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Construction Begins on Ballard Bridge/15th Ave NW Paving, Safety, & Street Upgrades | LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK

Aerial view of the Leary Way Bridge and Ballard Bridge in the background, looking southeast. Photo credit: Luke Gardner

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  • Construction on the 15th Ave W/NW and Ballard Bridge Paving & Safety Project starts as early as July 8.
  • We’re improving 15th Ave W/NW between Ballard and Interbay. This includes paving the street, making it a smoother ride for buses, and adding a new traffic signal and other features to make walking, biking, and rolling safer.
  • This blog post will tell you what to expect during construction starting this summer.
  • The project includes important maintenance work on the Ballard Bridge. We need to conduct overnight southbound closures and lane reductions to complete maintenance and paving on the bridge. These will take place on certain weeknights starting as early as July 8.
  • We’ll also need to close the bridge in early fall to replace aging bridge parts and complete other work. Stay tuned for more information on detour routes and how to get around during the full bridge closures.
  • For the latest updates, visit our website and sign up for email updates.

Construction is starting along 15th Ave W/NW between Ballard and Interbay, with work scheduled to begin as soon as July 8.

This project will improve safety and mobility. We’re doing essential work to maintain and modernize the project area including the 107-year-old Ballard Bridge, ensuring it stays in good shape. Another goal is to make 15th Ave NW safer and friendlier for people walking, biking, and rolling.

Here are some of the improvements you can expect:

  • Repaved streets
  • Bridge maintenance and repairs
  • New signals and crosswalks
  • Transit upgrades
  • Landscaped medians
  • New ADA-accessible curb ramps
  • Better lighting

This project is funded by the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle.

Project timeline

  • We will start work as early as July 8.
  • Construction will happen in 2024 and continue through 2025.
  • A series of bridge closures planned this summer and early fall are detailed below.

What to expect during construction

In general, here’s what you can expect:

  • We will close some lanes and streets temporarily for drivers.
  • We will have temporary detours for vehicles and buses.
  • We will close and detour some sidewalks and crossings temporarily for people walking and rolling.
  • We will relocate some bus stops temporarily.
  • We will change on-street parking temporarily.
  • You will hear noise, see dust, and feel vibrations during work hours.
  • We will have construction staging and parking impacts near work sites.
  • We will need to do occasional night and weekend work.

Ballard Bridge overnight southbound closures (starting as early as July 8)

  • We will temporarily close southbound lanes on the Ballard Bridge overnight (Mondays through Thursdays after 10 PM) and reduce northbound travel to a single lane overnight to complete the bridge maintenance and paving work on the Ballard Bridge this summer, starting as early as July 8.
  • The Ballard Bridge has 2 lanes in each direction. A lane reduction in each direction may begin as early as 7 PM, and we expect to close all southbound lanes from 10 PM to 5 AM Monday through Thursday for approximately 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Detour routes are still being finalized, but we anticipate redirecting people driving to Aurora Ave N (SR 99). The Fremont Bridge is also available, although with limited capacity.
  • We expect to keep one side of the Ballard Bridge’s path open to people walking and biking, though access locations may shift as work takes place. Please follow all instructions and detour signs posted around the work zone.
  • To get the latest updates, you can sign up for our project email updates. We also encourage transit riders to follow King County Metro’s service advisories and sign up for transit alerts to stay informed.

Ballard Bridge full weekend closures (September/October 2024)

We also need to fully close the Ballard Bridge on select weekends in the early fall for maintenance to keep the 107-year-old bridge in good operating condition.

Potential weekend closure dates (to be confirmed and may change):

  • Friday evening, September 6, 2024, through Monday morning, September 9, 2024
  • Friday evening, September 13, 2024, through Monday morning, September 16, 2024
  • Friday evening, September 27, 2024, through Monday morning, September 30, 2024
  • Friday evening, October 4, 2024, through Monday morning, October 7, 2024
  • Friday evening, October 11, 2024, through Monday morning, October 14, 2024

We know these closures can be inconvenient. We’ll do our best to keep the bridge open for people walking, rolling, and biking unless it’s unsafe. We’ll share more details about detour routes and how to get around during these closures in a future update.

