The Lander St Bridge project – two decades in the making – has finally come to life! The bridge opens at 6 AM on Oct. 7.

We held a small ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the Lander St Bridge!

Summary

  • After years of planning, collaboration, and partnership, the Lander St Bridge is a reality – which means, among much more, you can say goodbye to over 4.5 hours per day of idling vehicles along S Lander St. The bridge will open at 6 AM on Oct. 7.
  • The completion of the Lander St Bridge symbolizes the big things we can accomplish when we all come together across the region, interests, industries, and modes. 
  • S Lander St is an essential east-west connection in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood, literally bridging the multiple railroad tracks that divide the direct connection between 1st Ave S and 4th Ave S arterial streets. 
  • Before the bridge, the S Lander St configuration along this essential connection didn’t work well for overall safety; for people walking, rolling, or biking; for freight travel; or for the environment.
  • As a result, partners at all levels of government and local advocates identified a need for a bridge over the railroad tracks on S Lander St between 1st Ave S and 4th Ave S. The bridge is a huge improvement!
  • This project was a priority for – and has widespread support from – people all over the community. Funding was a collective, collaborative effort, and the project was completed within the budget we had.

Say goodbye to over 4.5 hours of idling vehicles each day along S Lander St! After years of planning, collaboration, and partnership, the Lander St Bridge is a reality. The bridge will open at 6 AM on Oct. 7.

Prior to the Lander St Bridge, the road had to be closed over 100 times on a typical day for train crossings, leading to travel delays, lost revenues, increased idling and carbon dioxide emissions, and safety risks – especially for people walking, rolling, and biking.

From federal to local funding partners and advocates to the Levy to Move Seattle, it took a village to deliver this brand-new bridge, which is now open to people walking, rolling, biking, and driving.

The completion of the Lander Street Bridge symbolizes the big things we can accomplish when we all come together across the region, interests, industries, and modes.

The Lander St Bridge viewed from above when it was almost complete.

It is also a clear example of what we at SDOT and your tax dollars through the Levy to Move Seattle can accomplish when given the resources and funding needed to deliver large-scale capital projects. We are so proud to add this to the list of improvements we delivered as a result of the commitment voters and taxpayers made with the Levy to Move Seattle.

This is not only a massive safety improvement for everyone walking, rolling, biking, and driving – who previously had to cross some very busy train tracks – but it’s also an incredible boost to our local economy. The Lander St Bridge significantly improves travel efficiency along a key freight and maritime corridor, just in time for the opening of Terminal 5 next spring.

Ultimately, with the proper resources, funding, and support, we at SDOT can and will continue to deliver large-scale projects like the Lander St Bridge. We’re seeing this come to life with our work on the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge as we work as rapidly as possible, in partnership with stakeholders from across sectors and the region, to Reconnect West Seattle and ensure safe crossings across the Duwamish.

The completion of the Lander Street Bridge is a huge accomplishment for the region, but also for SDOT. This is a cornerstone Levy to Move Seattle deliverable, creating transformational change in SODO. I’m so proud of the many people who’ve worked for years to turn this idea into a reality that will positively impact so many and greatly improve safety. Above all, this is an example what SDOT can do, and the scale of projects we can deliver under budget, to build a safer, more livable, and just city for all Seattleites.

Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation

S Lander St is an essential east-west connection in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood, literally bridging the multiple railroad tracks that divide the direct connection between 1st Ave S and 4th Ave S arterial streets.

In other words, it’s really busy and really important! Prior to the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in March 2020, the street served over 13,000 vehicles (approximately 16% of which were trucks), 1,400 people walking/rolling, and 100 people biking each day. (See this video for what that looked like!). Many people walking/rolling are traveling to and from the adjacent SODO Link Light Rail station – where over 2,500 boardings occur each weekday, on average.

Before the bridge, the S Lander St configuration along this essential connection didn’t work well for overall safety; for people walking, rolling, or biking; for freight travel; or for the environment.

Here are some of the things we sought to tackle with the new bridge!

  • Traffic & Delays: Prior to the Lander St Bridge, the road had to be closed over 100 times per day for train crossings – or over 4.5 hours per day! This led to travel delays, lost revenues, increased idling, carbon dioxide emissions, and safety risks.
  • Safety: Safety risks were especially high for people walking, rolling, and biking. This crossing ranked in the top 0.5% nationwide for highest risk at-grade crossings by the Federal Rail Administration. Since 2011, three people have lost their lives at this location as a result of train impact. The new Lander St Bridge is also right next to the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) administration building; it will help support and protect SPS families and employees as they travel to and from this area once the building reopens.
  • Supporting Future Growth: As our community continues its rapid growth and rail operations in the area expand in the coming years, the S Lander St “bottleneck” threatened to put the Pacific Northwest’s economic vitality at risk – which, in one way or another, affects all of us.

