News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


WSDOT Sends An Aurora Bridge Progress Report

September 21st, 2011 by master

No doubt you have seen Massana Construction crews hard at work under the Aurora Bridge.  WSDOT thought it was time for a project update to let you know what’s going on and how long it will be happening.

To refresh your memory, contractor crews are working on phase three of a three-phase plan to retrofit the Aurora Avenue bridge to make it better withstand earthquakes. This current phase wraps support columns with FRP (fiber reinforced polymer), a specialized wrap that conforms to the unique cruciform (“+”-shaped) style for the columns that support the bridge.  In short, it allows Fremont to keep the look and feel of the historical period while satisfying the safety and earthquake needs that come with a modern structure.

If you are in the area, take a look at the column across from the Troll on 36th Street on the southwest corner. Crews just did a test section to see how it looks. It appears to have worked well. Now crews will wrap the other 14 columns on the north end and four columns on the south end with this specialized wrap.

We will be on this end of the bridge into early next year.

However…..we will suspend work and move our equipment for the Troll’s birthday on Halloween. We hear a lot of you Fremont folks like to help the Troll celebrate in costume. Maybe we’ll join you, dressed as a safety cone!

Images: WSDOT

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Aurora Bridge Jumper Decides Not To Jump, Crisis Averted

September 4th, 2011 by master

Sunday night, traffic came to a standstill when a woman threatened to jump off the Aurora Bridge. Thankfully, after the arrival of police and ambulances, she decided to come down.

According to Christopher Reaves, who live-tweeted the saga, police had to cut away part of the recently-upgraded fence along the bridge to get her.

“North end of the Aurora Bridge should be clearing soon. SFD says the person is on the sidewalk now and no longer in danger of falling”

“Yes they got a rope around her and got her safely to the sidewalk. They had to cut away part of the fence to do it.”

More details to come, I’m sure. Just glad to hear she is safe and they were able to convince her to come down.

According to Seattle Friends, over 230 people have committed suicide from the Aurora Bridge.

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More Improvements & Changes Coming To Aurora

August 29th, 2011 by master

We’ve seen a lot of new and improved features on Aurora Avenue recently, including radar speed signs and earthquake retrofits. According to a recent blog post by SDOT, there’s still a lot more to come.

The post outlines a whole bunch of impending improvements and changes in the area, while some of them will take place right in our own backyard.

Further south, SDOT is preparing to implement a series of safety improvements centered around the Aurora Bridge.  New signage will be installed warning drivers to expect merging traffic prior the Fremont Way and Halladay Street entrances.  This project will include improved directional signage to the Queen Anne neighborhood and minor tree trimming to improve the visibility of these signs.  Channelization improvements will be implemented concurrently on southbound Aurora at the Fremont Way and Raye Street entrances to Aurora.  At Fremont Way, a solid white lane line will replace the existing dashed lane line and extend 200 feet south of the point where the two roadways become one.  Since it is illegal to cross a solid white lane line, this new configuration will allow drivers entering Aurora to get up to speed before making lane changes.  At Raye Street, a new edge line will be installed to provide drivers with better sight lines when entering Aurora.  Coupled with the recently completed improvements at Halladay Street (for drivers entering and exiting northbound 99), the roadway around the Aurora Bridge will certainly funtion better.

I know the current set-up can cause some uneasiness when it comes to merging traffic heading onto the bridge so it sounds like these changes could help.

Read more about SDOT’s Action Plan here.

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Aurora Bridge Seismic Retrofit Will Affect Troll-Area Parking

May 23rd, 2011 by master

Update: Work will begin May 31st, so plan accordingly.

The Fremont Troll isn’t too keen of the Aurora Bridge falling apart over his head one of these days. So WSDOT contractors will be doing some work on the bridge over the next couple months to make sure that doesn’t happen.

As early as June 11, WSDOT workers will begin an 18-month long project to make the Aurora Bridge better withstand earthquakes. Once that work officially starts, construction crews will reduce or eliminate parking on Troll Avenue between 36th and 34th streets to get at the underside of the bridge.

Parking will be affected between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Residents will be able to park in the area after that time, though their cars will need to moved by 8 a.m. the following morning.

The work in the Fremont area will last about six months. At that point, the crews will move to the Queen Anne side of the bridge.

For more information on the project and the reason it’s being done, visit the WSDOT site.

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Major Traffic Enforcement Patrol On Aurora April 14th

April 13th, 2011 by master

I know you always drive safely on Aurora Avenue. You always stay focused, drive calmly, don’t chat on your cell phone while driving and certainly avoid drinking and driving. We’re on the same page with all of that. I just want to make sure you know to REALLY do all of those things (or not do those things, as the case may be) on Thursday.

The Aurora Traffic Safety Project will be performing a “safe driving enforcement patrol” on Aurora Avenue North all day.

On April 14th beginning at 6:30 am and running all day and evening, the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Patrol and Washington Liquor Control Board will be conducting a major traffic enforcement patrol to deter aggressive and distracted driving on Aurora. Specifically the patrol will focus on the behaviors we know are contributing to collisions, injuries and deaths along Aurora such as speeding, following too close, unsafe turns, DUI, cell phone usage and other in car distractions.

More than 50 Seattle Police Department personnel will be participating including motorcycle and squad car units, the aggressive drivers response team and the DUI squad. Joining SPD will be six patrol units from the Washington State Patrol and three teams from the Washington Liquor Control Board. A unified command center will be established at 125th and Aurora.

