W Howe St Bridge Project – Seismic Retrofit

Updated: August 10, 2020

What’s happening now?

We're wrapping up work on the installation of the steel retrofits, which will:

  • Strengthen the existing bridge frame and critical connection points
  • Minimize bridge movement with beam supports and catcher blocks
  • Strengthen the existing columns and anchor bolts at the footings

Once the steel installation is complete, we will transition to painting the bridge. This work will include intermittent spot-blasting to prepare the steel for paint.

During this work please expect:    

  • Typical weekday work hours of 7 AM - 5:30 PM
    • Traffic restricted to 1 lane on 32nd Ave W with a flagger directing traffic during work hours. Two lanes of traffic will be available during non-work hours
    • Noise, dust, and vibrations during work hours
    • Temporary disruptions during work hours for people walking and biking across the bridge
  • Encasement systems around sections of the bridge during spot-blasting and/or painting work
  • Temporary closure of the staircase providing access from W Howe St to 32nd Ave W
  • Construction equipment staged under the bridge and at the northest corner of the bridge by the north entrance of Magnolia Park parking lot

Thank you in advance for your patience during this work! Please note that the construction schedule is subject to change based on site conditions, material and equipment availability, weather, and other factors. To stay up-to-date with the latest project information, sign up to join our project email list.

Project Overview

Earthquakes could have a significant detrimental effect on Seattle’s infrastructure. To address seismic risks to city infrastructure, the City of Seattle established the bridge seismic retrofit program to assess the seismic vulnerability of the City’s bridges and to prioritize limited funding to reduce this transportation infrastructure vulnerability.

As part of the Levy to Move Seattle, 16 bridges were selected for seismic retrofits, including the W Howe St Bridge. The W Howe St Bridge was constructed in 1946* prior to the modernization of the seismic design code. The bridge provides an alternative route across 32nd Ave W to the neighborhood located along the southwest edge of the Magnolia community.

*This webpage had previously stated that the W Howe St Bridge was constructed in 1981, which was incorrect.

Project map

The planned seismic retrofits to W Howe St Bridge will strengthen key bridge components to better withstand seismic events like earthquakes. This work includes:

  • Strengthening existing braced frames, critical connection points, and existing column anchor bolts at the footings
  • Replacing bridge bearings
  • Minimizing movement at the ends of the bridge with beam supports and catcher blocks
  • Painting the bridge
  • Restoring landscaping disturbed during construction

Construction Impacts

Construction began December 2019 and is anticipated to last approximately 1 year. Most of the work will take place underneath the bridge. We anticipate occasional delays or detours for people driving, biking, or walking across the bridge.

We will minimize construction impacts as much as possible. During construction, please expect:

  • Typical weekday work hours of 7 AM - 5 PM, Monday through Friday
  • 3-4 temporary weekend bridge closures and detours for vehicle traffic. We will post detours and notify nearby homes 72 hours in advance. Access for those walking and biking will be maintained.
  • Traffic restricted to 1 lane on 32nd Ave W with a flagger directing traffic during work hours. Two lanes of traffic will be available during non-work hours
  • Temporary closure of the staircase providing access from W Howe St to 32nd Ave W
  • Construction equipment staged under the bridge, and at the northeast corner of the bridge by the north entrance of Magnolia Park parking lot
    • Temporary disruptions to the north parking lot entrance, bike lanes, and the sidewalks while moving equipment and materials
  • Noise, dust, and vibrations during work hours. We will monitor bridge vibrations and minimize noise as much as possible

Project Schedule*

30% Design Complete
60% Design Complete
Final Design Complete
Construction began Winter 2019
Anticipated completion Winter 2020

* The schedule is subject to change.

Funding

The total project estimate is $4.2 million, and the project is funded through the Levy to Move Seattle. Approved by voters in 2015, the 9-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city.

Get Involved

We're committed to keeping you informed and working with neighbors to limit construction impacts to the extent feasible. Here are some ways to get more information about the project:

Project Materials