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Seattle sees progress in multiple, major projects

WestSeattleBridge-concretepour

SDOT gets the concrete a-flowing on the West Seattle Bridge. | Photo via SDOT

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Whoa, whoa, WHOAfasten your seatbelts, Seattle. We had a big week for development and city project news — including a certain bridge fix that has an updated completion date. Let’s get right to it.

🏗️ The big news

Ta dah. Yesterday, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced that the West Seattle Bridge is projected to open the week of Sept. 12 finally. That date comes about two-and-a-half years after the bridge first closed due to structural concerns.

While the most recent projection aimed for “mid-2022,” the reopening date has been pushed back a couple of times — most recently due to the concrete workers strike, since key pours were delayed for months. And while our pencil eraser shavings are piling up from all of the revised calendars, we’re probably close to being able to ink this in — look for a final opening date to be announced 30 days prior.

👟 This street is made for walkin’

ICYMI, Seattleites love eating + strolling outside (when the weather’s nice). Both the “Safe Start” Cafe Streets and “Stay Healthy” Streets were hugely successful earlier in the pandemic when we were all social distancing more, leading lawmakers to find a way to make them more permanent. Just take a look at Ballard Avenue.

This week, SDOT announced that after working with local businesses and community leaders, they’ll be sprucing up the infrastructure to make the street even more “people-oriented.” Improvements include:

  • Updating the painted road lines to make the existing one-way traffic pattern more clear to drivers — this helps protect pedestrians + those outdoor cafes
  • Extending + widening the sidewalk at intersections with planters + flexible posts
  • Turning tree pits into a firm, level walking platform so folks don’t trip
  • Building new all-way stops at Ballard Ave. NW at 22nd Ave. NW, NW Vernon Pl. + 20th Ave. NW

You’ll start to see those upgrades rolled out this summer.

🎭 The show goes on

After seven years of construction, outreach, designing, + fundraising, Volunteer Park’s new covered amphitheater finally has a grand opening date set for Sat., July 2. In addition to celebrating its debuts, the Volunteer Park Trust will kick off a summer concert series in the space on Thurs., July 14. Other facts about the project:.

  • The amphitheater is the park’s first new building in 50 years.
  • While the effort first started rolling years ago, construction began in March 2021.
  • The $3 million renovation project included adding storage + green room space, all-gender bathrooms, better electrical infrastructure, and a stage floor resilient enough for dance performances.

🪨 And just for funsies

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has been hard at work digging a tunnel along the Lake Washington Ship Canal that will store sewage and stormwater using a 900,000-lb drill named “MudHoney” — after the local grunge band.

But the massive beast met its match when a giant rock broke the $15 million drill on April 21. While repair teams had to undergo some crazy safety precautions on their descent to fix the drill, our hero ultimately came out victorious on May 27 in a battle SPU now refers to as MudHoney vs. MegaBoulder.

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