly three years to complete.

Until then, approximately 20,000 vehicles a day and three Metro bus routes will have to drive a little further if they want to get to the heart of South Park.

Local residents turned out in droves Wednesday night to say farewell to the faithful bridge in grand style. As the final hour approached pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles packed the bridge to cross one last time.

Finally, as the mournful skirl of bagpipes echoed across the Duwamish River, the bells sounded, the gates lowered and the leaves of the bridge lifted towards the sky. There to remain until the bridge is eventually demolished by King County.

Photographer Michael Brunk attended the event and created this slideshow set to music by the Northwest Junior Pipe Band. Be sure to check your volume before clicking!

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Click to Play Michael Brunk’s Photo Slideshow

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7 Responses to “Rest In Peace South Park Bridge (1931-2010)”
  1. jan says:

    Great show Michael. You really seemed to capture the moment.

  2. robert says:

    “The Man” just keeps making it harder and harder to get up out of the ghetto…. Literally, cutting off 1 route out!

  3. Michele says:

    Great slide show, thanks for taking the time so that we could all share in this sad moment.

  4. Kathy Keene says:

    That was beautiful, brought tears to my eyes. When I worked for Boeing I went over thet bridge 10 times a day. It was a great bridge! The bag pipes were a fitting tribute for the loss of a “dear friend.”

  5. Anna says:

    What a fantastic slide show. You really captured the essence of this sad evening. I love the individual photos and the sequence.

  6. Thank you all for your kind compliments… it really was a unique event, equally mixing sadness and celebration.

  7. tripC says:

    The real losers in all of this are the citizens, and businesses that have made South Park their home. There will be a lot of losses without that bridge. I watched last year as millions was poured into the “revitalization” with new roads, sidewalks, signals, lighting, parks, artwork, and a new library. It baffles me as to why all this was done when one of the most important aspects of the areas economy was not funded. I must know two dozen or more people who will not be trekking to this area on a daily basis for lunch, gas, coffee, or an after work drink due to this change. Thank you Michael, your slide show and coverage was well done.

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