Legislature Requires Mediator for SR 520 Bridge Project

The House passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6099, by Senator Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle), to require the state to hire professional mediators to work with the local communities impacted by the State Route 502 floating bridge replacement project.

Senator Murray introduced the bill in response to major criticism from citizens in his district to the way the Washington DOT has handled the project. The bill requires to DOT to hire a mediator and planning staff to develop a project plan that can be agreed to by all appropriate parties impacted by the project. The mediator is empowered to work directly with citizens, local governments and others to resolve outstanding issue.

If successful, this could be a model for other mega-projects. The Alaska Way Viaduct replacement on SR 99 and the Interstate 5 “Columbia Crossings” bridge in Vancouver have also generated significant public controversy.