The West Sammamish River Bridge along 68th Avenue NE in Kenmore connects commuters from Highway 522 with Kirkland and the rest of the east side.
But right now, it finds itself at the intersection of presidential politics and local improvement projects.
"I never imagined a federal shutdown would have an effect on the work I'm doing, but here we are,” said City Engineer John Vicente.
Vicente says the 81-year-old bridge is overdue for replacement, but Kenmore needs two federal agencies, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Parks Service, to sign off. Both agencies are currently closed due to the government shutdown.
The city needs to get those approvals by early February or the project might have to be put on hold until next year, which could increase the cost for Kenmore taxpayers from $4.5 million to $7.5 million.
"We'll have to figure out where that money is coming from," said Vicente. "Either we'll have to take loans, or we might have to cancel other programs. We're a residential city of 23,000. We don't have money to throw around."
Vicente said the absolute worst-case scenario would be for the bridge to be shut down.
"There are no critical safety concerns on the bridge right now, but that could change," said Vicente. "You never know."
A sinkhole caused the aging bridge to close for two days in December. A nightmare for commuters ensued where a typical 15 minute travel time slowed to an hour and a half.
"Every day that we delay is one step closer to a potential problem," said Vicente.
The annual "fish window" complicates the process.
According to the city, the bridge contractor can only do work in the water when salmon are less likely to be around. Because of the fish window, officials estimate February 11 is the latest date they can advertise for the project, maintain the current schedule, and start construction this year.
Kenmore is talking with state officials about possible ways to work around the shutdown and get the bidding process for a contractor started sooner rather than later.
All this as the three years of construction for the new bridge hasn't even begun.
"I'm just trying to get to the starting line," said Vicente. "The finish seems like it would be easy, at this point."