Kids race to see who can cross the Grand Avenue Park Bridge first as it opens for public use Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Kids race to see who can cross the Grand Avenue Park Bridge first as it opens for public use Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

The wait is over: Grand Avenue Park pedestrian bridge opens

The bridge provides much-anticipated access to Everett’s waterfront from the Northwest Neighborhood.

EVERETT — There were neither balloons nor a brass band to mark the occasion.

After years of planning, literally tons of heavy lifting, pinpoint engineering and an investment of $20 million, the Grand Avenue Park Bridge opened Wednesday with lots of anticipation but little fanfare.

A small crowd of about 20 neighbors gathered after the city of Everett published a newsflash saying the bridge had opened at 2:30 p.m. Construction workers removed chain link fence from around the northern part of the park, but another few hours passed before the crew got a final go-ahead to allow traffic on the pedestrian bridge.

While most people walk down the ramp, a few take the stairs as the Grand Avenue Park Bridge opens for public use Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

While most people walk down the ramp, a few take the stairs as the Grand Avenue Park Bridge opens for public use Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Most in the crowd weren’t too disappointed by a few more hours of waiting.

Neighborhood kids clambered to be the first to touch the bridge’s pristine pavement from behind the barrier.

“Open, open, open, open!” they chanted as Megan Adams snapped a photo.

Adams lives just a block and a half from the bridge.

“Access to the waterfront will change everything,” she said. “We’ve been waiting forever for this.”

Jo Levin is a fifth generation Everettite. As kids, she and her friends would climb down the bluff where the bridge now resides to place pennies on the train tracks.

“There were actually paths leading down,” she said.

The new bridge is an improved — and safer — option.

“I’m excited to have access to some nice restaurants and our beautiful waterfront,” she said.

Jim Conner, 72, lives just a few blocks south of the park. He said he’s most looking forward to quick access to happy hour at Scuttlebutt Brewing.

The bridge passed its final safety inspection Wednesday afternoon.

The new span changes the landscape for drivers taking West Marine View Drive and offers quick access to folks wanting to hoof it down to the waterfront from Everett’s Northwest Neighborhood.

From 16th Street, the bridge goes over the bluff, rail tracks and West Marine View Drive, where it connects to a tower with an elevator and stairs on Port of Everett property. Crossing the rail lines required coordination with BNSF Railway and the Snohomish County Public Utility District because of power lines when crews hoisted the steel into place from below.

About 1 million pounds and a football field long, the steel bridge will support people and utility pipes. The old underground pipes were deteriorated and exposed to damage from landslides.

Marianne and Barry McWilliams take a photo together as they walk down the newly opened Grand Avenue Park Bridge on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Marianne and Barry McWilliams take a photo together as they walk down the newly opened Grand Avenue Park Bridge on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Some minor work will still need to be performed over the coming weeks, city officials said in a news release.

The city decided it best to postpone any official grand opening because of concerns with the COVID-19 virus.

“For now, we hope the community will take time to visit the bridge for themselves and experience what it’s like to connect to the waterfront,” Heather Griffin, project manager for the bridge, said in a news release.

Work has been winding down in recent days. This week, there were two critical tasks to complete: passing an elevator safety inspection and testing the lighting.

The Grand Avenue Park Bridge opens for public use on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Grand Avenue Park Bridge opens for public use on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Additional fine-tuning on the lighting is in the works. When complete, the lighting will be dimmed, more uniform and off during daylight hours. For the time being, the bridge lights will be illuminated continuously.

Preliminary work on the project began in August 2017. The bridge was raised and moved into place last September, and the utility pipes were connected to the city’s wastewater and storm systems in February.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

Eric Stevick contributed to this story.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Paul McElhany points out how far the new building will extend past the current building at Northwest Fisheries Science Center's Mukilteo Research Station on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 in Mukilteo, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Oh, crab! NOAA’s Mukilteo waterfront fish lab won’t be rebuilt

Bids for a new Northwest Fisheries Science Center research station are too high. Are condos next?

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney during an interview at the sheriff’s department June 17, 2020. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Auditor denies Fortney recall group the extra time it seeks

He said he could extend the deadline for signature gathering if ordered by a court or the Governor.

State Patrol worker from Everett charged with attempted child rape

Trevor Smith worked as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer assigned inspecting school buses.

A pre-loaded syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine sits on the table for the next person in line during a vaccine clinic as South Pointe Assisted Living on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County to receive its largest shipment of vaccines

Even as case counts drop, researchers are finding a growing number of COVID variants in the state.

Austin Johnson, 26 years-old, trains on the Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens and is planning to do a 24-hour run to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
24 hours, 80 miles, $23k raised for mental health

Austin Johnson completes a 24-hour run along the Centennial Trail to raise money for suicide prevention.

Everett man identified after being found dead in creek

The cause of death for Renee Baltazar Romero remained under investigation Thursday.

Everett man found dead in creek near Lake Stevens

The man, 28, was reported missing Thursday. A neighbor found his body in Little Pilchuck Creek.

Autopsy shows Lake Stevens woman, 20, drowned Saturday

Anna M. Lopez was swimming when witnesses noticed she was not responsive, according to officials.

Joe Hempel swims off of the shore of Seawall Park on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 in Langley, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Scantily clad is the dress code for these cold rush swimmers

Immersed for 30 minutes in frigid water would kill most of us. It energizes these swimmers.

Most Read