The April 14th patrol is part of the Aurora Traffic Safety Project – a two year effort to improve safety through engineering improvements, increased enforcement, and educational outreach. Between April 2005 and March 2008, 1,581 collisions occurred on Aurora between the Battery Street Tunnel and N 145th Street – that’s nearly 46 collisions per month. Since the start of this project in 2009, collisions on Aurora have been reduced by more than 20 percent.

For more information about the Aurora Traffic Safety Project visit

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Delve Into Seattle’s Past With MOHAI’s Now And Then Exhibit

April 11th, 2011 by master

You know that bridge above from the way it is on the left. There was a time not too long ago, however, when it looked a lot more like the image on the right. If you’re a regular reader of Seattle Times Sunday magazine, you’re used to seeing Paul Dorpat’s popular ‘Now And Then’ column, featuring the contrasting images of old and new Seattle like this one.

This past weekend, the Museum of History and Industry unveiled a “Now and Then” exhibit, styled after Dorpat’s column. The exhibit include the work of Jean Sherrard and Berangere Lomont and features photos of four locales: Seattle, Washington State, the Wallingford neighborhood and Paris.

The exhibit runs through June 3, 2012. Now and Then tours at the University of Washington are scheduled for April 17, May 15 and May 18. Check the MOHAI calendar for more information.


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Aurora Bridge Fence Project Update

November 29th, 2010 by master

As you know, the Department of Transportation is working on installing fences on the Aurora Bridge to deter suicide attempts. Construction has been slow and the WSDOT has some updates for us on how the project is coming along:

Q. Why is the first fence post at N. 34th Street in Fremont? Is that where the fence begins?

A. No, the fence will begin just north of N. 36th Street right above the Fremont Troll.

Q. But the posts don’t begin until N. 36th Street. Are you sure the fence goes all the way to the Troll?

A. Yes, the posts all look the same, but they differ in how they connect to the bridge. Six different ways, in fact, and there are five different types of posts. These post-to-bridge connections depend in part on whether the post is attached to the steel middle section or the concrete sections at the north and south ends. It turns out that the fence manufacturer completed the posts that connect to the steel sections first and so the contractor is installing them first. The posts in the concrete sections on the west side of the bridge will go up in the next week or two.

Q. Why are there gaps between some of the posts?

A. The gaps indicate locations where we must complete repairs before installing posts. As you may remember, crews discovered corrosion in 23 beams about three months ago. We determined the beams would need to be strengthened before we attached the fence posts at those locations and added this work to the construction contract. We completed part of the repair and are waiting for a manufacturer to build and deliver the steel braces that will reinforce the beams.

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Aurora Bridge Lanes Re-Open After Two Morning Crashes

November 22nd, 2010 by master

If you sat in it all morning, you already know, but there were two crashes on the Aurora Bridge around 9 a.m. that closed five of the six lanes for a good while.

No word on injuries but all lanes have since been cleared and the cars have been cleared off the road.

Here’s a photo of one of the crashes via MyWallingford.

Happy, safe travels today…

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Suicide prevention fence starts going up next week

November 5th, 2010 by master

Work to build a suicide prevention fence across the Aurora Bridge has been underway for months, but there’s still no sign of the fence itself. WSDOT tells us that will all change next week when crews start putting up the fence posts on the west side of the bridge.

So what’s taking so long? WSDOT says it has been dealing with small details they hope will make a big difference in the end. They drilled about 2600 holes for anchor bolts, used an x-ray device to make sure they didn’t hit rebar, and repaired the bridge’s steel that was damaged by corrosion.

The fence posts will go up first, followed by the fence panels. The fence should be finished by the end of the year. Image from WSDOT

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More work on Aurora Bridge this weekend

September 22nd, 2010 by master

Just when you thought WSDOT was finally done with its work on the Aurora Bridge, it turns out crews found more rivets to remove. Crews found the rivets when they began repairing corroded steel portions of the bridge at 23 fence post locations.

Photo from WSDOT

It means more lane closures and planning for traffic delays if you’re using the bridge this weekend.

  • On Saturday, Sept.25, two out of the three northbound lanes will be closed from 5:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
  • On Sunday, Sept. 26, two out of three northbound lanes will be closed from 5:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. until midnight. Seahawks fans, WSDOT is giving you that window of opportunity to use all the lanes from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate post game traffic.

There are a total of 186 additional rivets that must be removed as part of the steel repair work. The rivets are located under the bridge in tight areas where access is difficult, requiring at least two more weekends to bust them out.

WSDOT can provide you with industrial strength earplugs if all this racket is causing too many sleepless nights. Call its 24-hour noise hotline, 206-440-4099, for more information.

The work is part of a WSDOT project to install an anti-suicide fence on the outer railing of the bridge. Work began in May.

Unfortunately, there was a recent suicide from the bridge on Sept. 11. One of our readers, Ryan Healy, who lives on 34th across the street from the Lake Washington Rowing Club, and has a view directly of the bridge and water beneath it, e-mailed us to let us know.

I heard her scream and looked up in time to see her hit the water with a loud and large splash. I called 911 and I thought I saw her swimming on the surface. A pleasure boater came to her rescue and pulled her on to the boat but she was motionless. After the police and fire crews arrived and were about finished I walked down near the Lake Washington Rowing Club dock to check on her condition. I asked a fire department official if she was going to be ok. His response was simple: “No.”

This is the second suicide I’ve seen in the past 5 months.

Seattle Police confirmed there was a successful suicide from the bridge that day at about the same time as our reader mentioned, about 1:15 p.m.

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