About the project

Marion Street Bridge provides an essential pedestrian connection between the Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock and major destinations in downtown Seattle, including places where people work, shop, hop on transit and enjoy the waterfront. The bridge is utilized by the majority of the more than 5 million foot passengers who use the ferry system at Colman Dock annually. As part of the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and reconstruction of Alaskan Way, the City of Seattle, in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), will rebuild the portion of the Marion Street Bridge that crosses Alaskan Way, from Colman Dock to the east side of Alaskan Way.

The new Marion Street Bridge will:

  • Maintain the elevated pedestrian connection to the Colman Dock facility with a wider and cleaner-looking bridge structure that complements the improvements and enhancements in pedestrian experience and street operations provided by the reconstructed Colman Dock Terminal and Waterfront redevelopment
  • Incorporate a bridge design that is cost-effective and durable, and that enhances the waterfront as a place for people
  • Facilitate movement between various modes of travel at the Colman Dock hub, including ferries, regional and local bus transit, Center City streetcar, private bus service, taxis and ride services and private vehicle pick-up and drop-off

Project timeline

WSDOT will construct a temporary pedestrian bridge spanning Alaskan Way at Columbia Street as part of the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, connecting to the existing bridge at Marion St and Western Ave. The temporary elevated pedestrian bridge is needed to facilitate the reconstruction of the northern portion of Colman Dock; the temporary bridge is expected to be in place by summer 2019. 

Design of new permanent Marion Street Bridge is at 30% completion. Construction of the new permanent bridge is anticipated to begin in fall 2021 and be complete by the end of 2022. The timing for construction of the bridge will be coordinated closely with the Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock Project and the potential redevelopment of the Commuter Building, to both of which the bridge either provides access or is adjacent. 

Benefits

The City is working closely with WSDOT to ensure the Marion Street Bridge is cost-effective, durable and fits with the context of the Colman Dock and the central waterfront. 

The new permanent Marion Street Bridge will be a cast-in-place post-tensioned haunched concrete structure. Key features include:

  • 16-foot clear width (increase from current 11-foot clear width)
  • Wide concrete sides with integrated pedestrian railings on top
  • Efficient and functional concrete design
  • New bridge lighting
  • Shallow bridge depth to create a slender vertical profile for the bridge

The bridge will provide easy pedestrian access to transit connections, shops and more at Colman Dock. Design of the Colman Dock Entry Building is still in development by Washington State Ferries.

New bridge lighting will improve the nighttime experience. Design of the Colman Dock Entry Building is still in development by Washington State Ferries.

Marion Street Bridge history

Plans for construction of a footbridge at Marion Street began as early as 1908 to provide pedestrian access over multiple rail lines, which was aptly called Railroad Avenue. According to the news reports at the time, steamship workers along the waterfront experienced complications and delays from freight and passenger trains holding up traffic, and pedestrian accidents occurred along the crossing. Construction of this early “Railroad Avenue Bridge” was completed in 1909, and the bridge spanned from the southwest corner of Marion Street and 1st Avenue to the west side of Railroad Avenue. The eastern portion of the bridge was constructed with concrete and steel while the western portion was constructed with wood. After construction, between 4,000 and 5,000 people used the bridge daily to make their way to the business district.

In 1952, the original bridge was removed and rebuilt approximately 12 feet to the south of the original location. This gave way to the current Marion Street Bridge, which is comprised of three segments built between 1950 and 1970, starting with the western segment over Alaskan Way all the way to 1st Avenue. During Seawall construction, a segment of the span over Alaskan Way was replaced with a temporary structure to minimize conflicts with construction equipment.

Related documents

In spring 2016, the Office of the Waterfront and Washington State Ferries conducted a series of outreach events sharing information on the multimodal ferry terminal at Colman Dock, the Marion Street Bridge and the overall Waterfront Seattle Program. Information shared during these events as well as presentations to the Seattle Design Commission are available below.