LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK | We’re in the home stretch! The Fairview Ave N Bridge Replacement is scheduled to open this summer.

Fairview Bridge under construction. Photo Credit: SDOT.

We are delivering on our commitments to voters, thanks to your Levy to Move Seattle tax dollars at work. In February, we reached the major milestone of completing the construction of the Fairview Ave N Bridge (Fairview bridge) deck and removing construction cranes from project site. We’re excited for the new bridge and hope you are too! 

One of three new lookout points along the west side of the new bridge for people to enjoy Lake Union. Photo Credit: SDOT 

The new Fairview bridge supports travel across all modes. The bridge includes three traffic lanes (one southbound, two northbound), sidewalks on both sides, a 12-foot two-way protected bike lane on the water side, and three new lookout points so you can take in sweeping views of Lake Union. The bridge is designed and built to modern seismic standards.  

Did you know the original Fairview bridge was the last wooden bridge on a major road in Seattle? 

1924 Fairview Bridge City crews paving. Photo Credit: MOHAI.
1924 Fairview Bridge City crews paving. Photo Credit: MOHAI. 

On the original bridge, the timber piles were decaying, the concrete girders were cracked, and the bridge didn’t meet modern seismic standards. This means that the Fairview bridge replacement was a critical public safety project, and replacing it was part of our commitment to voters through the Levy to Move Seattle passed by voters in 2015. The voter-approved Levy provides $27 million of the $52 million total funding for this project. 

Not only is safety improved, but the new bridge supports future RapidRide J and protected bike lane investments and connects people to thousands of jobs in South Lake Union. Along with other projects funded by the Levy across the City, we’re investing in the future and helping achieve or vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.  

As you may imagine, building in the water is challenging – especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were a few surprises along the way! 

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We started the project with a couple of unexpected discoveries, including multiple obstructions as we drill over 180 feet into Lake Union, like an old sunken ship and a Harley Davidson!  

Environmental permits and expectations were very complicated on this project and required coordination with multiple resource agencies and overlap. We met our commitment to protect the environment. However, this effort combined with unexpected repairs to fiber optic cables on the lake bottom and COVID-19-related construction material delivery delays mean we now expect to open the new bridge in summer 2021.  

A sunken Harley Davidson was discovered as our crews began under water drilling work in fall 2019. Photo Credit: SDOT. 

Thank you for your patience as we’ve worked to build the new Fairview Ave N bridge. As we enter the homestretch of this project, we want to share some of the major construction milestones we’ve accomplished in 2020!  


March 2020: Constructed temporary work trestle. 

Crews building temporary work trestle, a cross-braced framework that our crews had to build to create sufficient work space during construction.
Crews building temporary work trestle, a cross-braced framework that our crews had to build to create sufficient work space during construction. 

June 2020: Completed shaft construction. 


July 2020: Constructed bridge abutment (structure supporting bridge on either end) on the north end of the bridge. 

 


October 2020: Placed bridge support beams (girders) into their final positions. 

Crews installing rebar and preparing for bridge deck concrete paving.
Crews installing rebar and preparing for bridge deck concrete paving. 

November – December 2020: Installed reinforcing steel to support the bridge deck and began forming the bridge deck. 

Crews smoothing out concrete over the bridge deck.
Crews smoothing out concrete over the bridge deck. 

Most recently: we’ve just completed paving the surface of the bridge deck with concrete in early March! 

The Levy to Move Seattle Logo, which reads: This project is funded in part of in full by the 2015 voter-approved 9-year $930 million Levy to Move Seattle. The Levy provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for our growing city. Learn more at www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle. On the right, the Levy to Move Seattle logo has the words "The Levy to Move Seattle: Your tax dollars at work" and icons representing" Seattle streetcar, a truck a bus, a car, a bike, and a person walking.

We look forward to walking, rolling, biking, and taking transit over the bridge with you soon! Stay tuned and visit the project webpage for more project information and construction updates.