Well, you learn something new every day. Yesterday I attended a Bernie Sanders rally in Oakland, CA which was the very last place I thought I’d learn a new tidbit of Irish history but I was mistaken. One of the speakers had just returned from the North of Ireland. He butchered the pronunciation of Sinn […]
The marshlands near the University of Seattle were once quite literally, a dump. It became a man-made peninsula and a beautiful boundary for the Seattle Arboretum until city planners decided to develop the area. The idea was to build ramps through the lush surroundings and over the water to connect the 520 bridge to the Interstate but those in the neighborhood revolted. When the plans for the connection were met with fierce opposition by the citizens of Montlake and local historical preservation groups in 1971, the project was abandoned – but not before the overpasses were built. They still go right through the beautiful scenery and over the water, but they don’t connect to anything – they simply go nowhere.
The ramps to nowhere have a haunted reputation which, like the laughable barricades, has been unable to keep anyone away. Broken glass, charred remains of small fires, graffiti, and trash litter the walkways and the rubble adds to the eerie and abandoned vibe of the area. At their base, nature has reclaimed the intruders and has started to swallow their foundations.
Ivy creeps up all the support columns and trees are starting to peek through the concrete. It gets dim quickly under the ramps, and even in the middle of the day the underbelly can be slightly dangerous.
These “ghost ramps” have been a popular destination for divers, hikers,and photographers for decades. It’s not often that one can walk fearlessly on an on-ramp surrounded by other interchanges. Their height provides the daring with a high diving board if you have the courage to jump into the murky waters below. Kayak rentals are close by and the marshes are quite popular. The unmanned and seemingly non-patrolled bridges, ramps, trails and surrounding area are also a favorite destination for illicit behavior and criminal activity, particularly after dark…and dark comes fast under the bridges. Perhaps in part due to this, the ramps are now slated for destruction in early 2016.
If you want to get to them before that happens, you can find them pretty easily. There’s a parking lot at the intersection of Lake Washington Blvd and it’s a super short hike to the beginning of the ramp. Sensible shoes are a must given all the glass shards and debris…unless you’re planning to dive. Then wear shoes you wouldn’t mind throwing into the water.