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The Yesler Bridge is open for traffic again

One of Seattle’s oldest bridges was under repair for more than a year

Detail of the Yesler Bridge from 1962.
Via Seattle Municipal Archives

The Yesler Bridge, located on the downtown side of Pioneer Square, has reopened to traffic after a 16-month retrofit project, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced Tuesday.

The bridge was originally built in 1910, which means a couple of things. It has some cool details, like original pedestrian railings with an intersecting arc design and ornate columns. It also means that it was in desperate need of some safety and accessibility improvements.

During the rehabilitation, the SDOT worked to preserve the design while overhauling the bridge to modern standards. That means a new, single-span superstructure; ADA-compliant curb ramps; and seismic upgrades.

The Yesler Bridge is one of Seattle’s more recognizable bridges—partially because of its historic design, partially because of its central location. Running over Fourth Avenue downtown, it’s a busy section of street both on the bridge and below it. SDOT estimates that more than 1,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day.

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The project cost $19.8 million, and used which came from the local Bridging the Gap levy, the Federal Highway Bridge Program, and federal funds through the Washington State Department of Transportation Local Programs Bridge Program.