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New Federal Grant for East Marginal Way S Corridor Improvement Project to Significantly Improve Safety and Mobility in Key Industrial Corridor

Editor’s Note (November 19, 2021): The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) today announced nearly $1 billion in federal grant awards for America’s infrastructure, through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program. The USDOT announcement can be found here:

East Marginal Way S. Shows the road and freight.
East Marginal Way S. Photo: SDOT

Under the Biden Administration, SDOT has now received over $135 million in federal funding for key city projects

After significant advocacy by local officials and advocates, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell announced that the East Marginal Way S Corridor Improvement project was awarded $20 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program. The RAISE grant will help improve mobility and safety along Seattle’s most important freight corridor as well as boost the regional and state economy. Funds will help people who drive, walk and bike travel safely to industrial and maritime jobs as well as employment sites in Downtown Seattle. Improving this highly-traveled multimodal corridor will also help accommodate larger and heavier truck traffic into the Port of Seattle and other maritime facilities.

Under Biden Administration and with the advocacy of the federal delegation, we now received over $135 million in federal funding for key city projects. This $20 million RAISE grant awarded today to the East Marginal Way S Corridor Improvement Project will fully fund the project and allow us to start construction at the end of 2022. Project completion is estimated for 2025. The grant funding will enable us to do both the safety improvements and the road reconstruction at the same time. This means that there will be fewer disruptions to freight traffic during construction.

Currently, East Marginal Way S faces three primary transportation challenges along the corridor:

1) Safety;

2) Mobility and increasing demand; and

3) Deterioration of pavement.

The RAISE grant will now help improve operational and safety deficiencies by widening and strengthening the road to accommodate larger and heavier truck traffic, provide access to freight terminals at the Port of Seattle for the trucks that use the corridor each day, and helping to reduce congestion with improved traffic signals.

Below are some of the improvements in the East Marginal Way S Corridor Improvement project:

  • Reconstructing the East Marginal Way S roadway and upgrading the route to Heavy Haul Network standards along a 1.1-mile segment from a point south of S Massachusetts St to S Spokane St to enhance efficient freight flow.
  • Constructing a 2-way protected bike lane along a 1.4-mile segment between S Atlantic St and S Spokane St to increase visibility, protect the approximately 1,000 people who ride bikes on this corridor each day, and work toward our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.
  • Rebuilding the sidewalk on the west side of East Marginal Way S adjacent to the roadway reconstruction to provide a safe, accessible route for people walking.
  • Constructing new traffic signals that will work dynamically together to enhance safety and improve traffic flow at several of the City’s busiest freight intersections.
Graphic that shows the project limits and work for East Marginal Way Corridor Improvement Project
East Marginal Way S Corridor Improvement Project Image: SDOT

Thanks to the coordinated effort by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, City of Seattle, Port of Seattle, State of Washington, and public advocacy groups, this grant will fill a transportation need and provide enormous benefits to both the region and the state.

The East Marginal Way S Corridor Improvement Project was identified as a priority by Seattle voters when they approved the 2015 Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. Through this property tax measure, Seattle residents are setting aside $7.1 million for the project. These commitments reflect the importance of this project to our economy, family wage job creation, and improved safety in the corridor. The project has also received funds from the Port of Seattle, Washington State Transportation Improvement Board, and the Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board.

Project Overview

As Seattle grows, improvements to freight mobility are essential to promote regional and international economic competitiveness. East Marginal Way S is a major freight corridor that provides access to the Port of Seattle terminals, rail yards, industrial businesses and the regional highway system, and between local Manufacturing and Industrial Centers (MIC’s). It is also a designated Heavy Haul Route, critical last-mile connector and vital route for over-sized trucks or those carrying flammable cargo. In addition, the corridor provides a major connection for people who bike between the West Seattle Bridge Trail, downtown, and the SODO neighborhood.


“With East Marginal Way S greatly deteriorated and congested both by freight traffic and residents impacted by the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, this project will give this critical freight corridor a much-needed facelift. It will allow East Marginal Way S to handle heavy truck traffic between port terminals, SoDo railyards and businesses, and I-5, reducing congestion in SoDo while providing a direct connection to the newly renovated Terminal 5 via the lower West Seattle Bridge.” – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

“Thank you to our many federal partners especially Secretary Buttigieg and Senator Maria Cantwell for supporting the full development of East Marginal Way S and recognizing that this project is a top priority for our city, region, and state. East Marginal Way S is not only a vital freight corridor, it also provides a key connection for pedestrians and bicyclists where few alternatives exist. Separating modes safely within the same corridor aligns with the City’s Vision Zero goals and will make safe and efficient use of this vital area. Our partnership with the Biden administration and federal delegation has led to an enormous opportunity for jobs and investments in infrastructure.” –Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan

“The RAISE grant will improve mobility and safety on East Marginal Way S, a critical last-mile connector and vital route for freight. It will help many of the people who work or need to access the state’s largest concentration of industrial and maritime jobs by car, bike or on foot. Thank you to our regional, state, and federal partners for advocating and addressing this great transportation need as we use investment in our transportation infrastructure to advance our community and economic recovery.” – SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe

“We very much appreciate your continued support for the East Marginal project and for all you do in helping improve safety, freight movement and industrial activity in our trade dependent economy.” – Stephen P. Metruck, Executive Director Port of Seattle

“Thanks to the RAISE grant this catalyst project will help get thousands of people feel safe commuting by bike instead of by car, making port and industrial traffic more efficient. Completing this critical link in bicycle infrastructure for bicyclists traveling between the city and our neighborhood businesses and city parks will be a tremendous help in promoting bicycle transportation with maximized safety and inclusiveness.  The importance of establishing an “all ages, all abilities” bicycle route between West Seattle and the rest of the Seattle cannot be over stated.” – Paul Dieter, West Seattle Bike Connections