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Published: Friday, May 25, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
In our view / 520 Bridge scandal

Judgment sinks to bottom

And just like that, the term "520" became slang for drinking on the job.
Actually, comparing "520" to "420" isn't fair. The lore that "420" is the universal time for marijuana smokers to spark up is based on a group of high school friends in California in the early 1970s who would gather at that time to do just that.
The key here is that they did it after school.
Saying "520" would imply gathering after a long day's work to have a beer. But no, "520" means drinking beer all day while working on the floating bridge. (Or the "new" bridge as it is known by older people who grew up here.)
Wikipedia, a 24/7 "520" job site if there ever was one, says the name is: "The Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge -- Evergreen Point (formerly the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, and commonly called the SR 520 Bridge or 520 Bridge.)" Or the TGADRB-EP. Try repeating that after a few cold ones.
Is it being surrounded by all that water that makes drinking beer on the job seem like a natural thing to do? Like yachtsmen or fishermen? (Northwesterners will also remember the old Olympia Beer slogan; "It's the Water.")
Just to recap: KOMO-TV news reporter Tracy Vedder and the Problem Solvers, using a hidden camera, broke the story this week of drinking on the largest construction job in the state -- the 520 bridge construction project, a contract worth $586 million.
"Our hidden camera video tells the story: Numerous workers are shown with a beer in their hand, or at their desk, in the middle of the afternoon," KOMO reported. And: "At the Bellevue office, workers appeared very comfortable with the drinking. When KOMO showed up to confront the managers at 3 p.m., two employees were each bringing in a half rack of beer, which they stowed in the refrigerator."
On Wednesday, more allegations were made.
"A new whistleblower has come forward to say the problem is more widespread than anyone imagined," KOMO reported.
The Department of Transportation was quick to say it wasn't their workers, but contract workers. As if it matters.
(New toll idea: Can people just toss a couple beers in the direction of workers?)
We joke only because the whole thing is so crazy dangerous and unbelievable. Isn't the TV show where the workers drink all day called "Mad Men"? And they are fictional, and only trying to manipulate people into buying stuff. They aren't doing construction work on the longest floating bridge on Earth (7,497 feet.)
What's that Simon and Garfunkel classic? "Troubled Bridge in Hot Water"?

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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

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