W Howe St Bridge Project – Seismic Retrofit

Updated: August 6, 2019

What’s happening now?

Our project team is currently finalizing the design for the W Howe St Bridge seismic improvements. Construction is anticipated to begin early fall 2019 and last approximately 1 year.

Once a contractor is on board, we'll be in touch with the nearby community to share construction impacts. We currently anticipate:

  • Intermittent delays or detours for people walking, biking, and driving across the bridge
  • Temporary closure of the staircase providing access from W Howe St to 32nd Ave W
  • Traffic restricted to 1 lane on 32nd Ave W with a flagger during work hours
    • 2 lanes of traffic will be available during non-work hours
  • Construction equipment staged under the bridge, and at the northeast corner of the bridge by the north entrance of the north entrance of the Magnolia Park parking lot
    • Temporary disruptions to the north parking lot entrance, bike lanes, and the sidewalks while moving equipment and materials
  • Nighttime full-bridge closures (11 PM - 5 AM) for 2-3 weeks
    • We will post detours and notify nearby homes 72 hours in advance of work starting
  • Noise, dust, and vibrations during work hours. We will monitor bridge vibrations and minimize noise as much as possible

To stay up-to-date with the latest design information, sign up to join our project email list. We will keep you updated by sending emails at major milestones. We will also work closely with neighbors who live near the project area to communicate the construction schedule and what to expect as construction approaches.

Project Overview

Seismic events 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 1981 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.

Project map

Most of the work will take place underneath the bridge. At this time, we anticipate there may be occasional delays or detours for people driving, biking, or walking across the bridge. The staircase that provides access from W Howe St down to 32nd Ave W will likely be closed for the duration of the project to maintain a safe separation between people and the work site.

The planned seismic retrofits to W Howe St Bridge would seismically strengthen key bridge components and reduce overall seismic vulnerability. Some of the proposed seismic retrofits include:

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

Project Schedule*

30% Design Complete
60% Design Complete
Final Design Complete
Construction begins Fall 2019

* The schedule is subject to change.


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