Monday, July 19, 2010

Pay Now & Pay Later (for what you already bought)

New 520 Bridge: More Spent on Planning Than on Building Original Bridge

I haven't actually fact checked this blog post but the inflation numbers pencil out about right. My understanding is that the original 520 bridge was financed predominately by $60 million in bonds that were paid off ahead of schedule entirely by tolls on the bridge. By inflation adjusted numbers the current package includes roughly the same amount of toll revenue; but the bridge is ten times more expensive. Or, in other words, for tolls to cover the cost as they did with the original they would need to be closer to $30 each way than the proposed $3. That would put the cost up in the neighborhood of what we pay for a cross sound ferry. Too bad there wasn't a real bridge built back in 1963. We'd be good to go for another 50 years and tolling now would have time to build up a nice little nest egg for a replacement.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rio–Antirrio Bridge

The Rio–Antirrio Bridge in Greece is considered my many as an engineering masterpiece. An accolade the hideous SR-520 replacement, "floating bridge on stilts" will never be. It's interesting to note how similar the design challenges are between the two. The Rio–Antirrio Bridge was completed in 2004 for Euros ($920,000,00). The pontoon bridge for lake Washington is estimated to cost twice that. I guess that makes it the ugliest bridge money can buy.