Even with small lights and advisories about their existence, some boaters said Friday there is not enough lighting around the SR 520 Floating Bridge project and its large barges and buoys.
One suggested that unused steel barge mooring buoys are practically invisible in the dark, more of an issue now, they say, with Seafair weekend drawing heavy boat traffic to Lake Washington.
“Theoretically, if somebody was driving a speed boat fast on Lake Washington, they could easily hit something out there,” said charter boat captain Dave Petrich.
“Last winter there were a number of (buoys) that weren’t lit. They’re hard to see until you come up on them.”
Anchor buoys are smaller and not required to have lights. However, several were in the navigation channels under the bridge Friday night.
In response to concerns from boaters last year, the Washington Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard installed lights on the barges and mooring buoys around the bridge construction site. Boater advisories are also frequently posted online.
Petrich said while seeing the obstacles during the day is easy, boating at night, which is already a challenge, makes seeing them very hard.
“I’ve been through there many times when everything looks black and you don’t identify the barges until you get close,” he said.
Steve Peer with KGM Construction, contractor for the project, said Friday there “haven’t been any issues with this,” adding, “we put lights on what we’re required to put on and more.”
Peer said boaters need to be cautious around the bridge during construction.