ABERDEEN, Wash. - The state is moving ahead with plans to buy 55 acres in Aberdeen for construction of a casting facility and 33 massive concrete pontoons for a new State Route 520 floating bridge.
In coming weeks, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) plans to complete its $4.8 million purchase – minus $648,000 previously paid – of Weyerhaeuser’s Aberdeen Log Yard.
Since 2009, WSDOT had options to purchase either the Aberdeen site or an alternate 90-acre site in Hoquiam owned by Anderson & Middleton. WSDOT recently notified property owners that the Aberdeen site will be purchased.
WSDOT announced the Aberdeen site in August 2009 as its preferred location for the Pontoon Construction Project. An environmental analysis of the Aberdeen and Hoquiam sites confirmed the Aberdeen site as a better location due in part to lower development costs and fewer design risks.
“Purchasing the Aberdeen Log Yard is a big step forward for this project,” said SR 520 Program Director Julie Meredith. “We look forward to building the casting facility next spring and bringing hundreds of jobs to Grays Harbor.”
Federal regulations allow WSDOT to purchase the land before the conclusion of the environmental process. Environmental review of the pontoon project and its impacts at both of the locations is scheduled to be completed in December, followed by a record of decision that will finalize the location of the pontoon project. Construction can begin after final permits are received.
Pontoons constructed in Grays Harbor will be used either for emergency replacement of the SR 520 floating bridge or stored until used as the backbone of a new floating bridge on Lake Washington. The first cycle of pontoons is scheduled to be complete in spring 2012, and the last cycle of pontoons in the spring of 2014. This will allow us to open the bridge to drivers by the end of 2014 as planned.
More information about the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520bridge.