University Bridge North Approach Planning Study

Investing in the Future of Our Bridges

Updated February 22, 2023

What's Happening Now?

We kicked-off the University Bridge North Approach Planning Study at the end of 2022. Having completed the initial background research and data collection, the consultant team is beginning to develop potential rehabilitation and replacement concepts. We are reaching out to external stakeholders to get their feedback on constraints and opportunities within the project area.

Project Overview

University Bridge is defined as four (4) different structure types:

  1. North Approach (n/o Pacific St) – Concrete
  2. North Approach (s/o Pacific St) – Steel
  3. Main Span – Steel Bascule
  4. South Approach - Steel

The north approach was originally constructed in 1919 with timber trestle approaches and replaced with current concrete and steel structures in the early 1930’s. We are conducting a planning study to evaluate rehabilitation and replacement alternatives for the northern concrete section. This will help to provide a basis for SDOT to plan for future funding when the decision to has been made to move forward with design and construction.

We perform regular maintenance and frequent inspections on the bridge to ensure it is operational and safe for both road and marine traffic. With the steady increase in vehicle weight and traffic volumes, as the structure ages, more significant rehabilitation may be needed to sustain its current level of operation. Since the structure is still in fair condition without any major flaws, [WE1] we have an opportunity to plan ahead and look beyond just maintaining its current form and function. So, we've launched the University Bridge North Approach Planning Study to evaluate how to bring the north segment of the structure up to current transportation, functional, and engineering standards and better meet the multimodal needs of this corridor.

The planning study, funded by the Levy to Move Seattle, will explore feasible rehabilitation and replacement options for the long-term future of the north segment of the bridge. The bridge planning studies are a part of our effort to better understand the size of Seattle's maintenance backlog and prepare for future investments.

The planning study will identify associated costs, risks, benefits, and trade-offs of each option. Through the end of the year, we'll work with our agency partners, advisory boards, and community members to identify needs and values that will guide our evaluation of the alternatives.

Click on this image to open the project map as a PDF.

Map of the project area with the University Bridge study area highlighted in orange.


We are working toward completing the study and finalizing the alternatives evaluation report by early 2024.


This planning study is funded by the Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015. The 9-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city. Learn more on the Levy to Move Seattle page.

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Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.