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We’ve applied for nearly $50 million in new federal grants to improve travel safety and support our bridges


  • We recently applied for several grants to take advantage of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
  • The first is a $30 million grant to support safer streets in Seattle, via USDOT’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program. This federal funding, in addition to $7.5 million in City funds, would build projects to advance our Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Click here to read more.
  • We also applied for a $15.9 million grant to upgrade and preserve our three Ship Canal bridges – the Ballard, Fremont, and University bridges, through the USDOT’s Bridge Investment Program. Click here to read more.
  • Lastly, we applied for a $2.4 million federal grant to advance a planning study for the future replacement of the 4th/Argo Railyard Bridge, also through USDOT’s Bridge Investment Program. Click here to read more.

In tandem with yesterday’s budget announcement, we’re always looking for grant opportunities to fund our work.

“I’m proud of our team for pursuing every avenue to secure federal funding, particularly to advance our Vision Zero commitment to safety on our streets and invest in Seattle’s essential bridge infrastructure. I’m confident we’ve submitted strong, competitive proposals that highlight how we plan to center equity and meet the safety and mobility needs of all Seattleites.”

– Greg Spotts, Director, Seattle Department of Transportation

Safe Streets and Roads for All grant

We submitted a competitive application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program, funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This new grant program highlights the USDOT’s commitment to advancing what’s called the Safe System approach – a model that emphasizes roadway design and slower vehicle speeds as critical to achieving Vision Zero. This approach is deeply embedded in the new National Roadway Safety Strategy, and we’re embracing it here in Seattle in our efforts to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.  

The projects included in our application help advance these safety goals, while also centering equity to serve our most disadvantaged and disinvested communities. This includes providing greater support for people with disabilities or other mobility challenges.

A woman using a power wheelchair prepares to cross the street in Southeast Seattle on a sunny day. Cars and a yellow school bus travel on the street in the background, and several mature trees stand in the background.
A woman using a power wheelchair prepares to cross the street in Southeast Seattle on a sunny day. Photo: SDOT.

Our proposal focuses on implementing a full package of low-cost, high-impact strategies primarily in underserved communities, with a particular emphasis on the most vulnerable travelers – people walking, rolling, and biking. Applying these proven measures in the areas of highest need improves safety for all travelers across broad sections of the city.

Some examples of the types of safety projects included in our proposal:

  • Protected bicycle lanes
  • New sidewalks
  • Accessible pedestrian signals
  • Leading pedestrian intervals
  • Marked crosswalks
  • Traffic calming tools like speed cushions

The projects in our application are located on arterial streets where we see some of the most severe and highest number of serious injuries and fatal collisions.

You can find additional details in our grant proposal, including a map of projects on page 5.

Graphic highlighting safety as a core value and goal for SDOT. The word Safety is in large lettering, a yellow heart icon highlights the point, along with a brief description and the SDOT logo.
Graphic highlighting safety, which is one of our core values and goals. Graphic: SDOT.

Our work to provide equitable projects is guided by our Transportation Equity Framework, a document published in 2022 that was co-created over three years with a community Transportation Equity Workgroup. The projects included in our grant proposal help to advance the tactics identified in the equity framework’s implementation plan. Of the $37.5 million dollars of potential projects, 97% are proposed within underserved community census tracts in Seattle.

A graphic highlighting equity, including several hands pointed to the middle, and icons showing different modes of travel by people of all ages and abilities.
A graphic highlighting equity as a core value and goal for SDOT. The word Equity is in large lettering, along with an icon to show equity, a brief description, and the SDOT logo.
Graphics highlighting equity, which is one of our core values and goals that guides all of our work. Graphics: SDOT.

Ship Canal bridges – system upgrades

We own and operate three movable bridges across the Ship Canal – the Ballard, Fremont, and University bridges. Originally built in the 1910’s when the Ship Canal was created to connect the Puget Sound to Lake Washington, these bridges provide vital north-south connections across the canal to neighborhoods on both sides, carrying a combined 126,000 daily vehicles and approximately 4,500 bicyclists per day.

The $15.9 million federal grant would allow us to upgrade the operational systems of these three key bridges, which would improve their safety and reliability, extend their service life, and help reduce maintenance costs.

Specifically, the funding would support the following upgrades:

  • Improvements to bridge mechanical and electrical operating equipment
  • Installation of new warning gates, warning signals, and cameras to help bridge operators monitor and control traffic conditions on the bridge
Photos of the Ballard Bridge (left), Fremont Bridge (center) and University Bridge (right). The left photo has two cars and several boats in the background. The middle photo has the blue and orange paint of the Fremont Bridge. The right photo has the bridge with several boats passing nearby and blue water.
The Ballard Bridge (left), Fremont Bridge (center) and University Bridge (right). Photos: SDOT.

4th/Argo Railyard Bridge replacement planning study

Spanning the Argo Railyard in the Duwamish Manufacturing/Industrial Center, this bridge is an important connection for freight movement and for travelers in SODO, Georgetown, and Duwamish Valley communities. The bridge carries high volumes of commercial freight by truck and about 7,500 daily bus riders. We continue to look for opportunities to invest in the future of our bridge infrastructure, including leveraging federal funding.

This $2.4 million grant, if awarded, would advance planning efforts to help inform a future bridge replacement project. Future bridge replacement would provide for reliable travel for people walking, biking, riding transit, and driving in cars, as well as for freight trucks to access jobs and essential services. It would also protect efficient and cost-effective rail freight mobility for the railyard beneath the existing bridge.

A robust planning process that values and incorporates community and industrial stakeholder input is essential. This will ensure wise stewardship of public funds as we study future replacement.

Photo of the 4th Ave S Bridge over the Argo Rail Yard. A large truck carries cargo across the bridge. Several trains below also carrying cargo are on the left side of the photo. Blue skies are above.
The 4th Ave S Bridge over the Argo Rail Yard. Photo: SDOT.

Thank you for your interest as we pursue these federal grants and work to keep Seattle moving forward!