Our maritime industry generates nearly $38B in economic impact for the state and supports tens of thousands of family-wage jobs and is dependent on strategic investments like the Lander Street Bridge in the movement of goods to and from Port of Seattle and NWSA terminals.  With transportation assets like the Lander Street Bridge, we are able to improve freight mobility and access to our gateway, making our region more competitive in the global economy.

Peter Steinbrueck, Port of Seattle Commissioner
In May 2018, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the breaking of ground on the Lander St Bridge Project. Photo Credit: Jeanne Clark

Because of all of this, partners at all levels of government and local advocates identified a need for a bridge over the railroad tracks on S Lander St. between 1st Ave S and 4th Ave S. Here’s why the Lander St Bridge is a huge improvement!

The Lander Street Bridge will literally unite the two sides of our district and improve the movement of people and goods throughout SODO and throughout the region. The SODO BIA strongly supported this project from its inception and we are excited to see the positive impacts this bridge will have in our district.

Erin Goodman, Executive Director of SODO BIA
  • Safety for everyone – especially people walking, rolling, and biking: The Lander St Bridge is critical to maintaining a safe vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian and train crossing on this very busy freight route.  The project increases safety by separating trains (below the bridge) from people driving, walking and riding bikes (over the bridge). It also ensures emergency responders have efficient, un-impeded access at this crossing, and are never delayed by trains passing through.
    • The north side of the bridge features a 14-foot walking/rolling/biking path that is physically separated from the road. Entrances to the bridge approaches will also include new curb ramps that support use by people of all ages and abilities.
  • Access and mobility for everyone – including freight, transit and more: The Lander St Bridge supports the freight and maritime community and businesses, while enhancing mobility in SODO and Seattle at large. The bridge provides access between regional transit hubs – like the SODO Link Light Rail station and various connected bus lines – and employment centers in downtown and SODO. 
    • Keeping freight, transit, and other vehicles moving through SODO is important to our local and regional economy. Freight and transit – along with people driving, walking, rolling, and biking – no longer have to wait at the train crossing. Trains will no longer be delayed due to collisions at the crossing.
Joe Laubach at the Lander St Bridge during construction in summer 2020. Photo Credit: Joe Laubach.

I am excited to see the new Lander Street Bridge is now open to bicycles and pedestrians. I’ve already used the bridge to connect my office in the port to the post office in SODO. The Lander Street Bridge will provide faster and safer connections for freight movement, transit, cars, and people walking and biking.

Joe Laubach, Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee

This project was a priority for – and has widespread support from – people all over the community.

The Lander St Bridge project is a priority for the city, state and region. The bridge has support from the manufacturing and industrial community, nearby businesses, commuters, community groups, and Mayor Jenny Durkan. Senator Maria Cantwell has also supported the project for years. In fact, $45 million to fund the project was provided by a federal freight-mobility fund that she sponsored.

In 2015, I brought then-Transportation Secretary Foxx to Seattle to tour Lander Street and announce the release of our first-ever National Freight Strategic Plan. Months later, legislation I authored, called the FAST Act, was signed into law. It created the first-ever multimodal freight program to fund critical projects throughout the United States, with Lander Street as one of the first recipients. I’m proud this project will serve as a model for so many communities across the United States. Having this grade separation is going to increase safety, cut down on congestion, and improve freight mobility to help our Washington state products get to market. Because we know when it comes to freight, it can’t wait if we’re going to be competitive.

Senator Maria Cantwell

Speaking of funding – it was a collective, collaborative effort, and the project was completed within the budget we had.

The bridge is complete thanks to federal, state and partnership funds, coupled with additional funds from Seattle City Council and the Levy to Move Seattle. Levy dollars helped realize this decades-long vision for mobility in SODO. Along with your tax dollars at work through the Levy, grants and partnership funding makes our money go further and achieve these important, city-of-the-future deliverables – which support our growth as a city.  This is also one way we’re showing our commitment to making investments to support all types of transportation with the Levy.

It’s important to us to recognize all of our funding partners:

The Lander St Bridge project was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, SDOT, the Port of Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council, BNSF Railway, the Levy to Move Seattle, and the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board; it was also supported by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

In yet another milestone – the Lander St Bridge is also the first of three major Levy-funded bridges to be completed. We’ve also been working on replacing the Fairview Ave N Bridge and the Northgate Pedestrian and Bike Bridge. Further, because we delivered the Lander St Bridge project under budget, we have been able to reallocate that funding to the Northgate Pedestrian and Bike Bridge and Madison Bus Rapid Transit.

Thank you to everyone who made this project a reality!