Photo Challenge Entries

Floating Bridge Fiascos


Twice since the state started tolling on the 520 floating bridge that crosses Lake Washington, I’ve been tricked by misleading signs into getting on the bridge when I didn’t intend to.

The first time, I missed the last exit before the point of no return because I had directions for taking 405 and going west on the bridge and  instead I ended up taking I-5 and going east on the bridge. The exit is called something different when you’re going west so I missed it and had to drive all the way across the bridge and turn around and go back, in rush hour traffic. I made Daniel a half hour late for his baseball game and had to pay the toll twice. Neither of us was happy.

The second time was the Sunday before last when Don and I went to the arboretum. When we left the arboretum, we followed the signs for 520 west. The signs put us on 520 east, past the point that you can get off before the toll booth. It’s not terribly expensive or anything (unless you don’t pay it right away, as we learned the hard way a few years ago. The rebilling fees started at $40!) but it’s not the way we intended to go.

It ended up being a beautiful day to be out on the lake, traffic was a breeze and I learned something new: The 520 floating bridge is the longest floating bridge in the world. Despite living in the area my whole life, I didn’t know this.

Although I enjoyed the scenery of the lake, I can’t help but suspect that the signage is purposely misleading!

*Sorry about the quality of the photo. I took it through the dirty windshield with my phone and then cropped the dashboard out. But now you kind of know what it’s like on the longest floating bridge in the world – pretty, but not free! 🙂

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge



17 thoughts on “Floating Bridge Fiascos

  1. Now I know what the new bridge looks like! Beautiful day.

    I’ve avoided that bridge ever since tolling started, which isn’t difficult since I almost never need to go to the Eastside. I know the new bridge is a vast improvement and much safer, but new drivers will never know the thrill of crossing the bridge with waves crashing over the side on super windy days.

    1. I always kind of wanted to experience the waves crashing over the bridge on a windy day, although it would be a little scary too. The sinking of the Hood Canal bridge is an image that has stayed imprinted on my mind since my childhood.

      I like driving over the bridges, it’s the tangled web of roads on either side that stresses me out, especially on the eastside which I don’t know as well.

      1. Yes about the Hood Canal bridge! That storm was scary. I had an upstairs corner bedroom and it sounded like the wind was going to rip the roof off over me. I didn’t get much sleep. Then my radio alarm came on in the morning and I literallly gawked as the announcer said part of the bridge had just sunk. I don’t know if you remember, but when the second I-90 floating bridge was being constructed part of it sank in a storm too.

  2. I am so glad we don’t have any toll bridges or roads around here (Thankfully, our state keeps them all in Chicago, and I don’t think Missouri does tolls at all). One of the bridges across the Mississippi used to be toll, and only because it was owned by a neighboring city that desperately needed the revenue. It was always one good wind gust away from crumbling into the river (I have no idea if it would have floated or not)… easily the worst bridge in the entire area. Yet it was popular with commuters because it was close enough to downtown without being near the congested interstate bridges. The state took control of the bridge after it finally failed inspection, and it has since been rebuilt as a free bridge…

    1. It’s amazing that they replaced a toll bridge with a non-toll bridge! That would never happen here. Seattle is increasingly all about penalizing people for driving. We’re all supposed to go green and ride our bicycles!

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