Archived Project Updates

September 2020

We’re on Flickr!

Seattle Public Utilities is now on Flickr! Check out albums uploaded this week highlighting temporary art and recent construction activities.

August 2020

Queen Anne trail detour update

We heard some community concerns about our previously proposed trail detour, so we worked with our contractor to move it. As early as mid-August, the trail will be moved just south of the existing trail, through the adjacent parking lot near Seattle Pacific University and West Ewing Mini Park.

The detour will be about 200 feet long and will be on a fully paved, 8-ft wide asphalt path that allows for two-way bike traffic. Trail users will be expected to yield to traffic on 3rd Ave W (same as now). This detour will remain in place until mid- to late 2022.

Keep a look out for signs on the trail. We will continue to update you on detour timing and any changes to detours via our project email list.

Bringing art to our construction sites

Did you know that there are both temporary and permanent artworks as part of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project?

There are two temporary artworks currently on display, including new art by Kalee Nelson and Crystal Christopherson that was installed on our Wallingford screen wall in late July. Elevating awareness of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women is the key goal of this temporary installation that includes a large-scale mural featuring traditional formline design of orcas.

Two more temporary artworks will be installed later this summer. Learn more about these pieces and the others that will be installed on our new Art page!

Murals placed along the Wallingford screen wall in late July 2020. The murals depict 4 killer whales and are drawn in form design. In the middle of the images is a white sign that states Protect the sacred, Missing Murdered Indigenous Women.
Mural was placed on the Wallingford screen wall in late July 2020 | Click to enlarge

Construction underway in all neighborhoods!

As you scroll down this page, you’ll note that construction is going on in all five neighborhoods. For more detailed information, take a look at the fact sheets in our Project Library. We also encourage you to sign-up to our project email for any updates or changes to these schedules.

July 2020

Heads up trail detours coming!

The weather has been perfect for enjoying the trail and we want to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some things you should know about upcoming trail detours.

a cyclist with a backpack and helmet on rides East on NW 45th St towards 9th ave NW
Person biking on sidewalk in East Ballard

East Ballard detour: As early as July 6, the Burke-Gilman Trail will be detoured from the south side of NW 45th St to the north side of NW 45th St between 11th Ave NW and 9th Ave NW, next to Fred Meyer. Two-way traffic will be maintained and flaggers will be on-site during the daytime. You will be directed to cross at a 90-degree angle to safely traverse the railroad tracks. This detour will remain in place until early 2023.

Queen Anne detour: As early as July 20, the Ship Canal Trail will be detoured onto 3rd Ave W, W Nickerson St and W Cremona St. This detour will remain in place until mid-2022.

Keep a look out for signs on the trail. As work progresses we will continue to update you on detour timing and any changes to detours will be shared via our project email list. Also, feel free to give us a call with any comments or suggestions on how to get the word out.

Construction starting in East Ballard and Fremont

In May and June, work will begin in the following locations:

  • East Ballard: Work will take place on NW 45th St between 11th Ave NW and 9th Ave NW, and on 11th Ave NW just south of NW 45th St (near Fred Meyer)
  • Fremont: Work will take place near the intersection of Leary Way NW, NW 36th St and 2nd Ave NW

Work at both sites will involve above- and below-ground construction to build new pipes and vertical shafts to connect the current combined sewer system overflow pipes to the new storage tunnel. During the first few months of work, crews will set up fencing, remove trees, curbs and existing asphalt, and stabilize soils to prepare for underground construction.

June 2020

Slurry wall construction begins in Ballard!

The slurry wall is a reinforced-concrete circular structure that will allow for safe excavation of the vertical shaft, which will ultimately bring stormwater and sewage flows into the new storage tunnel. The vertical shaft will also be the starting point for the tunnel boring machine that will begin its journey next year.

This work includes putting rebar steel cages inside 210-ft deep trenches and filling them with concrete. You can expect a large uptick in equipment and trucks going in and out of the work site to support this construction.

