Crossing the 520 Bridge is a daily routine for many Seattleites and Bellevue residents. Recently, we’ve seen construction cranes floating nearby in the lake, as preparations are being made for further construction of the bridge. Ash Grove Cement, which has been in the Seattle area for 131 years, made a bid to provide the cement for the 520 project, but lost it to a company in China. Now, millions of dollars are being sent overseas to pay for the imported cement, which could have easily been provided by Ash Grove. The details behind the decision were not available.
Union Activist Carl Krull is furious. Especially considering that the pontoons being made from the cement are already showing problems. They have notable cracks, and were only recently poured. While it is not completely clear whether or not the cement from China is the culprit, this specific cement is not the same as the cement used in a WSDOT-built test pontoon. The test pontoon was developed during a project called ACME, which Komo reports, “tested different recipes of concrete, using specific cement, aggregate or rock and amounts of water to get the best water-tight pontoon possible.”
The WSDOT insists that the cracks found in the pontoons are non-structural, however others disagree, and say that the extensive cracking should be a matter of alarm.