Kenmore, KGM reach agreement on deconstruction of 520 bridge, avoid legal battle

A potentially lengthy legal battle between Kenmore and contractors Kiewet/General/Manson (KGM) was avoided on May 23 after the City Council agreed to a settlement over the fate of the old State Route 520 bridge.

A view of Lakepointe in the background

A potentially lengthy legal battle between Kenmore and contractors Kiewet/General/Manson (KGM) was avoided on May 23 after the City Council agreed to a settlement over the fate of the old State Route 520 bridge.

The agreement was unanimously passed by the six council members present.

During the meeting, council members approved a plan where KGM, which the Washington State Department of Transportation contracted to replace the old SR 520 bridge spanning Lake Washington, will be allowed to transport bridge rubble through Kenmore.

Around 25 percent of the old bridge will be broken down on barges on Lake Washington within 1,000 feet of the new bridge, before being barged to Lakepointe in Kenmore and loaded on to closed trucks and driven to a landfill.

No concrete will touch the ground in Kenmore, according to the agreement.

The agreement also includes the conditions that trucks will not cross the Sammamish River bridge, tractors used to unload barges will have quieter backing signals, dust will be controlled and the city may periodically conduct compliance inspections of Lakepointe. One half of the Sammamish River Bridge is need of replacement and the city wants to avoid any unneeded wear.

Work will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday through the end of the year, amounting to shorter days than could be allowed under city code.

“We really do have some protections now that we did not have before,” said Councilman Milton Curtis.

The agreement is significantly scaled back from KGM’s original plan the City Council was informed of at the March 14 meeting, which included bringing large sections of the old bridge to Kenmore before breaking them down into basketball-sized chunks.

Council members, including Mayor David Baker, voiced their support for the agreement while some also expressed concerns about the effects of deconstruction on the water in Lake Washington. State Rep. Gerry Pollett also addressed the council during open comments and questioned the environmental impacts of deconstructing the bridge on the lake.

“I am pleased with the outcome, “Baker said. “I think we have done the best job that can be done in this situation.”

Councilman Brent Smith said that the agreement satisfied conditions for KGM to operate in Kenmore, since the trucking of materials had been occurring since KGM contracted with the owners of Lakepointe, an industrial area at the mouth of the Sammamish River, to construct infrastructure for the new SR 520 bridge beginning in 2011.

Since then, the City Council voted to block new industrial uses at Lakepointe in 2014, but existing industrial companies were grandfathered in, including KGM’s operations.

However, after the March 14 meeting, Kenmore blocked KGM from deconstructing the bridge at Lakepointe, arguing deconstruction activities were significantly than construction uses.

KGM and the owners of Lakepointe responded by suing the city, and the city counter-sued the state for issuing environmental permits for the deconstruction.

In an email statement, KGM representative Tom Janssen said the suits would be dropped as part of the agreement between the parties:

“Kiewit/General/Manson has reached an agreement with the city of Kenmore on the SR 520 bridge demolition. We will drop our legal appeal and will follow the terms of the agreement including dust and noise control, work hour and weight limitations and monitoring of environmental conditions.”

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