The NE 45th Street Viaduct connecting the west end of NE 45th Street with University Village and points east will be closed to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists from June 14 to Sept. 10, according to Assistant Vice President for Regional Relations Theresa Doherty.
In meetings with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) stretching back to April 2009, says Doherty, it was learned that portions of the bridge are nearly 70 years old and no longer suitable for simple retrofitting or partial reconstruction. With input from UWMC; Transportation Services; Housing and Food Services; the Real Estate Office; Intercollegiate Athletics; and the Capital Projects Office, Doherty has been working hard to minimize the project’s impact on both the UW and the nearby community. She has been joined in this effort by Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Greater University Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations.
The decision to fully close the viaduct during construction was made by SDOT after gathering input from the community. According to SDOT, diverting all traffic during construction will shorten the project duration to four months instead of 18 months.
During this period, Doherty assures the campus community that representatives from the UW “have reviewed the proposed detour plan and are working to minimize impacts to the campus.”
“We agreed that a total closure would be best for the University, but told SDOT that the closure cannot begin until after commencement on June 13, and that it must be completed in time for the first Husky home football game on Sept. 11, ” says Doherty. She noted that SDOT is committed to this timeline, which is described in more detail on the Department of Transportation website.
The 730-foot viaduct was constructed in 1938 and has not been upgraded since 2002. The project is being financed by Bridging the Gap, a nine-year, $365 million transportation levy passed in 2006.
According to SDOT, the cross section of the bridge will stay the same under the new construction plan, with two westbound lanes, one eastbound lane, and a designated pedestrian pathway.