“Forbidden Access”: Travel Channel tours SR 520 floating bridge

by guest blogger Kris Olsen

Imagine going all over the country, exploring places that are usually off limits to the general public. A film crew shooting a documentary for The Travel Channel was in town recently to explore the inner workings of the SR 520 bridge - the longest floating bridge in the world. Our crews love doing this kind of thing. They are so proud of their bridges. Bridge superintendent Archie Allen did the show-and-tell with a six -person film crew and show host Don Wildman. Outfitted with a microphone, Archie took the crew to mid-span where a boat waited for us. We cruised down the side of the bridge to a spot under the east highrise and then plunged into a pontoon to show them anchor cables, water sensors and how the heck we keep a concrete bridge afloat!

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They shot scenes from different angles, asking Archie and the host to repeat their conversations, take the same walk and show the same cable or hatch door multiple times. The show’s producer was impressed with Archie’s ability to explain things repeatedly and make it sound new and interesting during every take. (We attribute that to Archie’s overall enthusiasm for everything about his bridge!)

This Travel Channel crew spends up to three weeks on the road at a time, working 12 hour days for six days straight, living out of suitcases and schlepping lots of gear through airports around the country. Wildman was excited to tour the bridge. “I love doing stuff like this,” he said. “I get to meet people, go places and see things that most people don’t.” Archie said the crew was easy to work with and the host seemed genuinely interested in the bridge. He thought it was neat that a TV show is highlighting an area of Seattle that’s not one of the usual spots like Pike Place Market. “There are things like our floating bridges that are kind of unique to the city and in turn make our city unique,” Archie said.

The Seattle episode of “Forbidden Access” featuring the floating bridge is tentatively scheduled to air in September.