W Howe St Bridge Project – Seismic Retrofit

Updated: December 23, 2020

What’s happening now?

We have completed the W Howe St Bridge Seismic Retrofit project! Thank you for your patience and cooperation during construction of this project for the past year. You may see crews wrapping up work at the project site over the next few weeks.

The completed seismic improvements will strengthen the bridge's resiliency to seismic events like earthquakes. Over the last 12 months, we:

  • Strengthened the bridge's crossbeams, columns, arches, and arch support struts
  • Cleaned and painted the bridge
  • Installed concrete blocks and supportive shells for the bridge's columns and crossbeams
  • Repaired cracks in the bridge's concrete
  • Replaced the expansion joint at east end of the bridge to stabilize movement
  • Restored the slope and installed new landscaping

Infrastructure maintenance is critical for a healthy, vibrant, and connected city. Thank you for helping us improve the resiliency of the W Howe St Bridge for all!

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

Project Schedule*

30% Design Complete
60% Design Complete
Final Design Complete
Construction Complete
Project 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