By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — The old drawbridge on Highway 529 across Ebey Slough is expected to carry its last vehicles on Friday.
The 85-year-old bridge is to close for good at 8 p.m. so crews can connect the highway to a new bridge being built just east of the old one.
The work is scheduled to be done over the weekend in time for drivers to begin using the new, $39.2 million bridge at 5 a.m. Monday.
“We’re going to do grading and asphalt paving and striping,” said Joe Rooney, chief inspector for the project for the state Department of Transportation.
Highway 529 will be closed from Friday evening to Monday morning between the northbound onramp to I-5, located just south of the slough, and First Street in Marysville. Detour signs will be posted, Rooney said.
Work began on the new bridge in 2010. It will have four lanes, compared with two across the current bridge, and bike lanes and sidewalks running in each direction. The current bridge has a narrow walkway on one side and no bike lanes.
For the first several months, only two lanes of the new bridge will be used, with one lane in each direction. The other half of the bridge, the western half, will be used to maneuver equipment for dismantling the old bridge. That work is expected to be finished by January, allowing traffic to use both directions of the new bridge.
The old bridge, which opened in 1927, doesn’t meet earthquake standards and can’t handle all the traffic during busy times, officials say.
Ebey Slough was named for Colonel Isaac Neff Ebey. During the Northwest Indian War of 1855-1856, Ebey led a group of volunteer soldiers up the slough that bears his name to scout and establish an outpost, according to HistoryLink.org.
On Aug. 11, 1857, Ebey was beheaded at his home on Whidbey Island by Kake Indians from Canada, in retaliation for a United States naval attack on their tribe that had killed 27 people, including a chief.