‘It’s about to get real’: Construction on Totem Lake Connector Bridge to begin this year

Bids are due to open by March.

The Kirkland City Council received an update on how the Totem Lake Connector Bridge project is progressing at its Jan. 21 meeting.

“It’s about to get real, which will have some impacts on the Totem Lake area,” city manager Kurt Triplett said, adding, “This is a huge investment for us, and we’re really excited about it…but with the excitement comes a little bit of challenge as we put it into place.”

The bridge, which runs about 1,400 feet, will serve bicyclists and pedestrians specifically, and is being built in part to improve nonmotorized transportation at the intersection of Totem Lake Boulevard and Northeast 124th Street. Currently, this intersection is the busiest in the Kirkland area.

According to capital projects manager Rod Steitzer, construction bids for the connector bridge project will open on March 6. The council is due to award the bid in April, with site preparation starting in May.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” Steitzer said, also noting that the city is allowing six weeks of bid advertisement to ensure accuracy, since the project “is really complicated and really technical.”

Early work on the project, Steitzer noted, will likely not be easily visible, as the first four to five months of construction involves the procurement and fabrication of long lead materials like steel.

As a result, work will likely not be noticeable until around June and July.

Steitzer said that the city is working to coordinate bridgework with other projects in the Totem Lake area to ensure that residents are able to move about the area safely.

Some work in preparation for the bridge is already in the works, Steitzer noted: a sewer pipe once where the connector bridge’s “footprint” is is being rerouted. The relocation work should be done by the end of January, he said.

According to the city of Kirkland’s website, the design for the bridge is funded primarily by local and federal grant dollars, with the construction to be financially supported by local funds, including transportation impact fees and local debt.

The bridge is currently stated to be completed by August 2022.

At the end of the update, Triplett noted that subsequent meetings will address other Totem Lake projects and how they relate to the connector bridge.

“This is the centerpiece of it,” he said.

To watch the full update, go to the Jan. 21 Kirkland City Council meeting recording online (https://bit.ly/2NNvo4w). For more information about the project, go to the Jan. 21 meeting agenda item (https://bit.ly/38tgsR5).

Editor’s note: A previous version of the article misstated the size of the bridge. It has been updated to reflect that it runs about 1,400 feet. The article has also been updated to reflect a recent change made on the city of Kirkland website regarding funding for the bridge.