SDOT awarded nearly $15 million in federal funding to help revive three city bridges

The Jose Rizal Bridge at night. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives Digital Collection 77699.

Today, we announced we are receiving nearly $15 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The grants will help revive three bridges: S Spokane Street Viaduct, Jose Rizal Bridge, and 15th Ave NW and Leary Way NW Bridge. Thanks to the leadership of our federal delegation and significant support from local officials and advocates that created the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funds are available to improve the condition of our bridges as well as the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of people and freight over bridges. These are the first grants we have received from the program.

Funding for these bridges come from the Federal Highway Administration Bridge Improvement Program which is funded in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and then passed to the WSDOT’s Local Bridge Program. Overall, we have received over $150 million in federal funding for essential city projects under the Biden Administration.

The average age of bridges in Seattle is nearly 60 years old, with some bridges built over a century ago. While we already prioritize rehabilitating and preserving city bridges, these federal grants are a significant help in maintaining our aging infrastructure.

In addition to inspections and proactive maintenance, we think of new and innovative ways to better preserve our bridges so they can operate further into the future. Examples include spraying down city bridges to cool them to reduce the risk that they will get stuck on extremely hot days and taking steps to better prepare our bridges for future earthquakes through our bridge seismic retrofit program. We’ve completed 32 bridge seismic retrofit projects over the past 30 years and have plans to complete nine more projects by 2025.

Below are the preventative maintenance projects for each bridge selected and the amount of federal funding received:

  • S Spokane Street Viaduct (connects the West Seattle Bridge to I-5 and runs above S Spokane St in the SoDo neighborhood) – $5 million – repairs to the existing deck
  • Jose Rizal Bridge (North segment – 12th Ave S over S Dearborn Street and I-90) – $5 million – remove existing lead paint and repaint the bridge
  • 15th Ave NW and Leary Way NW Bridge in Ballard – $4.5 million – earthquake safety upgrades (*note: this is adjacent to the Ballard Bridge. The 15th Avenue NW and Leary Way NW Bridge is the bridge that vehicles continue onto.)
Looking up at the S Spokane St Viaduct at 4th Ave S. The bridge is in the center of the photo, with cars traveling below on 4th Ave S, and a green light traffic signal.
Looking up at the S Spokane St Viaduct at 4th Ave S. Photo credit: Google Maps.
The 15th Ave NW and Leary Way NW Bridge. The bridge is in the center of the photo, with cars traveling below. Street signs and red traffic signals are also present in the middle of the photo.
The 15th Ave NW and Leary Way NW Bridge. Photo credit: Google Maps.

We own 125 bridges and nearly 1,500 roadway structures such as retaining walls, stairways, and underground support walls. These structures require ongoing maintenance, inspections, monitoring, and preservation to remain safe and stable. We are committed to continuing the comprehensive and proactive asset preservation program that maximizes the life of our critical infrastructure so we can count on them to remain in good shape for a long time.

Quotes:

“Thank you to our federal partners for sharing our commitment to modernizing our aging bridges and infrastructure. We know successfully restoring aging infrastructure requires urgency, thoughtful planning, and investment. This is the kind of targeted funding that helps us strengthen and improve the bridges that all types of travelers, from motorists to bicyclists and pedestrians, can rely on to get around our city. We’ll continue to design and pursue major projects and needed investments that improve our infrastructure systems, ensuring Seattle has a safe, efficient, and reliable transportation system for all.”

– Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

SDOT is responsible for nearly 320 bridges. We build our bridges to the highest safety standards, and once constructed, crews continue to inspect, monitor, preserve, and maintain them to keep them safe and stable. Bridges are important for all kinds of travelers, and so SDOT will keep making proactive investments to ensure we can count on these bridges to serve our community for generations. We thank our federal delegation and WSDOT for helping us continue and expand this important work.”

– Kristen Simpson, Interim Director, Seattle Department of Transportation

Mobility is one of SDOT's core values and goals.
Mobility is one of SDOT’s core values and goals. Graphic: SDOT
Safety is also one of SDOT's core values and goals.
Safety is also one of SDOT’s core values and goals. Graphic: SDOT
Help us imagine the future of transportation in Seattle — visit our Seattle Transportation Plan Online Engagement Hub today! A graphic shows images of people traveling around the city in many modes of travel, with large text encouraging readers to help imagine the future of transportation in Seattle.
Help us imagine the future of transportation in Seattle — visit our Seattle Transportation Plan Online Engagement Hub today! Graphic credit: SDOT