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Wind storm causes damage to 520 floating bridge

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State department of transportation cameras show waves slamming into the SR 520 bridge during a windstorm on March 13th, 2016.

SEATTLE — Engineers say Sunday’s windstorm damaged a key component of the State Route 520 floating bridge.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said an inspection of the bridge revealed damage to the mechanical system that raises and lowers the draw span.

The Washington State Patrol closed the bridge at 2:30 Sunday afternoon as winds in excess of 50 mph kicked up whitecaps on Lake Washington. Waves slammed into the bridge deck, sending spray cascading over all lanes of SR 520.

At one point, waves even launched a piece of driftwood on to the eastbound lanes.

Despite the damage, WSDOT said the bridge is structurally sound.

Crews typically shut down the SR 520 bridge when wind gusts reach 50 mph for at least 15 minutes. The last time the floating bridge closed due to weather was in October 2014.