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Seattle's $756M Waterfront Park Project Presses Forward

Tue May 03, 2022 - West Edition #10
CEG


In the making since 2009, the 
project includes the construction of a park promenade, a new surface street along Alaskan Way and an elevated connector from Pike Place Market to the waterfront.
In the making since 2009, the project includes the construction of a park promenade, a new surface street along Alaskan Way and an elevated connector from Pike Place Market to the waterfront.
In the making since 2009, the 
project includes the construction of a park promenade, a new surface street along Alaskan Way and an elevated connector from Pike Place Market to the waterfront. Even though the project faced delay due to the concrete strike, city officials still expect Seattle’s Waterfront  Park to be completed on schedule in 2024. The construction of Colman Dock is expected to be completed by crews in late 2023. Currently, construction of Overlook Walk, a new elevated pedestrian connection between Pike Place Market and the waterfront, is ongoing. Construction of the Pier 58 rebuild, currently known as Waterfront Park, which will be redesigned to create a larger public space and improve access, safety and flexibility to the pier, is anticipated to begin in fall 2022. 
The 2023 construction schedule includes construction of pedestrian improvements to some east/west streets in the heart of Pioneer Square; Marion Street Bridge construction; Park Promenade construction; and improvements on Pike and Pine streets and east/west streets. The project includes funding from the city, state, a local improvement district tax and philanthropic donations. Alaskan and Elliott ways roadway and bridge is expected to be complete and open to vehicle traffic by the end of 2022.

According to Friends of Waterfront Seattle Executive Director Thatcher Bailey, the $756 million project is still on track for a 2024 finish despite delays over a concrete strike in King County.

The massive endeavor, which has been in the making since 2009, includes the construction of a park promenade along the water, a new surface street along Alaskan Way, an elevated connector from Pike Place Market to the waterfront and better east-west connects between downtown and Elliot Bay. These efforts aim to connect neighborhoods on the waterfront, increasing walkability and boosting downtown business. The project includes funding from the city, state, a local improvement district tax and philanthropic donations.

"We got a little bit behind schedule because of the concrete strike but ideally the whole thing will be ready for use by the public, the whole park by the end of 2024," Bailey said in a comment to King5.com.

Currently, construction of Overlook Walk, a new elevated pedestrian connection between Pike Place Market and the waterfront, is ongoing. Construction of Pier 58 rebuild, currently known as Waterfront Park, which will be redesigned to create a larger public space and improve access, safety and flexibility to the pier, is anticipated to begin in fall 2022. Alaskan and Elliott ways roadway and bridge is expected to be complete and open to vehicle traffic by the end of 2022. Construction of a new Union Street Pedestrian Bridge is anticipated to be completed in late 2022.

"How do you kind of reconnect all of downtown to the Waterfront?" Bailey said. "How do you bring us back to the nature that so defines life in Seattle? How do you reconnect us to the simple fact of having these views, places to touch and see the water, be near the water? And you can look at the cityscape there and see ways in which you're seeing the city that were never visible before when the viaduct was there.

"With the viaduct in place, a lot of people never even thought about going to the waterfront," Bailey added. "People would come here but they tended to be cruise ship visitors, tourists, people from out of town — and often when people from Seattle thought about going to the water, this wasn't where they were going. The extent to which this park is a success is the extent to which people around the city realize this is a place to come and visit."

The 2023 construction schedule includes:

  • Construction of pedestrian improvements to some east/west streets in the heart of Pioneer Square, which will reconnect this historic neighborhood back to the city's gateway to the Puget Sound, is anticipated to begin in early 2023;
  • Construction of improvements on Pike and Pine streets, which will set the stage for a safe and vibrant pedestrian experience from Capitol Hill to Pike Place Market, are anticipated to begin in early 2023;
  • Marion Street Bridge construction expected to be complete in mid 2023;
  • Park Promenade expected to be complete in fall 2023.
  • Improvements on Pike and Pine streets and east/west streets in Pioneer Square expected to be complete in late 2023;
  • Colman Dock construction is expected to be complete in late 2023.

The Park Promenade is expected to be complete by 2024, however, that benchmark was in question due to the concrete strike in King County. But on April 8, 2022, the Teamsters Local 174 union announced concrete drivers would return to work on Monday, April 11 while negotiations continue.

"We look forward to seeing larger concrete deliveries return to the site, although we anticipate it could be a few weeks before we see concrete more regularly," a statement read on the official project website. "We are now actively working to schedule long-awaited deliveries for items critical to our construction and are working to assess the overall program delay impacts, as well as potential mitigation strategies."

Previous Construction Phases

In 2019, the Alaskan Way Viaduct removal began. Work on the two-way transit corridor on Columbia Street began in August 2019. Plantings for Habitat Beach, the new intertidal area between Colman Dock and Pier 48, were completed in November 2019. Work on the new Alaskan Way began in the footprint of the demolished viaduct in November 2019.

In early 2020, the two-way transit corridor on Columbia Street opened and the newly rebuilt Pier 62 opened.

In 2021, removal of Pier 58 was completed. Construction of a new pedestrian bridge, stairs and an elevator on Union Street from Western Avenue to Alaskan Way began to take shape, resulting in new traffic and transit lanes on Alaskan Way between S. King and Union streets. Construction of the park promenade, a landscaped walking space along the water and piers, and bike path, between the park promenade and road, began in late 2021. The portion of Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge that crosses Alaskan Way began its reconstruction in late 2021 to improve an essential pedestrian connection to Colman Dock.




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