Following a sinkhole opening the evening of Dec. 17, as a result of road construction, the Sammamish River Bridge in Kenmore reopened to general traffic at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 19.
Both northbound and southbound lanes of the bridge (68th Avenue Northeast) were closed once the sinkhole developed, which was the result of construction boring. Northshore Utility District (NUD) contractors were installing a casing to relocate the sewer line, in anticipation of bridge replacement work beginning next year.
There were no injuries and there was no public safety issues from gas or sewer line issues. Crews were onsite making repairs and had closed the road while the work was being done.
While the road had opened up, pedestrians were advised that the sidewalk would remain closed on the southbound lane through Wednesday evening.
Throughout the closure, NUD and the city of Kenmore provided updates, letting commuters know around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday that inspections had verified that the bridge and roadway base were sound and engineers had authorized contractors to proceed with paving over the repaired roadway on the southbound lane.
The paving process took a few hours and crews were able to open the road to drivers Wednesday evening.
In one of the updates provided by NUD and Kenmore, the utility and city said they were doing their best to release information as quickly as possible. But as the situation was changing hour by hour, they advised commuters to check for the most current updates before they planned their evening drives.
While the entire bridge had closed to vehicle traffic, the northbound lane along the bridge remained open to emergency vehicle access and pedestrian and bicycle traffic only, according to an NUD press release.
Commuters were detoured along 96th Avenue Northeast/Waynita Way during the closure.
According to the release, the release, NUD and the city worked to route traffic cops and NUD crews to the most congested areas to help relieve some of the road stress.
The release continues, stating that NUD understood the significant impacts the situation has caused and while safety is their primary concern, both NUD and the city of Kenmore were doing everything they could to reopen the road as promptly and responsibly as possible.
“We appreciate your patience and understanding,” the NUD release states.