Groundbreaking for massive pedestrian bridge over I-5 to Northgate

SEATTLE — Officials marked the groundbreaking Wednesday of a massive, multimillion-dollar pedestrian bridge stretching over I-5 to connect Licton Springs to the Northgate area.

“We’re going to have great housing, great restaurants, (the) NHL facility,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said.

"It's great to be able to just cut across instead of having to go all the way around," North Seattle College student Zach Gadian said.

Gadian acknowledged some safety concerns about using the bridge at night.

“Definitely needs to be well lit,” he said. “I think if the bridge is designed where there’s a lot of open space around it, it’s kind of visible. Maybe one or two cameras, just for safety purposes.”

“If they have, like, somebody over there, like a security guard -- watching that area ... then that will help us feel a little more safer,” Satina Jackson, who works in the area, said.

KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon asked Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe about how the design of the bridge will address safety concerns.

"We'll have emergency call boxes along the bridge to help alert security and police if there is any challenge," he said, adding that he believes the number of people using the bridge will increase its safety.

Zimbabwe said there will be plenty of lighting and that the city plans to cut back trees in the area near the college, replacing them nearby at a 1 to 5 ratio.

Work is already underway on the Northgate side, and there are fences and signs marking the North Seattle side along North 100th Street. Clearing will begin there in a couple of weeks.

SDOT said the entire project will cost about $56 million, which includes design work, outreach and street improvements, with the bridge itself costing $27.5 million.

It’s expected to open in the fall of 2021, but it’s still unclear when the light rail at Northgate will start running.

“Is a matter of months between the two opening?” Sheldon asked.

"It'll be close," Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said, "but it won't be perfect."

Washington State Department of Transportation stated that construction will impact I-5 when it’s lifting sections of the bridge into place. It aims to have those closures overnight with plenty of warning ahead of time.