Rest In Peace South Park Bridge (1931-2010)
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.