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Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opens on August 28, 1963. Essay 690 : Printer-Friendly Format

On August 28, 1963, the Evergreen Point (now Albert D. Rosellini) Floating Bridge opens. The bridge carries State Route 520 across Lake Washington. The floating portion of the bridge is 1.42 miles long (approximately 7498 feet) and crosses Lake Washington from Union Bay near the University of Washington to Evergreen Point in the City of Medina.

The bridge has a draw span that opens infrequently to allow large vessels into the south end of Lake Washington. This draw span is also opened during heavy winds to reduce the load on the bridge anchoring. The original draw span worked by a system of chains, pulleys, and counterweights to lift the spans. This system presented severe maintenance problems and was replaced by hydraulic cylinders, designed and put into place by Gil Lund, then of Hamilton Engineering.

The completion of the bridge opened the way to increased suburban development in northern Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and other areas northeast of Lake Washington. On the west side, the ramps were built in the Arboretum to connect SR 520 with a planned R. H. Thomson Expressway generally following Empire Way (now Martin Luther King Jr. Way) through the Central Area. After citizen protests, Seattle canceled the expressway in 1971, but the "ramps to nowhwere" still stand.

The bridge was renamed in honor of Governor Albert D. Rosellini (1910-2011), who pushed its construction, in 1988. The Nellie Cornish Sculptures at the bridge's western end were installed in the 1990s on the bases of former fountains.

Lucile McDonald, The Lake Washington Story (Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1979), 143; "Evergreen Point Bridge," Lund Engineering website accessed July 27, 2003 (
Note: This essay was revised on July 27, 2003.

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Special Suite: Bridges |

Related Topics: Infrastructure | Roads & Rails | Technology |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
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Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

Governor Al Rosellini (holding scissors) and Seattle Mayor Gordon Clinton, opening ceremony, Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, August 28, 1963
Courtesy WSDOT

SR 520 interchanges at the Arboretum, Seattle, 1960s

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