The Largest Construction Projects Currently Underway in Seattle

Seattle, Washington, is the birthplace of Starbucks, grunge music and the hit show Frasier. But even though it has a propensity to rain pretty much every day of the year, this doesn’t put a damper on Seattle’s booming construction scene. One need only look to the major construction projects going on right now in the Pacific Northwest’s biggest city. With a population of 3.5 million in the greater Seattle metro area, it’s no wonder it takes the honor of being the 15th biggest metro area in the entire country. First Hill Streetcar Project As part of the First Hill Streetcar Project, projected to finish this spring, construction is currently taking place at each part of the First Hill Streetcar line, impacting several roadways such as Broadway and Yesler Way, with just one lane open in either direction, says Seattle.gov. Construction began on this project back in 2012, with the goal of making the First Hill Streetcar Line a vital link in Seattle’s regional transit system, connecting residential neighborhoods and business districts with major hospitals, colleges and professional sports arenas, according to SeattleStreetCar.org. The project entails removing the existing road, installing utilities, installing streetcar tracks, replacing the street and some sidewalks, installation of traffic signals and wiring, topped off with restoration and installation of street marking. This project translates, at least in the mean time, to lane restrictions, intersection closures on weekends, bus stop relocations, utility interruptions, construction work at night and on weekends, and detours for pedestrians. Alaskan Way Viaduct Beginning in the summer of 2013, construction has been ongoing for the largest-diameter tunnel machine on the planet underneath the downtown Seattle area. Its purpose is to replace the aging SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct, a two-decker highway that has been a landmark for the skyline of Seattle for half a century, according to Seattle’s Department of Transportation. This project comprises a tunnel that stretches two miles beneath the heart of the city, a mile-long highway, a brand new overpass, demolition of the water front section of the existing viaduct and a new street by the water connecting the downtown area to SR 99. SR 520 Bridge Replacement This project entails replacing the existing floating bridge with crucial roadway and transportation improvements throughout this section of downtown. All told, this program involves more than 12 miles of bridge and roadway improvements from Seattle to Redmond. Overview of Construction Trends in Seattle With high development activity, among the highest since 2005 when tracking started, the heart of the city is seeing the growth of three major apartment complexes plus the development of full business campuses for Amazon.com and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, just to name a few. The boom in construction projects throughout the downtown area has increased from a lull in 2012 of only 12 projects to 44 projects this year, according to the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA). The combined project cost is at $2.8 billion, the likes of which has not been seen since 2008. While the addition of office space sparked the previous downtown construction boom of 2007, this time around, it’s driven by residential projects, with 27 of the 44 being residential in nature. These are major projects which, when finished, will add more than 5,300 units to the downtown area. Along with construction, William Leary writes on plastic tanks, property development, natural resources, water storage & other related topics. Image credit goes to kla6047.