LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK | Come be among the first to walk, roll, or bike across the new Fairview Ave N Bridge!

We are excited to announce that the Fairview Ave N Bridge is reopening on Sunday, July 25! You can walk, bike, and roll on the new bridge at an opening ceremony on the morning of Saturday, July 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. before the bridge is reopened to people driving. 

THANK YOU!

The new bridge is one of the most significant investments of your Levy to Move Seattle tax dollars. It restores a critical connection between Eastlake and South Lake Union the gateways to Downtown and makes it easier and safer for everyone to travel along Fairview Ave N.

Rebuilding this aging and vulnerable bridge was included as part of the Levy to Move Seattle package passed by voters in 2015. The Levy provided $27 million for this project, and also funds the City’s bridge seismic retrofit program. We also received funding from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Local Bridge Program.

We also thank you, your Eastlake neighbors, and local businesses, for your patience and resilience during bridge construction.

Built in 1948, the old Fairview Ave N Bridge was Seattle’s last wooden bridge supporting a public road.

Fairview Ave N Bridge maintenance in 1962. Photo Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives.

Located between South Lake Union and Eastlake near the historic Lake Union Steam Plant building, the bridge was closed in September 2019 to be demolished and replaced because it was in poor condition and didn’t meet today’s seismic safety standards. The timber posts holding up the western half of the old bridge were decaying, and concrete structure stabilizing the eastern half of the bridge was cracked.

In addition to seismic and structural safety improvements, the newly built bridge offers improvements for all travelers.

The new Fairview Ave N Bridge, almost complete! Photo Credit: SDOT.

Unlike the old bridge, there are now sidewalks on both sides of the street and a protected 12-foot two-way bike lane on the west side of the bridge overlooking the water. The floating walkway along the water below the west side of the bridge has also been restored, with three new lookout platforms overlooking Lake Union.

The bridge is also a key part of the recently approved future route of King County Metro Rapid Ride J. This route will connect people to thousands of jobs in several of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods including Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, and the University District. Over the next few years, SDOT and Metro plan to make other major investments along the rest of this route to improve transit travel times, reliability, and capacity.

The brand-new bridge has been built to robust seismic and structural safety standards, and is a good example of one of the ways we take care of Seattle’s 124 bridges. We have completed 32 seismic retrofit projects on other bridges over the past 30 years and plan to complete nine more projects by 2025. Seismic retrofit projects bring older bridges up to modern earthquake safety standards and go above and beyond the ongoing maintenance, inspections, preservation, and basic repairs which we perform continually to keep Seattle bridges safe and stable. 

The work is complete just as Seattle is reopening and in time for tens of thousands of people to return to work in South Lake Union and downtown.

The new bridge benefits all travelers, especially bus and bike riders who will both experience faster and more direct trips now that the long-term detour has ended. It is important that returning workers choose to commute into downtown without driving alone to avoid increasing daily congestion and to help keep freight moving.

Bridge construction is wrapping up this week, but we’ll continue working on related improvements now that there is less detour traffic on nearby streets. This work includes replacing a traffic circle at Yale Ave N and Aloha St with a permanently raised intersection, and building a new traffic signal at Aloha St and Eastlake Ave E.

NOTE: While Fairview Ave N was closed during construction, we allowed temporary street parking on Fairview Ave N between Yale Ave N and Aloha St. The area has been returned to a No Parking Zone and will become a travel lane when the bridge reopens this weekend. Any cars parked in the No Parking Zone must be moved by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 23 to avoid being towed.

Thank you for making this new bridge a reality! Enjoy!