When Seattle’s waterfront was developed, Elliott Bay lost many of the habitat features associated with its native intertidal habitat, including sloping beaches, crevices, and vegetated hiding places for fish. Restoring the salmon migration corridor and improving ecosystem productivity are important objectives of the Seawall Project. 

One way to improve the fish migratory corridor is by providing more light. The Seawall Project is installing light penetrating sidewalks, which include glass bricks that will allow light to pass through to the water below.  

The concrete panels that make up the new sidewalk are cast off-site, and contain space for about 63 glass bricks.

Concrete panels are lowered into place on top of the zee panels, which support the sidewalks overhanging the water.

This view from below the light penetrating surface panels shows the other habitat improvements installed along the waterfront, including textured face panels, habitat benches, and marine mattresses. From the surface, the complete seawall looks like little more than a new sidewalk, but there are many elements hidden below the surface that provide structural stability and habitat enhancements. 

This sidewalk is strong too, and these glass bricks and sidewalk panels were designed to support the thousands of vehicles that drive onto the ferries at Colman Dock every day.

Check out our Project Snapshot video to see the installation of light penetrating surface panels south of Colman Dock!

For more information about the Seawall Project, visit our website.