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West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass Project

Project/Construction Updates



The Seattle Department of Transportation cordially invites the community to the ribbon cutting of the West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass and the Lake to Bay Loop Way-Finding projects on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 2pm. The event will be held on 3rd Avenue W between W Thomas and W Harrison.

These projects together create a vital and safe connection to some of Seattle’s civic treasures – Lake Union Park, Seattle Center, Olympic Sculpture Park, and Myrtle Edwards Park.


We sincerely appreciate your patience through construction and hope to see you at the event!



The Seattle Department of Transportation is pleased to announce that construction of the West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass is complete. The new overpass will open this afternoon, Friday, October 12!  

Over the next several weeks you may see crews working near the overpass on minor tasks necessary to complete the project. However, the overpass and trail through Myrtle Edwards Park are both open for use.
Thank you for your patience during construction – we hope you enjoy the new overpass!


The overpass opening continues to be delayed due to difficulties with the fabrication of critical handrail components and consequently the  installation of the integrated LED lighting. 

The "soft" opening date, in which the bridge can be opened to the public, is tentatively scheduled for mid-October or as soon as it is safe for pedestrian and bicycle access. A dedication ceremony will occur after crews have completed all work tasks.

In August crews completed major restoration of the bicycle and pedestrian access through Myrtle Edwards Park. The park is now fully operational and open for use.

We thank you for your continued patience as we complete this project.

Project Description

The Seattle Department of Transportation will build a pedestrian and bicycle overpass over Elliott Avenue West and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks at West Thomas Street. The new structure will provide pedestrians and bicyclists direct access from the lower Queen Anne community to Myrtle Edwards Park. View project renderings.

Project Schedule

The project completed design in January of 2011. It was advertised for competitive bids and bid openings happened on March 16, 2011. Crews began construction on the east side of Elliott Avenue West in July 2011 with construction moving into Myrtle Edwards Park in late August. Construction will be completed in spring 2012.

During construction pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers should expect the following:

  • 3rd Ave West from W. Harrison St. to Elliott Ave W will be closed to through traffic. Local traffic and access to parking garages and lots will be accommodated.
  • W Thomas St between Elliott Ave W and 3rd Ave W will be closed to through traffic. Local traffic and access to parking garages and lots will be accommodated.
  • Removal of parking along 3rd Ave W and a portion of W Thomas St both east and west of Elliott Ave W for the duration of the construction project.
  • Temporary lane closures on Elliott Avenue West outside the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Temporary sidewalk closures, parking restrictions and pedestrian detours.
  • Noise and vibration during certain construction activities.


Project Benefits

Improves safety

  • Provides a dedicated structure for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling to Myrtle Edwards Park and connects communities on the other side of the BNSF railroad tracks to Myrtle Edwards Park.

Supports the Walk, Bike Ride initiative

  • Helps make walking and biking the easiest ways to get around Seattle.

Connects future bicycle routes

  • Connects the Myrtle Edwards Park bicycle trail to the Lake to Bay Loop, a future bicycle route linking the Seattle waterfront with South Lake Union and Seattle Center.

Project History

When the bicycle/pedestrian overpass project kicked off in the fall of 2003 construction was scheduled for mid 2005, but further analysis of the area determined that Elliott Ave W was also a major barrier to park access.  Discussion centered on whether or not the structure should cross Elliott Avenue West, as well as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks. The safety of pedestrians and cyclists along the access routes was at the heart of the debate. A study ensued as construction plans were bumped to 2006. Public debates continued as did the environmental research, agency reviews and an extensive permitting process (for access to build in the area). Ultimately the scope was expanded to address the Elliott Ave W safety issue.

Needless to say, costs for materials rose sharply during that time and the project, already in need of extra funds had to cease for lack of enough dedicated dollars.  Public support for this overpass has been quite positive, including the Queen Anne and Belltown neighborhoods who had worked hard to ensure that this project was kept alive and that additional funding was provided through Parks Levies and the city budget process.

That said the project is now fully funded: the W. Thomas Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Overpass Project was selected and included on a list of other competitive projects to receive supplemental funds administered by the Puget Sound Regional Council

Environmental Considerations

The City conducted an environmental review of the West Thomas Street Overpass Project and determined the project will not have significant adverse environmental impacts.  A State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Nonsignificance with conditions was issued July 19, 2010. The environmental review considered potential impacts related to ground disturbance, air and water quality, plants and wildlife, hazardous materials, shorelines, land use, transportation, and cultural and historic resources, among other things.  Seattle Department of Planning & Development issued a Shoreline Substantial Development permit on September 10, 2010, which included SEPA conditions to ensure that there are no adverse environmental impacts.

The project was determined to be categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration on December 28, 2010. 

If you have any questions regarding this process please feel free to contact:  Mark Mazzola, environmental coordinator, at 206-733-9117 or

Public Outreach

We are working 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.

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

Questions or Comments?

Contact the SDOT Project Team:
Kit Loo
Project Manager

Maribel Cruz
Outreach Coordinator

Project Funding

The project is funded by Park Levy I and II, Puget Sound Regional Council Grant Funds, King County Grant Funds, and private donations. The total project cost for the West Thomas Street Overpass is expected to be approximately $10 M. 


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