Video: Winds batter Seattle floating bridge

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by KING 5 News

khou.com

Posted on November 3, 2013 at 2:11 PM

SEATTLE -- The Department of Transportation closed the SR 520 floating bridge on Saturday because of high winds and waves.

Brad Husick lives down the street from the bridge. He said he could hear the bridge creaking.

"I've lived here 12 years, and these are some of the highest waves I've seen,” he said.

Troopers said as many as 50 cars were abandoned on the westbound lanes. Troopers on foot escorted the people back to their cars.

And while the State Patrol says they normally discourage people from abandoning their cars, on Saturday it might have been the safest option. They say the bridge was moving four to five feet.

The Department of Transportation said criteria for closing the bridge to traffic and opening the draw span is 50 mph gusts sustained for 15 minutes.  When a 40 mph gust is sustained for one minute, a warning alarm calls crews to the bridge for inspection and monitoring.

DOT says they make every attempt to reduce disruption to drivers but in an emergency they have to close the bridge quickly.

The last time the 520 bridge was closed for wind and waves was Dec. 14, 2006.

I-90 remained open on Saturday. Although it had waves crashing over it, it is a much bigger structure. The last time it was closed was the Inauguration Day storm of 1993.

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