Construction of a replacement for a century-old bridge on the Everett-Seattle mainline is expected to cost BNSF about $200 million.

The bascule bridge crossing the Lake Washington Ship Canal on Salmon Bay near Ballard was built in 1914.

The Salmon Bay Bridge was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914. Google Maps image

“As it goes up and down with a counterweight, what we found was that the trunnion bearing [on which the bridge rotates] was getting fatigued,” said BNSF spokesperson Courtney Wallace. BNSF replaced the trunnion bearings about a decade ago.

About 30-40 passenger and freight trains cross the bridge each day, clearing marine traffic through the Ballard Locks.

For tall ships, the railroad is proposing a vertical lift bridge with 155 feet of clearance.

The company expects the project’s permitting phase to take two years before a new span is constructed parallel to the current bridge, expected to last three years. BNSF will then remove the old bridge.

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