Sixty-thousand people a day have mysteriously disappeared over the Montlake Cut. Well, from driving over the Montlake Bridge, that is.

As work continues to replace grid decking and other “rehabbing” of the crucial connector over the Lake Washington Ship Canal, the loud rat-a-tat-tat of construction equipment on the bridge hasn’t stopped cyclists, pedestrians and others without their cars from using an open sidewalk to travel over the cut.

Last week, those crossing over the bridge may have witnessed a construction worker in a hard-hat in the shape of a cowboy hat pop out of the bridge deck, neck-up, to have a conversation with another construction worker kneeling beside. Meanwhile, boaters passing underneath saw a crew use an arched catwalk to climb through girders, eventually disappearing behind huge blankets of sheet-metal insulating the entire belly of the bridge. Because equipment and workers are at one leaf of the drawbridge at a time, the other leaf can be raised to let a tall-masted sailboat through.  

In the fall, phase two begins after the bridge reopens at 5 a.m. Sept. 3. As reported earlier, the bridge will be in the up position during five weekends when the UW football team isn’t playing at home. As crews replace mechanical parts on those days, only boats will get through.