A rendering shows what the “Skipping Stone” version of the Totem Lake Connector Bridge could look like. Submitted art

Kirkland City Council chooses ‘Skipping Stone’ design for Totem Lake Connector Bridge

At its June 6 meeting, Kirkland City Council unanimously approved moving forward with the “Skipping Stone” design for the Totem Lake Connector Bridge.

“(‘Skipping Stone’) makes that a unique landmark,” Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold said at the meeting.

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge will go over the intersection of Northeast 124th Street and Totem Lake Boulevard, and the plan is for the project to be completed in the next three years. It is part of the Cross Kirkland Corridor master plan.

According to documentation from the City of Kirkland, the chosen design “has a strong fluid form that engages the connection between Lake Washington and Totem Lake. The sense of motion of a skipping stone implies a reconnection between the community and nature.”

The council previously narrowed down the options for the bridge to four concepts: “Skipping Stone,” “The Gates,” “Half Arches” and “Suspended Ring.”

At last week’s council meeting, City of Kirkland senior capital projects engineer Aaron McDonald presented data collected by staff to compile an overall score for each option, factoring in project cost, environmental, geotechnical, structural, constructability and operations/maintenance considerations. “Skipping Stone” scored the highest with a 45 (out of 55), followed by “The Gates” (43), “Half Arches” (37) and “Suspended Ring” (34).

McDonald also presented the calculated cost of each option, with “Skipping Stone” coming in at $16.6 million compared to $16.4 million for “The Gates,” $19.2 million for “Half Arches” and $20.8 million for “Suspended Ring.”

City staff also gained public feedback on the final four options through online surveys and a series of public open houses. “Skipping Stone” received the most community support with 264 votes, followed by “Half Arches” (181), “Suspended Ring” (157) and “The Gates” (120).

Arnold called the public engagement with this project a “thorough process.”

“It really has added value to this discussion,” Arnold said at the council meeting.

“It was interesting to see the ‘Skipping Stone’ come out ahead,” Councilmember Jon Pascal added.

With the action taken by council, city staff will move forward with the design process, giving updates when the project reaches 30-percent design and sometime prior to final design. According to a project schedule in a memo prepared by McDonald and other staff, the project should be at 30-percent design in July, with the final design ready in March 2018. It is anticipated that staff will put out a call for construction proposals in May 2018.

According to that same memo, roadway closures during construction for the “Skipping Stone” design might be a bit longer to place the main spans compared to the other designs, but the closures “can be accomplished during night-time.”

More information about the project can be found online at www.kirklandwa.gov/totemlakeconnector. The agenda packet for and video of the council’s June 6 meeting is also available on the city’s website.