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NE 45th Street Viaduct Project - West Approach Replacement

Updated 5/31/2011

This project has been successfully completed.  Thank you for your patience during the construction. This project was funded by Bridging the Gap, a voter-approved $365 million dollar levy for transportation maintenance and improvements.

9/15/2010 Project/Construction Updates

Project Description

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Click for larger map

The NE 45th Street viaduct’s existing west approach is nearing the end of its structural life and needs to be replaced to maintain a safe and efficient travel corridor for vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. The viaduct was originally constructed in 1938 and portions of the existing structure are nearly 70 years old.

The NE 45th Street viaduct is a major thoroughfare in Northeast Seattle. It connects I-5 and the University District to the Northeast Seattle neighborhoods, the University Village, the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and businesses along Sand Point Way NE.

SDOT is closing the NE 45 th Street viaduct from June 14 – September 10, 2010 to replace the west approach. During this time, you will be required to use alternate routes.

How we will keep you safe and moving during the viaduct closure

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Early action projects prior to viaduct closure

  • Temporary traffic revisions at the intersection of NE 55th St, NE Ravenna Blvd, and 22nd Ave NE
  • Improve truck signage along NE Ravenna Blvd
  • Improve visibility and maintenance of lighting along the pedestrian detour route
  • Install priority signalization for emergency vehicles

During the viaduct closure

  • Uniformed Police Officers at key intersections
  • Local Access Only signs in neighborhoods near the construction zone
  • Dynamic Message Signs at key intersections
  • Signal timing modifications
  • Limited parking restrictions along detour route




Construction Schedule

The project was advertised for competitive bids in late February 2010. SDOT selected Guy F. Atkinson Construction, LLC to complete the replacement of the west approach. The replacement work will require the full closure of the viaduct to all traffic, bicycles, and pedestrians from June 14 to September 10, 2010.

What you can expect during construction

Work hours

The construction crews will work from 7 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week from June 14 to September 10. Some nighttime work (after 9 pm until 7 am) may be done periodically in order to complete the project within the designated closure period.


Nearby neighbors can expect an increase in noise due to construction activities during daytime and evening hours. Types of construction noise include backup alarms, truck traffic, and heavy machinery including cranes, loaders, and haulers. SDOT will monitor noise around the work area.

Traffic Impacts

The viaduct will be completely closed to all traffic, bicycles, and pedestrians from June 14 – Sept. 10. Neighbors can expect increased truck traffic around the project vicinity from May through September.

As a part of this project, 22nd Avenue NE will be repaved from NE 45th Street to NE 54th Street in June. Due to cost savings from lower than anticipated construction bids for the NE 45th Street Viaduct Project, SDOT was able to add this improvement to the project as a benefit to the community. SDOT coordinated the repaving of 22nd Avenue NE with the viaduct replacement to reduce costs and minimize impacts to residents.

Bike, bus and walk

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During the viaduct closure you have many options to travel around the area. SDOT is providing the following incentives to help you bike, bus and walk:

Bicycle class scholarships available:

  • If you regularly commute by car through the project area, and are interested in commuting by bike, SDOT is offering a limited number of $50 scholarships toward a Cascade Bicycle Club (CBC) class. CBC recommends the following classes for new riders or experienced riders wanting to improve their urban riding skills:
    • Urban Cycling Techniques
    • Riding With Confidence
  • To apply for a scholarship, review the class schedule and send an  e-mail to CBC noting your class preference. Scholarships must be used prior to Sept. 1, 2010.

Click for larger map

Join Zipcar:

  • Join  Zipcar today at their regular annual rate and receive $75 of free Zipcar use in return (promo code SEAMOVING2010).

Bike, bus and walk resources:






What will the bridge look like after it is replaced?

The cross section of the roadway will stay the same, with two westbound lanes, one eastbound lane and a designated pedestrian pathway. An initial traffic analysis indicated that a major widening of the viaduct was not necessary. Current and future traffic congestion is caused by nearby intersections, not the number of lanes on the existing viaduct.

The west approach will be replaced with a new structure that uses a Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) wall technology. The design consists of pre-made concrete panels used to create the solid outer walls of the structure, and backfill material between the new walls to support a new road surface.

Criss Section of the Road will remain the same.   The west approach will be replaced with a new structure.

Wall Renderings


Project Materials

Open House materials – June 2010

Flyer and Poster – May 2010

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – May 2010

Project Fact Sheet - Spring 2010

PowerPoint Presentation – May 2010

Open House Materials– Nov. 2009

Environmental Considerations

Nearby Burke-Gilman Trail

SDOT conducted an environmental review of the NE 45th Street Viaduct Project to consider impacts associated with social/economic issues, biological resources, bicycles/pedestrians, historic/cultural resources, visual quality, land use, wetlands, and noise and vibration.

In February 2010, SDOT published the environmental documents for the project. It was determined that the project was unlikely to have significant adverse impacts to the environment. You can request a copy of the documents by contacting Mark Mazzola, SDOT environmental coordinator, at 206-733-9117 or



Public Outreach

We have worked closely throughout the project with local government, institutions, community groups and businesses, as well as transportation agencies and nearby neighbors, to gather information and help ease construction impacts. SDOT engaged the public early on this project to determine a preferred construction phasing option. After gathering input from the local community, SDOT decided to move forward with a full‐closure construction phasing option for the viaduct replacement to allow for a shorter construction timeline and a reduced length of time needed to detour drivers and pedestrians around the construction area.

During construction we plan to continue to provide information about the project to the public and keep neighbors engaged through regular e-mail updates. To join our e-mail list, send an e-mail to NE45thBridgeRehab@Seattle.Gov.

Questions or comments?

The project team will consider comments and suggestions from the public during construction.

Send an e-mail to: NE45thBridgeRehab@Seattle.Gov

Call Bob Derry on the construction hotline: 206-330-7987

Or contact the SDOT Project Team:

Michael Ward
Project Manager

Maribel Cruz
Outreach Coordinator

Project Funding

The project is funded by Bridging the Gap, a nine-year levy for transportation maintenance and improvements. The $365 million levy was passed by Seattle voters in November 2006. The goal of the program is to create a strong foundation for Seattle’s transportation future by reducing the infrastructure backlog and investing in major transportation projects. The NE 45th Street Viaduct Project is currently budgeted to cost approximately $9 million.


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