The neighborhood of South Park rejoined the city of Seattle Sunday as the two halves of the new drawbridge on the Duwamish River were carefully lowered into place. It is cause for celebration citywide.
For four years, South Park had been cut off from the city because of the closure of the old failing drawbridge that once stood at the site. Now the 5,000 residents of the immediate neighborhood have a direct crossing to the north, as do the tens of thousands living in Boulevard Park, Burien, SeaTac and points south.
For anyone who lived nearby, the isolation lasted an eternity. A detour of several miles in order to cross the river meant additional travel time of at least 20 minutes during the most lightly trafficked times of the day, and as much as an hour during commute times. The bridge closure added congestion around Boeing Field, and traffic in the South Park business district slowed to a trickle.
For a time it was unclear whether money could be found to rebuild the bridge, but financing for the $160 million project was cobbled together from federal and local sources — an all-too-rare triumph of Seattle civic political consensus. Thousands of area residents turned out for a sunny dedication Sunday as they walked across the river for the first time in years and became reacquainted with their city.
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Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).