LETTER: New Sylvester Bridge ‘Unsafe’, ‘Example Of Poor Engineering’

The new Sylvester Road bridge is an example of poor engineering in regards to pedestrian safety and use considerations.

The new bridge design has the bridge sidewalk on the west side instead of the current east side or downstream side of the bridge.

It would be safer and aesthetically pleasing to place the bridge sidewalk on the east side for the new bridge as it is on the old bridge.

The safety facts: The prominent north / south pedestrian routes to the current bridge are on the east side of Sylvester Road, The road shoulder is much wider on the east side from SW 160 to Three Tree Point. The shoulder on the west side of Sylvester can’t be more than 12 inches in areas and brush comes close to the fog line in places. This will cause the majority of pedestrians to cross Sylvester at least twice to properly cross the bridge. Placement of the Bridge sidewalk on the bridge’s west side will increase the risk of pedestrian/automobile collisions at the approaches to the bridge.

This KCDOT Chart shows differences between current & proposed bridge.

The aesthetic facts: When crossing a bridge in a location such as a gorge or ravine people would rather look out over the downstream side taking in the view of the ravine and out toward expanding vistas instead of directly into the ravine up the side of the hill. This make sense unless there is a waterfall on the upstream side.

A lot of people; walkers, runners, joggers, children walking to school use Sylvester Road on a daily basis. The west side bridge sidewalk will cause many to disregard the bridge sidewalk and continue their route on the bridge roadway for the most efficient route and for the view.

If you or your children will be using the new Sylvester Road Bridge when completed and agree with my concerns please, as I did, contact the following by December 14th:

The Responsible Official is Paulette Norman , Interim Director and County Road Engineer, (no phone no email)

King County Road Services Division
King Street Center Mail Stop: KSC-TR-0313
201 South Jackson Street

– Brian Carey
Normandy Park

(Photos/Images courtesy King County Dept. of Transportation)

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