Workers watch from below as the $20 million Grand Avenue Park Bridge was slowly lowered into place above Marine View Drive on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Workers watch from below as the $20 million Grand Avenue Park Bridge was slowly lowered into place above Marine View Drive on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

$20 million Everett bridge is a perfect fit

The new span provides a long-sought link to the Everett marina and rapidly developing waterfront.

EVERETT — Folks peered over the bluff at Grand Avenue Park, lined the piers at the Port of Everett Marina, and one even watched from a dinghy offshore, all seeking a glimpse of a $20 million bridge being slowly rotated into place on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people were out — some with binoculars in hand, others with dog leashes — on a bright blue fall day to witness the final hours of the months-long installation of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge.

“I’m really looking forward to riding my bike over it,” said Susan Ewing, who lives nearby on Rockefeller Avenue. “I think this will be a wonderful addition. It’s a step forward for Everett.”

A traffic jam developed along Grand Avenue as observers flooded to the park throughout the day.

When the bridge opens some time next year, the span will provide an additional and much-desired pedestrian link to the waterfront from the park above. More connections to Everett’s waterfront have long been a high priority for many residents.

Crews worked through Tuesday night scrambling to ready the site for Wednesday’s scheduled installation, which required BNSF Railway to close five tracks that the new bridge crosses over.

The $20 million Grand Avenue Park Bridge sits as two workers manage a power line before the bridge is rotated into place along Marine View Drive on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The $20 million Grand Avenue Park Bridge sits as two workers manage a power line before the bridge is rotated into place along Marine View Drive on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

With the weight of the million-pound bridge shifted from four steel lifting towers to two transporters used to turn and move the structure, the two south towers still needed to be removed as the sun set Tuesday. A little after 8 a.m. Wednesday cranes carted off the last pieces of the two disassembled towers.

Workers used steel plates, rail ties and plywood sheets to level the ground to allow the transporter to roll over the railroad tracks, according to Kathleen Baxter, a spokesperson for Everett’s public works department.

Around 9 a.m., a single operator beneath the bridge used a controller tethered to the transporters to begin inching the span to the south.

The Grand Avenue Park Bridge is reflected in Mack Hyatt’s binoculars as he waits for it to be rotated into place on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Grand Avenue Park Bridge is reflected in Mack Hyatt’s binoculars as he waits for it to be rotated into place on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

About two hours later, the bridge began its wide swing to bring the northern end toward the park’s bluff. Other crew members spotted from the hillside as the bridge was maneuvered under high-voltage lines and between a gap in a set of electrical lines.

With only about a half-inch tolerance for error in setting the bridge, crews worked carefully adjusting the final resting spot for the steel truss, Baxter said.

“The moving and placement of the bridge today went exceptionally well,” said Heather Griffin, the city’s project manager. “The contractor followed the schedule they set, and, most importantly, the bridge was successfully set on its bearings. We couldn’t ask for a better outcome.”

Worker lay down dunnage before the Grand Avenue Park Bridge can roll past a power pole and over railroad tracks on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Worker lay down dunnage before the Grand Avenue Park Bridge can roll past a power pole and over railroad tracks on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

The bridge started as a utility project to carry stormwater and sewage from north Everett. A $2 million federal grant allowed the city to add a pedestrian deck. A catwalk under the bridge will allow maintenance crews to examine the utility pipes slung underneath.

The bridge slopes down about 4% from the bluff to the waterfront. A switchback eliminated the need for an elevator on the east side.

The Grand Avenue Park Bridge is slowly rotated between power poles Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Grand Avenue Park Bridge is slowly rotated between power poles Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

To reduce maintenance — and to avoid future rail closures so the bridge can be painted — the steel sides are pre-weathered. A layer of rust will prevent inner layers from oxidizing.

The city had hoped to erect the bridge last year, but the steel pieces took longer to manufacture than planned.

Crews are expected to finish up Thursday so West Marine View Drive can reopen Friday.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

Julie Muhlstein contributed to the story.

A man stands out on the bluff at Grand Avenue Park as the new pedestrian bridge is moved into place on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A man stands out on the bluff at Grand Avenue Park as the new pedestrian bridge is moved into place on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

For a better view, some people watch from in front of the hedges at Grand Avenue Park on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

For a better view, some people watch from in front of the hedges at Grand Avenue Park on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

Grand Avenue Park is lined with bystanders as the $20 million Grand Avenue Park Bridge is slowly rotated into place along W Marine View Drive in Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Grand Avenue Park is lined with bystanders as the $20 million Grand Avenue Park Bridge is slowly rotated into place along W Marine View Drive in Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

Crews watch as the east side of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge is lowered into place on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Crews watch as the east side of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge is lowered into place on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

A pair of boaters watch the installation of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge as it is slowly rotated into place along Marine View Drive on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A pair of boaters watch the installation of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge as it is slowly rotated into place along Marine View Drive on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

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