The eastbound lanes of the I-90 floating bridge opened 23 years ago. The new span replaced the original floating bridge, which was built in 1940.

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The hemming and hawing about massive transportation projects is nothing new for the Puget Sound region, which is weighing whether to pass Sound Transit 3, a $54 billion ballot measure to extend light rail to the north, south and east. Twenty-three years ago today the eastbound Interstate 90 floating bridge was opened, ending years of debate about connecting Interstate 5 to I-90 in Seattle. The span replaced the original bridge Lacey V. Murrow bridge that was built in 1940 and sank in 1990.

The 1993 bridge opening capped decades of bickering about completing the last seven miles of I-90, which went from Boston to Bellevue. A Seattle Times story marking the opening of the bridge and the decades-long struggle to push I-90 into Seattle captured the fears of Seattle opponents and supporters:

Among the most articulate and durable of those foes was Margaret Tunks, a Ravenna-area resident with some legal background. Gov. Dixy Lee Ray called Tunks “the one person who alone has been responsible for the 20-year delay in completing I-90.”

“I believe freeways ruin cities,” Tunks said in 1977. “They pave over cities just to make driving into town easier for suburbanites.”

Aubrey Davis, mayor of Mercer Island and I-90 supporter, wrote in response in a weekly paper, “You imply that Seattle doesn’t want Eastside suburbanites coming into the city, suggesting that we are ripping you off. Fortunately, most of us view this as irrational rhetoric, because our business, investments, purchases and participation in Seattle are as necessary to Seattle as to us.”

Some things never change. Transportation projects are proposed. Transportation projects are debated. Transportation projects are thrown to the courts. Sometimes bridges sink and are rebuilt.