Issaquah Highlands pedestrian bridge is meant to smooth access

December 13, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast is lifted into place the early morning of Dec. 8 after arriving on site the day before in pieces on flatbed trucks from Florida. Contributed

The route is easier for pedestrians to cross a major thoroughfare after crews completed a pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast on a moonlit morning last week.

The bridge is meant to provide safe pedestrian access from Swedish/Issaquah and Proliance Highlands Medical Center to the Discovery Heights area, and to connect to trails and sidewalks across the street.

Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities covered the $350,000 tab for the bridge, plus more for installation.

“Both of those land areas are up high, to have to go all the way down to Discovery Drive and walk across the intersection and come all the way back up the hill was really an impediment to people walking,” city Major Development Review Team Program Manager Keith Niven said.

The aluminum bridge traveled in pieces on a flatbed truck from the manufacturer in Sanford, Fla. Workers then linked the pieces together before installation.

The project required a series of city permits in order to complete installation.

Crews shut down the main route into the neighborhood overnight Dec. 8 to install the connector. The contractor planned to close Highlands Drive Northeast from Northeast Discovery Drive to the Interstate 90 interchange from 1-4 a.m., but crews needed only 45 minutes to complete the project.

In the days before the closure, the city deployed electronic message boards along Highlands Drive Northeast to alert motorists. City officials reached out to the state Department of Transportation to coordinate the closure and the Issaquah Police Department stationed officers at each end of the closure to ensure emergency vehicles could access Swedish/Issaquah.

The idea for the bridge germinated in the last decade, as city planners sought a way to link the plats flanking Highlands Drive Northeast. Members of the Urban Village Development Commission — the city commission responsible for development oversight in the highlands and Talus — OK’d the bridge proposal in August 2005.

YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish installed a similar bridge at the opposite end of Highlands Drive Northeast last year to connect the YWCA Family Village at Issaquah residences to the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. The nonprofit organization bore the cost of the bridge and installation.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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