Welcome to the Ship Canal Water Quality Project website! We’re happy you’re here.
Currently, the Seattle Public Utilities is planning to continue with construction in your area. We are working closely with our Public Health – Seattle & King County partners, our construction management teams, and private contractors to ensure that everyone supporting this project is cautious and safe. If there are changes to the construction schedule or planned work, we will notify you once public information is available.
The City of Seattle and King County are taking steps to protect the health of our community by making recommendations that are meant to slow the spread of novel coronavirus and reduce the number of people infected. Please learn more about COVID-19 at www.kingcounty.gov/covid. Thank you.
We will continue to share updates about construction progress on this website, as they become available.
Seattle Public Utilities and King County Wastewater Treatment Division are building an underground storage tunnel to significantly reduce the amount of polluted stormwater (from rain) and sewage that flows into the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay, and Lake Union from our sewer system.
Since the 1800s, 150 tunnels spanning over 70 miles have been constructed in Seattle for sewers, utility corridors, and transportation needs. The Ship Canal Water Quality Project includes a 2.7-mile, 18-ft and 10-in internal-diameter tunnel that will extend from Ballard to Wallingford. Tunneling operations will start in Ballard. The Ballard vertical access shaft will begin construction in 2020 and tunneling is planned to begin in 2021.
Construction in Ballard is underway
In January and February 2021, crews will continue installation of the permanent walls of the 122-ft deep vertical shaft. Additionally, during this timeframe, our tunnel boring machine will be making its way to Seattle from Germany. We anticipate the parts to arrive and be ready for assembly in Ballard in early 2021.
You should anticipate several concrete trucks and other deliveries coming through the site and an uptick in oversized-vehicles on Shilshole Ave NW.
In March, crews will construct temporary equipment in the shaft to prepare for tunneling. Tunneling is expected to begin in the summer of 2021.
Construction in East Ballard is underway
In January and February 2021, crews will continue soil stabilization and ground improvement work in NW 45th St and 11th Ave NW. These activities help prepare the site for upcoming excavation and underground construction work, like tunneling. You should anticipate noise and vibrations from drill rigs and pumps on site. During this time, one lane of 11th Ave NW will be closed for construction just south of NW 45th St. Two-way traffic on 11th Ave NW will be maintained, and traffic will be controlled by flaggers during working hours and traffic signals at night.
In March, the contractor will install shoring for the mechanical vault installation in NW 45th St. There will be an uptick in traffic to the site as dump trucks haul away excavated material.
Construction in Fremont is underway
Between January and March 2021, crews will excavate the interior of the vertical shaft and install utilities on site and in Leary Way. During this time, you should anticipate dump trucks, excavators, and vactor trucks working on site and an uptick in traffic in Leary Way NW as trucks haul away excavated material. The utility work will also require lane closures in Leary Way NW.
In early spring, we’ll start preparing the shaft to launch our smaller tunnel boring machine underneath the Ship Canal to build an 8-ft diameter tunnel to the Queen Anne site. The tunnel will be 646-ft long and will house an air duct and two conveyance pipes. See graphic below to learn more about the tunnel.
We anticipate construction of the tunnel to take place until early summer. During this time, there will be a large crane on-site and an uptick in deliveries for the casing pipe construction.
Additionally, in late spring, we’ll begin construction of the diversion structure in 2nd Ave NW. We anticipate 2nd Ave NW will be closed south of Leary Way NW for at least six months.
Construction in Queen Anne is underway
In January, crews will excavate the interior of the vertical shaft. During this time, you should anticipate dump trucks and excavators working on site and an uptick in eastbound traffic on Nickerson St as trucks haul away excavated material.
In February, crews will pour the shaft’s concrete floor, which will require several concrete and rebar deliveries. In early spring, crews will prepare the site to receive the 8-ft tunnel boring machine from Fremont (not anticipated to arrive until late summer/early fall).
Construction in Wallingford is underway
In January 2021, we’ll start secant pile wall construction. In an effort to be as transparent as possible, we want to let you know it will involve several months of intense, loud construction with long work days at the project’s Wallingford site.
During secant pile construction you can expect:
- Heavy equipment on site such as the drill rig, an oscillator, and a crane. Trucks coming in and out of the site to haul away excavated material and deliver concrete.
- Noise from the drill rig. This rig is loud and work will start as early as 7 a.m as allowed by City of Seattle code. We start early in the morning to allow the contractor to complete more of the work during daylight hours to improve safety, to maximize the use of expensive, heavy machinery each day and, to complete work as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
- Vibration from the drill rig. You may be able to feel the vibration in your home or business. This is expected. We are monitoring vibration levels on site to ensure they are within allowable levels.
- Normal work hours are from 7a.m to 5p.m, Monday through Friday, although work may extend into the early evening, on occasion to complete the concreting of a pile. It’s possible the contractor may also work on Saturdays as needed.
We anticipate secant pile wall construction to last through March. Once the secant pile wall is complete, we’ll begin excavating the vertical shaft. This work will be relatively quieter, but you should anticipate excavators working on site and an uptick in traffic as dump trucks haul off soils.