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The Waterfront’s Overlook Walk project construction soars to new heights!

View looking south at the Overlook Walk being constructed over the new elevated roadway north of Pike St in January 2023. Temporary false work bridges over the future northbound and southbound lanes. Photo credit: Waterfront Seattle

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Along the waterfront, much has changed since last summer, when the Waterfront Seattle team first began construction of the Overlook Walk project.

With many new elements of the waterfront currently under construction within previously existing work areas, it could be easy to miss the progress on the new elevated public park and pedestrian connection between the waterfront and Pike Place Market.

Construction progress to date

The Overlook Walk continues to reach new heights, nearly towering at its final 30 to 40-foot height, between the future promenade and MarketFront. The structure for the future elevated park, which is actually two different bridges next to each other to create one seamless connection, is quickly taking shape.

Thus far we have:

  • Built 17 multi-story concrete columns that will support the bridges
  • Placed pre-cast concrete beams
  • Installed shoring towers to support the false deck
  • Constructed the “false deck” creating a platform for workers and the installation of forms
  • Installed curved foam forms that were custom-made with a distinctive hourglass shape
  • Began placing concrete on the upper deck

In total, more than 836 tons of reinforcing steel or rebar will be inside the Overlook Walk structures! The animation below shows the transformation of the area north of Pike St, between July and December 2022. It helps visualize the complexity of constructing a 27,000-square-foot elevated park.

Aerial photos of Overlook Walk construction from July to December 2022. Photos courtesy of Tim Rice.

Coming soon

More visible change is right around the corner! The upper deck will look more like a park that you could see yourself enjoying or strolling through. Construction workers will install the final precast beams by hoisting them up using a 182-foot-tall crane. Several large concrete pours are also planned in early February. In order to achieve the curved shape of the Overlook Walk, foam forms were used in addition to typical wood forms, and put in place ahead of the concrete pours. These foam forms are custom-made and custom cut to sizes to match shipping and concrete placement schedules.

Foam form installation on the top deck of the bridge in November 2022. Photo credit: Waterfront Seattle

Installation of these forms began in fall 2022, with the first concrete pours for the north and south walls taking place in early 2023. The bottom deck, web walls, and top deck pours will follow soon after. If you’re curious about the concrete placement process, you can watch this video of the concrete placements on the south face of the bridge. 

Check out this video of a concrete pour after the foam forms have been placed on the south side of the upper deck in January 2023. Video credit: Waterfront Seattle

Constructing two bridge structures that will seamlessly become one elevated park is complex work. Add the fact that we are integrating Overlook Walk with the Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion’s publicly-accessible rooftop park and building over a street (both currently under construction), while keeping the waterfront open and accessible, and you’ve got a lot of complexity! The construction schedules and activities of these various elements of the new waterfront must be closely coordinated to allow all work to move forward. Fortunately, the Seattle Aquarium has been a great partner, committed to keeping both of these major projects moving forward.

The final product

Once the Overlook Walk is complete, waterfront visitors and neighbors will have a direct path between the Pike Place Market’s MarketFront and the Seattle waterfront.

“I can’t wait to stroll down from Pike Place Market, enjoying the view of Elliott Bay, people-watching along the way and arriving at the Waterfront and the Aquarium. Thank you to the Waterfront Seattle team for all your great work!”

– Greg Spotts, Director, Seattle Department of Transportation

Visitors will also be able to experience key features including a café, retail space, and a play area for families. View this fact sheet for more information on key Overlook Walk features.

The Overlook Walk is expected to open in early 2025.

Rendering of the completed Overlook Walk elevated structure, looking south. Please note the temporary support between the northbound and southbound lanes is removed in the final condition. Rendering credit: Waterfront Seattle

Project and Construction Manager spotlight: Jessica Murphy

Leading and managing the Overlook Walk project as part of the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects team is Jessica Murphy. Having started at the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) in 2005, Jessica has worked on increasingly large and complex projects at the City beginning with SDOT’s paving program, followed by the First Hill Street Car, and the Elliott Bay Seawall Projects. Her responsibilities on the Waterfront Seattle Program include Overlook Walk project management and overseeing the construction of all the Waterfront Seattle projects. What Jessica looks forward to the most about the Overlook Walk is running the stairs and enjoying the views from the top! 

SDOT Director Greg Spotts on a recent site tour with Waterfront Program Director Angela Brady and Construction Program Manager Jessica Murphy. Photo credit: Greg Spotts

“I could not be more proud of Jessica and our entire Waterfront Seattle team, including our incredibly talented contractors, for the day-to-day work they do to ensure the successful delivery of our new Waterfront. The Overlook Walk is one of the crown jewels of our work effort and, once complete, is sure to become one of the City’s most celebrated locations.”

Angela Brady, Director, Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects