SEATTLE — A much-needed improvement is on the way for a major artery through South Lake Union.
Half of the Fairview Avenue North Bridge is built on aging timber piles, which the city says are not seismically safe.
The Seattle Department of Transportation says the oldest portion of the current bridge was built more than 65 years ago and is the last timber-supported bridge on a major road in Seattle.
Those concerns are what prompted the city to decide the bridge on Fairview Avenue North between Galer and Nelson should be replaced.
The new bridge will also have pilings that extend down to glacial till. The current ones only go as deep as the landfill, and in an earthquake, that ground could give way.
"In the early 20th century, there's always been something here. Different types of trestles, there's remnants of it underneath the bridge right now, so a lot of that is going to be removed,” said Seattle Department of Transportation engineer Marilyn Yim. "We're going to have sidewalks on both sides and the sidewalk on the water side is going to have three viewpoints where you can enjoy the view."
The bridge will be closed for about 19 months and will reopen in 2021. The city says Aloha Street will be repaved and Eastlake will be an alternative.
No closure date has been set, but SDOT says preparation work for the Aloha Street intersection detour will start this summer before the full bridge closure.
Nearby businesses may be affected by the closure and commuters will have a new signal pattern to follow.
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