Aerial view of Overlake pedestrian and bicycle bridge
An aerial view of the Microsoft-funded, City of Redmond-owned pedestrian and bicycle bridge over State Route 520 in the Overlake neighborhood, providing helpful connections to the Redmond Technology Station (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

With just a few days to go until Sound Tran­sit’s East Link exten­sion inau­gu­rates rev­enue ser­vice between eight sta­tions in Belle­vue and Red­mond, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s home­town today cel­e­brat­ed the open­ing of a new bridge across State Route 520 that pro­vides a safe means for peo­ple to cross the busy high­way that bisects Microsoft­’s Over­lake cam­pus on foot or by bike.

Fund­ed by Microsoft, the bridge is more than just a new right of way… it’s a neigh­bor­hood land­mark that’s aes­thet­i­cal­ly pleas­ing, as you can see from the aer­i­al pho­to that we’ve cho­sen to accom­pa­ny this post. Its avail­abil­i­ty to the pub­lic was marked with a rib­bon cut­ting orga­nized by the com­pa­ny and the city, at which sev­er­al local lead­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Microsoft spoke. The bridge con­nects to the following: 

  • The East Link / Line 2 Red­mond Tech­nol­o­gy Sta­tion (RTS)
  • The State Route 520 bus fly­er stops, which are served by mul­ti­ple routes
  • The State Route 520 region­al bike trail, which now cross­es Lake Wash­ing­ton fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the new Albert Roselli­ni Ever­green Point Float­ing Bridge 
  • Both sides of the Microsoft cam­pus — east and west
  • Pub­lic right of way owned by Red­mond on 156th Avenue NE

A ramp pro­vides direct access to the bridge for rid­ers leav­ing the RTS platform. 

“This bridge will be a great ben­e­fit to the com­mu­ni­ty and con­nect us in a num­ber of sus­tain­able ways, with lanes for those who want to walk and ride their bikes,” said Red­mond May­or Angela Bir­ney in a statement. 

“It is thanks to our part­ner­ships with Microsoft, Sound Tran­sit, and WSDOT, that we have this new, not only func­tion­al, but beau­ti­ful con­nec­tion to enjoy.”

“The design of the bridge is the result of metic­u­lous and inno­v­a­tive plan­ning, as well as the unique efforts between Sound Tran­sit, City of Red­mond, and Microsoft,” a news release from the city of Red­mond states. “The bridge was designed by AECOM and engi­neered by Kiewit Engi­neer­ing Group, Inc., and fea­tures func­tion­al canopies, land­scaped planters with native plants, and bench­es to enhance the user experience.” 

“The Red­mond Tech­nol­o­gy Sta­tion will be a hub for tran­sit pas­sen­gers and Microsoft work­ers through­out the East­side,” said King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive and Sound Tran­sit Board Chair Dow Con­stan­tine. “Thanks to the col­lab­o­ra­tion of our project part­ners, we’re expand­ing tran­sit for a more con­nect­ed Puget Sound region.”

Another aerial view of Overlake pedestrian and bicycle bridge
A sec­ond aer­i­al view of the pedes­tri­an and bicy­cle bridge span­ning State Route 520 between NE 40th and NE 36th Streets in Over­lake, look­ing east. The Cas­cade Range is vis­i­ble in the back­ground. (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

“With light rail ser­vice only days away, open­ing this bike and pedes­tri­an bridge will safe­ly con­nect tran­sit pas­sen­gers from the Red­mond Tech­nol­o­gy Sta­tion to Microsoft, the SR 520 Trail, and more, pro­vid­ing yet anoth­er link to our grow­ing light rail sys­tem,” said King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci. “This con­nec­tion is the result of years-long col­lab­o­ra­tion between Sound Tran­sit, WSDOT, Microsoft, and the City of Red­mond and is an inte­gral piece of build­ing an inter­con­nect­ed tran­sit sys­tem that makes mul­ti­modal trav­el easy, safe, and seamless.” 

“Today’s grand open­ing is an impor­tant mile­stone in the effort to cre­ate a mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion sys­tem that sup­ports the region’s econ­o­my and qual­i­ty of life,” said Alice Jol­la, chief account­ing offi­cer and cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent at Microsoft. “This bridge is a sym­bol of Microsoft’s com­mit­ment to our local com­mu­ni­ty, and we’re grate­ful for the col­lab­o­ra­tion with the City of Red­mond, Sound Tran­sit, and Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Transportation.”

The new bridge is locat­ed between two oth­er bridges that have been built over State Route 520 since Microsoft estab­lished its head­quar­ters in Red­mond: the one that car­ries NE 40th over the high­way and the one that car­ries NE 36th over the high­way. Long­time res­i­dents of Red­mond can prob­a­bly recall the days when NE 51st was the only exit in between 148th Avenue NE and West Lake Sam­mamish Parkway. 

Now there’s an exit at NE 40th Street too. NE 36th does­n’t have ramps con­nect­ing it to SR 520, but it does pro­vide a means of get­ting from one side of Microsoft­’s cam­pus to the oth­er with­out hav­ing to fight traf­fic on NE 40th or NE 51st. 

The NE 36th Street bridge was built at a time when Red­mond was already plan­ning for light rail to reach the Microsoft cam­pus, and accord­ing­ly, the bridge was designed to ensure there was suf­fi­cient room under­neath for a set of light rail tracks. 

For the roads fur­ther to the east, Sound Tran­sit’s con­trac­tors had to dig trench­es and do some recon­struc­tion to cre­ate a ful­ly grade-sep­a­rat­ed guideway. 

Plan­ning for the bridge began in the 2010s. Con­struc­tion start­ed in 2019 and wrapped up in 2023, with some work con­tin­u­ing on the west approach and the trail connection. 

The bridge has a small­er sib­ling to the west that pro­vides pedes­tri­ans and bicy­clists with a means of get­ting across State Route 520 with­out hav­ing to use 148th Avenue. A two hun­dred and six­ty-foot-long steel-truss bridge opened back in Jan­u­ary that serves the Over­lake Vil­lage Sta­tion. It was designed not only to aid sta­tion access, but to improve free­dom of mobil­i­ty in the Over­lake neighborhood. 

Con­grat­u­la­tions to the City of Red­mond and Microsoft on this mobil­i­ty mile­stone! This is a great pre­lude to Sound Tran­sit’s Line 2 open­ing fes­tiv­i­ties this week­end. NPI will bring you cov­er­age through­out the week­end of these new sta­tion open­ings right here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. We’ll also have a pre­view of what to expect lat­er this week. 

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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