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Aurora Bridge
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Seattle DOT installing vertical posts on Aurora Bridge

Seattle's Aurora Bridge. (Seattle DOT)

The Aurora Bridge is getting new vertical posts installed to improve safety and increase visibility of the center line.

The Seattle Department of Transportation says the addition is temporary while it monitors traffic speeds, traffic volume trends, and safety data along the bridge. It’ll take a year to study the impact of the posts and consider larger, long-term safety improvements.

The Aurora Bridge was built in 1932. An 8’9″ tall fence was installed along the bridge in February 2011 in an effort to prevent people from jumping off the span. That project cost about $4 million to design and build.

In September 2015, a Ride the Ducks vehicle and a charter bus collided on the bridge, killing four people and injuring at least 50 more.

Two center lanes of the bridge were closed last weekend while crews marked the locations where the posts will be installed. Four lanes of the bridge will close Friday, June 11, at 10 p.m. to Saturday, June 12, at 6:00 a.m. to install the posts. A single lane will remain open in both directions. The closure coincides with the closure of the SR 99 tunnel for routine maintenance.

Seattle DOT says the new vertical posts are part of a larger scale plan to study safety improvements for the entire SR 99 Aurora Avenue North corridor. SDOT and the Washington State Department of Transportation are teaming up, with the help of $2 million, to make the highway safer to pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.

Senator Reuven Carlyle has been championing the efforts in Olympia.

“I’m thrilled our community secured this high-value, targeted public investment in safety in this year’s state budget,” Sen. Carlyle said in a news release. “Following the Aurora Bridge tragedy of 2015 and a tragic continuation of deadly crashes on the Aurora corridor, the City of Seattle and the state share a public and moral obligation to improve public safety on our iconic bridge.”

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