Equipment has moved on to the Ballard site to prepare for slurry wall construction.
Equipment used for Ballard slurry wall construction.

May 2020

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ...crane!

If you’re passing by our Ballard site, take a look up and check out the 250-ton crane towering over the work zone! The crane arrived from the mid-west in early April and crews have been busy assembling this massive piece of equipment.

The crane’s first assignment is to assist with slurry wall construction, one of the earliest phases for vertical shaft construction. It will be an 87-ft diameter, 210-ft deep, 4-ft thick reinforced concrete circular structure which will keep walls from collapsing during shaft excavation. You may experience additional noise and vibrations associated with this work.

Eventually, when the shaft is complete, we'll launch our tunnel boring machine through it!

Video of the Crane at the Ballard site

crane operator looks up at a crane
Crane at the Ballard work zone

April 2020

Ballard’s 24th Ave NW Pier is open to the public!

We are pleased to share that the 24th Ave NW Pier has been temporarily re-opened to the public!

It will close again in late August to support construction activities, so we hope you get a chance to enjoy it while the sun is out this summer. Next year, crews will use the pier to carry tunnel spoils away by barge, which will reduce the number of truck trips needed and help mitigate traffic impacts.

a pier strethes out into the water with sailboats in the background
The 24th Ave NW Pier is temporarily re-opened for public use

February 2020

Construction in Ballard will begin as early as February 20

Starting the week of February 20, crews wil begin installing a 12’ high sound wall, stormwater controls, and dewatering equipment at the Ballard site. For more information, please see a copy of the construction flyer that went out to more than 2,100 businesses and residents near the work site.

Thank you!

Thank you to all who attended our Ballard drop-in session on Dec. 11, 2019, to learn more about construction in 2020. If you were not able to attend, we have uploaded a PDF version of the meeting boards for you to read at your leisure.

We appreciate the nearly 500 people who took time to fill out our survey on Ballard's 24th Ave NW street end designs. The survey is now closed. Stay tuned for next steps!


December 2019

Take our survey on Ballard's 24th Ave NW street end designs through Jan. 10 2020

Thank you to all who attended our Ballard drop-in session on Dec. 11, 2019, to learn more about construction in 2020. If you were not able to attend, we have uploaded a PDF version of the meeting boards for you to read at your leisure.

We would also love to hear your thoughts on the designs for the 24th Ave NW street end in Ballard. Please complete this survey available through Jan. 10, to provide feedback. We appreciate you taking the time to help us learn more about what you want to see once construction is complete!

View archived survey page.


November 2019

November Public art update

Over the summer, our Wallingford artist, RYAN! Feddersen, asked community members what water means to them. Their responses inspired her to create temporary artwork along the Ship Canal alignment that is activated by rain. Next time you’re walking along the tunnel alignment, take a look at the sidewalk and learn about why your neighbors value water. The installations are expected to last between four and six months.

map of locations for artwork
Discover RYAN!’s artwork at each of the locations marked on the map. (Click or tap image to enlarge)
art on sidewalk reading waterways are our streets are our waterways
Artwork activated by water on the sidewalk. (Click or tap image to enlarge)

October 2019

Early work at our Ballard site is underway!

Crews are preparing our Ballard site for tunneling. Here are the activities they’re working on:

  • Replacing the 24th Ave NW Pier to prepare for removing tunnel spoils by barge
  • Replacing the outfall pipe under the pier
  • Relocating utilities
  • Removing contaminated soils from the shaft site

Public art

Local artist Vaughn Bell is leading several artists to install permanent artwork along the storage tunnel alignment across all five neighborhoods. Artists will use a wide variety of mediums, materials and techniques to make our underground infrastructure and regional water quality improvements more visible.

Some goals of the Ship Canal public art include:

  • Increasing public awareness of the function of water quality projects and infrastructure
  • Making an invisible system more visible
  • Connecting people to the flow of water in their city, their home and local ecology
  • Creating meaningful, inspiring and thought-provoking art experiences in the public realm

Artwork will include both permanent and temporary installations.