Neighborhood groups sue over Montlake traffic plan for 520 construction

The work scheduled to begin late this year on the next phase of rebuilding State Route 520 will open a long period of construction.

People who live in the Montlake, Roanoke and Portage Bay neighborhoods expect more than a decade of disruption.

"Little kids who are in kindergarten now are going to be graduating from high school by the time this is over," said attorney Dave Bricklin, who represents neighborhood groups suing the state and the city of Seattle.

They fear dust, noise and traffic jams.

"The traffic plan is not adequate. It is based on old information," Bricklin said.

Bricklin said since the state did an environmental assessment in 2011, it made big changes to the Montlake Phase of the 520 project, like planning four re-routes of Montlake Boulevard.

The Washington State Department of Transportation also now wants to condemn a gas station and the neighboring Montlake Boulevard Market.

"There are a lot of people in the community who are dependent upon us being here," said the store's operations manager, Aaron Gepner.

Last September, a judge ruled the state can condemn the market, a decision the property owners are appealing.

"We're very much for this project. But we're also very much for good government and what we're seeing out of WSDOT is anything but that," said Eric Stelter, one of the owners.

The newly-filed suit from both property owners and neighborhood groups asks a judge to declare the construction traffic plan void and require additional environmental review.

Attorney Bricklin said he didn't think the extra review would take that long, and said the goal is not to delay the project.

A statement from the state reads, "WSDOT remains committed to mitigate traffic impacts during construction and we have worked closely with the city of Seattle to develop the traffic management plan for the Montlake Phase."

City officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Neighborhood groups are now organizing, hoping to pressure the new mayor, Jenny Durkan, to intervene.

Trending headlines