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Boating Season: 520 Bridge Drivers Must Brake for Vessels (Video)

Saturday is the first day of boating season. The season brings more frequent interruptions for automobile traffic on the 520 bridge to allow boats to pass through, WSDOT reminds drivers.

With the first day of boating season, the Washington State Department of Transportation reminds motorists who cross the 520 Bridge that they may have to brake for vessels passing through.

Coast Guard rules require the Washington State Department of Transportation to open the SR 520 bridge for boats more than 45 feet tall, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Marine openings of the SR 520 Bridge are prohibited between the hours of 6:30 – 10 a.m. and 3 – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays excluding Columbus Day.

In addition to electronic highway message signs advising drivers of an SR 520 opening, text and email alerts are also available to provide a two-hour notice.

Opening weekend

There is an opening day parade of boats Saturday under the Montlake Bridge, which will close to vehicle and foot traffic from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The east navigational channel of 520, which has been closed for bridge construction, will be open this weekend to accommodate vessels up to 59 feet tall. The east navigational channel, which accomodates taller boats than the west navigational channel does, will close again at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 5. 

In addition to the bridge closure, other ramps will be closed at the same time:

  • The westbound SR 520 off-ramp to Montlake Boulevard.
  • The left turn lane of the eastbound SR 520 off-ramp to northbound Montlake Boulevard.

Besides opening weekend of boating season, WSDOT keeps the east and west navigation channels open on Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day, Seafair weekend and Labor Day weekend.

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