Thought the #SeattleSqueeze was over? Think again. Fairview Ave N bridge is closed for 18 months.

Getting around Seattle is about to get even more challenging because the Fairview Ave N bridge is closed for construction for 18 months. This bridge connecting South Lake Union to Eastlake is a major route in and out of downtown. Early Monday morning on September 23, crews closed Fairview Ave N just south of Eastlake Ave E in order to completely rebuild this aging bridge.

This project is a critical safety investment.

Decaying wooden posts and cracked concrete girders holding up the bridge.

Decaying wooden posts and cracked concrete girders holding up the bridge.

The 65-year-old Fairview Ave N bridge is the last wooden bridge on a major road in Seattle. While safe for travel today, the bridge doesn’t meet current seismic standards. The timber posts holding up the western half of the bridge are decaying and the concrete girders stabilizing the eastern half of the bridge are cracked.

Read our earlier blog post for more information about the condition of the existing bridge and planned safety improvements.

This critical public safety project will be funded by the Levy to Move Seattle passed by Seattle voters in 2015.

Getting around during the closure will be different.

A map showing how to get around during the Fairview Ave N Bridge closure.

This closure will be a major change to how people get between South Lake Union and Eastlake. During construction, Fairview Ave N from Eastlake Ave E to Aloha St will be closed to through traffic, including people walking and biking. The bridge is expected to reopen in spring 2021.

Drivers and freight traffic are encouraged to use Eastlake Ave E to connect to Stewart St and Howell St further south. Depending on where you are coming and going, you may wish to consider routes on the west side of Lake Union such as SR 99, Dexter Ave N, or Westlake Ave N.

Businesses on Fairview Ave N will be open during construction. Local access will be maintained for businesses north and south of the closed bridge.

Please don’t drive alone if you don’t have to!

Traffic in downtown Seattle.

Traffic in downtown Seattle.

Just like other major closures, the traffic impacts are really going to depend on the choices each of us make. If you can avoid traveling at rush hour or get around on transit, bike, or foot it will make a big difference for everyone. We know that not everyone has the option to do this, which is why it’s so important that we all do what we can so that the city keeps on moving.

Plan ahead and prepare for more traffic on downtown streets. When traveling to and through Seattle, try shifting your route or taking a new mode of transportation to work, school, or appointments, or while running errands. Here are some helpful tips:

Bus route changes

Be alert to bus rerouting. King County Metro Route 70, which regularly runs along Fairview Ave N, will be detoured around the bridge closure. Beginning on September 23, Route 70 will travel along Eastlake Ave E via Aloha St to Fairview Ave N. Temporary bus stops will be located on Eastlake Ave E. The best way to stay informed about Metro rerouting is to check King County Metro Rider Alerts.

Traveling by bike

The best bike route for you will depend on where you are coming and going. The Seattle Bike Blog has several helpful suggestions depending on where you live and work.

Plan for delays

Give yourself extra time to reach your destination. Traffic is usually worst when most people are commuting between 7 – 9 AM, and in the afternoon between 3 – 6 PM.  So consider traveling at other times if you have that option.

We expect traffic patterns to fluctuate over the first few weeks of this closure as people try out new options and get used to the changes.

This is another chapter in the #SeattleSqueeze.

Link light rail in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

Link light rail in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

This closure marks another milestone in the Seattle Squeeze, the period through 2024 where major construction projects impact how we get downtown. During this time, we’re continuing to work with our partners at WSDOT, King County Metro, Sound Transit, and the Port of Seattle to keep people and goods moving safely. This will all be worth it, but we need your help to keep traffic moving. Visit www.seattle.gov/traffic for the tools and information you need to get around.

Want more information?

The best way to stay informed about upcoming bridge construction and milestones is through our project emails (sign up here). You can also check our project webpage for updates.

Contact us:

Project Hotline: (206) 775-8715

FairviewBridge@seattle.gov