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SR 99 - Aurora Ave - George Washington Memorial Br 99/560 (Stage 1)

This project is in construction
A small map showing the location of the SR 99 Aurora Bridge, which will be painted beginning the summer of 2015 to preserve structural integrity of the bridge and extend its lifespan. 
View larger map

A small picture showing the project sign just prior to the bridge work on SR 99 in Seattle.

Crews install a sign on the Aurora Bridge to inform drivers of the bridge work.

An aerial view of the SR 99 Aurora Avenue Bridge in Seattle.
An aerial view of the SR 99 Aurora Avenue Bridge looking south across Lake Union toward downtown Seattle.

See more photos of the SR 99 bridge and which portions will be painted.

This photo shows the paint that is peeling away from the SR 99 Aurora Avenue Bridge.
This photo shows the typical condition of the paint on the SR 99 Aurora Avenue Bridge, flaking and peeling away.

A view of the underside of the SR 99 Aurora Avenue Bridge in Seattle shows the paint deterioration, grime and moss that's built up over the years.
The view of the SR 99 Aurora Avenue Bridge from directly below. The paint chipping, moss and grime build-up is apparent in this photo.


January 2017

  • Bridge painting work is complete.

In summer 2015, contractor crews working for the WSDOT began the first phase of a project to clean and paint portions of the SR 99 George Washington Memorial Bridge, which is more popularly and commonly known as the Aurora Avenue Bridge. Crews will also paint and repair the original pedestrian rail and make other repairs where the steel has decayed.

The bridge is a designated City of Seattle landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Why is WSDOT cleaning and painting portions of the bridge?
Built in 1931, the Aurora Avenue Bridge is 85 years old. Time and weather take a toll on anything that is exposed to the elements for decades, including a steel truss bridge.

Bridges need to be regularly cleaned and painted to preserve their integrity and keep them in good working condition. The Aurora Avenue Bridge was last painted in 1984. The paint is now flaking and peeling away, exposing the steel to the elements which has resulted in rust and corrosion.

What is being cleaned, painted and repaired?
The contractor crew will clean and paint the steel pieces known as floor beams and stringers. The floor beams are large sections of steel under the concrete deck. They run the width of the bridge. The stringers are slightly smaller and connect to the floor beams and run lengthwise under the bridge deck. Check the photos to see what stringers and floor beams look like. The bridge trusses and piers will not be painted during this project. However, the contractor crew will repaint the original pedestrian handrail and replace decayed steel. 

How will the work be done?
Due to the bridge's size and height, the work will be done in stages. In each stage, the contractor crew will encase a section of the bridge with a containment system to protect the surrounding areas from exposure to construction activities that will include cleaning, painting, debris and cleanup. The contractors will strip the paint, clean areas, apply new primer and then paint. As sections are completed, the crew will move to another area of the bridge and repeat the process. The crews will work from a platform they will install below the bridge deck.
The painting work is temperature sensitive. Most of the work will be done during the spring, summer and fall months of 2015 through 2017.

What should drivers expect?
Cleaning and painting the bridge will require crews to work both day and night.

Daytime work will mostly be done below the bridge deck where drivers won't be affected. Nighttime work will require some lane and ramp closures on and below the bridge. 

What should cyclists and pedestrians expect?
Signed detours will move both cyclists and pedestrians to the southbound sidewalk through September 2016 while the northbound sidewalk is closed.

The End Result
A portion of the bridge will have a new coat of paint that will help prolong the life of the structure by protecting it from rust, corrosion and the birds that frequently nest on the bridge.

Project Benefits

  • Preservation: This work helps protect the bridge from corrosion while preserving the bridge's structural integrity.
  • Economic: This bridge is part of an important commute and freight corridor in Seattle. Maintaining the bridge is more cost-efficient that replacing it. Maintained properly, the bridge will continue to keep up with the high demand of traffic for years to come.
  • Safety: Repairs to the original pedestrian rail improves safety for the walkers, runners and cyclists who regularly cross the span.

What is the project timeline?

  • March 2015 - Advertised for competitive bidding.
  • May 2015 - Awarded to Hercules Painting Co., Inc.
  • Summer 2015 - Construction begins.
  • Winter 2016 - Construction scheduled to be complete.

Financial Information

Financial Data for PIN 109947B
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $18,708
CWA $0
Total $18,708

Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.

How can I get more information?
Dave Lindberg
WSDOT Project Engineer

Kris Olsen
WSDOT communications

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