JOHN CURLEY AND SHARI ELLIKER

Curley: Sound Transit will triple dip on I-90 bridge price

Mar 28, 2017, 11:29 AM | Updated: 5:11 pm

East Link light rail, I-90 bridge, Mercer Island...

The I-90 express lanes between Mercer Island and Seattle were permanently closed Monday. (WSDOT)

(WSDOT)

Shocking news: In order to get the choo-choo train across the I-90 bridge, Sound Transit will have to dip deeper into our contingency plan. How much more? $225 million.

RELATED: Lawmaker insists ST3 car tab formula wasn’t clear

Here’s the thing. This shouldn’t be a surprise. If you’ve talked to any structural engineer, never in the history of anything being constructed, has anyone tried to take a floating bridge and place a hard train track over the top of it.

As George Kargianis and Phil Talmadge wrote in The Seattle Times a decade ago, the weight of the rails and equipment mean that the bridge would be at 98 percent of its load-carrying capacity, leaving a 2-percent safety factor. Thus, if there is some type of weather condition, or just wear and tear on the bridge, you’ll eventually have the thing crash into the water — again.

What’s my co-host Tom Tangney’s take on all this? “It’s pretty cool. The scientific engineering behind this is truly astonishing.”

But they haven’t done it yet. On paper, yes, it is cool. The science is absolutely incredible. But is it necessary? The amount of money that someone can continue to throw at a project is endless.

Think about this: Eventually, we might get the train to go across the bridge, but could we have found a more cost effective way to move 2 percent of the commuters? Why not a bus? Then you don’t have to spend the additional $250 million in order to somehow connect the two pieces of floating bridge with giant cables.

So, of course, Tom counters: “This will happen without causing any delays or a tax increase! You have a contingency fund set up and this doesn’t take all of the contingency funds. That’s why we have contingency funds. So the fact that they’re not asking for a tax increase and it won’t cause delays, is something to be remarked on as well.”

My retort: If that contingency fund had not been used, where would that money go?

My point is that past performance is a pretty good indication of what’s coming. Every time Sound Transit builds something, it is either over budget or way past the delivery date. And this is another example: They underestimated the budget on something that has never been done before.

Mark the time and date: The Sound Transit folks will come back to us again and say they need more money out of the contingency plan to do something else on the I-90 bridge.

Will I get a chance to say I told you so?

John Curley and Shari Elliker on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.

John Curley and Shari Elliker

John Curley and Shari Elliker

Photo: Scott Fitzsimmons' "I-1THIS" license plate....

KIRO Newsradio staff

‘I didn’t even feel it’: John Curley shares astonishing story of local winner

The "I-1THIS" license plate is more than creative, it comes with a story of triumph. John Curley told the story who won the winning plate.

30 days ago

seattle nightmare tenant...

Frank Sumrall

Seattle homeowner’s ‘nightmare tenant’ situation resolved one year later

A Seattle homeowner's "nightmare tenant" situation, causing him to live in a van instead of his home for a stretch of time, has finally been resolved one year later.

1 month ago

curley dancing naked...

John Curley

John Curley’s life advice: Start your day by dancing naked to Andrea Bocelli

This has been a part of my regular morning routine for some time now: getting up in the morning and dancing naked every day.

1 month ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Let’s Talk About Eagles

John and Shari discuss the hatch watch for a bald Eagle named Jackie as she sits on her eggs. Then, the conversation goes in a different direction about snakes eating eggs and eagles eating cats. You want to listen to this one! Listen to the John Curley and Shari Elliker Show every weekday at 3pm […]

1 month ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Bradley Cooper Walks Around His House Naked

Apparently, Bradley Cooper walks around his house naked a lot. The John and Shari Show talks about their experiences growing up with their parents. Listen to the John Curley and Shari Elliker Show every weekday at 3pm on KIRO Newsraio 97.3 FM Listen to KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or go to MyNorthwest.com to learn more! […]

1 month ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: The Naked Man Festival Is No More

If you had travelling to Japan for the annual Naked Men Festival on your bucket list… we have some bad news. After more than 1000 years, the festival has been permanently canceled. Listen to the John Curley and Shari Elliker Show every weekday at 3pm on KIRO Newsraio 97.3 FM Listen to KIRO Newsradio 97.3 […]

2 months ago

Curley: Sound Transit will triple dip on I-90 bridge price