W Howe St Bridge Project – Seismic Retrofit

Updated: April 30, 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 as early as summer 2019 and last approximately 11 months.

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
  • Likely closure of the staircase providing access from W Howe St to 32nd Ave W
  • 32nd Ave W restricted to 1 lane traffic with a flagger during work hours
    • 2 lanes of traffic will be available during non-work hours
  • Construction equipment will be staged under the bridge at 32nd Ave W, along Magnolia Blvd on the west side of the bridge, and northeast corner of the bridge north of the north entrance of the Magnolia Park parking lot
    • Temporary disruptions to the north parking lot entrance, bike lanes, and sidewalks while moving equipment and materials
  • 2-3 weeks of nighttime full-bridge closures (11 PM - 5 AM) to vehicles
    • We will post detours and notify nearby homes 72 hours in advance before work begins
  • 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 a direct connection 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 Spring 2019
Construction begins Summer 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:

Nearby Construction Project

King County Wet Weather Storage Facility

We are working closely with the King County Wastewater Treatment Division to understand community impacts from their project and to minimize community impacts as much as possible. We will continue to do our best to minimize traffic delays, detours, and construction impacts. Construction for the King County Wet Weather Storage Facility is anticipated to be complete Summer 2019. 

Project Materials