The construction timeline is always subject to change depending on weather conditions, materials availability, and other factors. We encourage you to share this post with your neighbors, co-workers, family members, and friends who live, work, and play along or near the 15th Ave W/NW corridor. They can also stay informed by signing up for email updates.    

Here’s what the project will build and the benefits it will bring.

Key features of the project

  • Paving 15th Ave W/NW from W Emerson St to NW 57th St, including the Ballard Bridge (excluding the movable section), to smooth trips for bus riders, freight, and drivers.
  • Maintenance on the 107-year-old Ballard Bridge, including replacing old expansion joints to keep the bridge strong and resilient against movement, temperature changes, and extreme weather conditions.
  • New red “bus only” lanes on parts of 15th Ave NW between NW Market St and the Leary Way Bridge to speed up RapidRide D bus trips during peak commute hours.
  • A new bike and pedestrian signal and crosswalk at NW 51st St to improve access and safety for people walking, rolling, and biking to Ballard businesses, attractions, and bus stops.
  • A new landscaped median on 15th Ave NW between NW 50th St and NW 54th St to calm traffic speeds and enhance travel safety.
  • Sidewalk upgrades and replacement of curb ramps meeting ADA accessibility standards.

Visit our website to see all the project details and planned improvements along 15th Ave W/NW.

We will also strengthen the Leary Way Bridge (just north of the Ballard Bridge) which will also make it safer during an earthquake.

A graphic rendering of the improved street along 15th Ave NW and NW 51st St. The graphic shows people walking and biking across the street, with trucks and buses traveling on the street, as well as large and small trees and vegetation.
Rendering of the improved street at 15th Ave NW and NW 51st St upon project completion. Graphic: SDOT

Project map

A map graphic showing the project area and key features to be completed as part of the work. The graphic includes the Ballard Bridge and 15th Ave NW, and shows upgrades such as new paving, new red markings for bus lanes, new landscaped median, and other elements.
Map of the project area and key improvements. Graphic: SDOT

To stay informed:

Other projects in the area

 We are working with other projects nearby to reduce travel impacts during construction.

To learn more about each project, use the links below:

Project funding

This work is funded by the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle and includes funding from the voter-approved Seattle Transit Measure. It is an important investment to maintain and modernize this busy area that connects vibrant neighborhoods and business districts on both sides of the Ship Canal.

The Leary Way Bridge seismic retrofit project also includes funding from a federal grant. We thank our federal partners for their support, including the Biden Administration, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

Thank you for your time and interest in this project as we move forward with construction.

What people are saying

“Safety and accessibility must be our top transportation priorities, and this transformative project on 15th Ave W/NW and the Ballard Bridge is an important step towards modernizing our infrastructure and achieving those goals. This project was guided by community input, and underscores our dedication to creating a resilient and equitable transportation network. By incorporating critical upgrades such as new traffic signals and dedicated transit lanes, we are ensuring that every resident and visitor can travel safely and efficiently regardless of how they get around.” – Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

“This project will maintain and modernize 15th Ave NW, keep the century-old Ballard Bridge in good working order, and make it easier to cross this busy street with a suite of safety features we co-developed with the community. We’re building improved crosswalks, a new traffic signal, and a new landscaped median to calm traffic. We’ll also repave the street and build better transit connections to help people travel in Interbay and Ballard, home of Seattle’s rich maritime history and some of the city’s best restaurants, shops, and music venues.” – Greg Spotts, Director, Seattle Department of Transportation

Thanks to the efforts of SDOT and the Mayor, the most dangerous arterial in Ballard, which has divided our community for decades, will soon be much safer for everyone. The new crossing of 15th Ave NW and the landscaped median align with Seattle’s Climate and Vision Zero Safety commitments, and make all that Ballard has to offer accessible by walking, biking, and sustainable public transit. The Ballard-Fremont Greenways looks forward to a reconnected Ballard so that our neighbors can safely get in a game of pickleball at Gilman Playfield, walk their kids to gymnastics practice, or bike with friends to a local brewery!– Ballard-Fremont Greenways