Meet our Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), MudHoney!

We received over 1,200 TBM name submissions from the community, and over 30,000 votes! After tallying all the votes, we are thrilled to announce that our TBM is now named MudHoney!

Thank you for helping us #NameThatTBM!

This summer MudHoney will begin digging a 2.7-mile long, 18-ft 10-in diameter storage tunnel to reduce Seattle’s sewer overflow by 2025! Sign up for our project email list to learn how to follow along as MudHoney digs under our feet. MudHoney has already had a chance to meet the band it was named after, take a look at this video to see how that went!

Four individuals wearing sweaters and hardhats stand in front of a tunnel boring machine that has the word MudHoney drawn in yellow and black letters
Seattle based-band Mudhoney and the Ship Canal Water Quality Project Tunnel Boring Machine!

Investing in the Health of the Sound and the Future of Our Region

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.

An aerial map of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project site. The base map shows the projected storage tunnel location, which runs along Shilshole Avenue Northwest in Ballard to North 35th Street in Wallingford. Project areas are shown as purple boxes, sites include Ballard (located near the intersection of 24th Avenue Northwest and Northwest Market Street), East Ballard (located near the intersection of Northwest 45th Street and 9th Avenue Northwest), Fremont (located near the intersection of North 36th Street and 3rd Avenue Northwest), Queen Anne (located near the intersection of Queen Anne Avenue North and West Nickerson Street) and Wallingford (located near the intersection of Interlake Avenue and North 35th Street).
Project Area (Click or tap image to enlarge)

Click on the project areas to learn more

About the project

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.

An aerial map of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project site. The base map shows the projected tunnel site as a dark blue line that runs from the eastern end of Fremont towards Ballard. A dotted line indicates the location of the existing pipe transfer, which runs from the end of the tunnel in Ballard to the West Point Treatment Plant, which is denoted as a black square. The areas served by the Ship Canal Water Quality project are highlighted in green and include: Crown Hill, Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and Downtown.
Map of storage tunnel alignment and the combined-sewer areas that will send flows to the new tunnel. (Click or tap image to enlarge)

Tunnel

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 construction started in 2020 with tunneling is planned for 2021.

Ballard

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.

aerial map of area between 24th avenue North West and Shilshole Avenue Northwest. Tunnel barging operations are southwest of the 24th avenue pier in Salmon Bay. Dotted lines along 24th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 56th Street indicate locations for conveyance pipe alignment and microtunnel placement. A dark blue line that runs through Shilshole Avenue Northwest denotes the storage tunnel.
Construction area map (Click or tap image to enlarge)

East Ballard

Construction in East Ballard is underway

Crews continue to work on soil stabilization and ground improvement work in NW 45th St. 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.

The contractor will then install shoring for the mechanical vault installation. There will be an uptick in traffic to the site as dump trucks haul away excavated material. NW 45th St will remain closed until further notice.

Construction of below grade structures and pipe will begin in 11th Ave NW later this spring. Two-way traffic in 11th Ave NW will be maintained along the west shoulder of the road. Traffic will be controlled by flaggers during working hours and traffic signals at night.

aerial map shows area on Northwest 45th Street and is between 11th Avenue North West and 9th Avenue Northwest. Grey dotted lines along 45th Avenue Northwest and indicate the future missing link route, orange dotted lines along 45th Avenue Northwest indicate the proposed trail detour and green dotted lines indicate the Burke-Gilman Trail. The solid blue line on 11th Avenue Northwest indicates underground pipes..
Construction area map (Click or tap image to enlarge)

Fremont

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.

aerial map of the project sitesituated between Leary Way Northwest and the Burke Gilman Trail. The dotted orange line along first avenue Northwest and Northwest 36th Street denotes the pedestrian detour. A small blue line that runs from the project area and across the Ship Canal represents the microtunnel placement.
Construction area map (Click or tap image to enlarge)
A graphic rendering looking inside an eight-foot diameter storage tunnel. Three smaller white circles with colored borders inside the larger gray tunnel indicate different elements of the tunnel. Gray lines inside the tunnel represent temporary pipes.
Click or tap image to enlarge

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.

Queen Anne

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).

aerial map of project site situated along Third Avenue West and West Ewing Street. Green boxes within the project area indicate the following: underground pipes, cabinet, underground facility and drop shaft. A small blue line that runs from the project area and across the Ship Canal to Northwest 36th Street in Fremont represents the microtunnel placement.
Construction area map (Click or tap image to enlarge)

Wallingford

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.

aerial map project site situated at the intersection of Interlake Avenue North and North 35th Street.  A dark grey line that runs west from the project site along N 35th Street indicates the storage tunnel.
Construction area map (Click or tap image to enlarge)