Aurora Bridge

Aurora Bridge Aurora Ave

Bridges of Seattle/Aurora Bridge
VAMONDE Seattle
Written By VAMONDE Seattle

The Aurora Bridge (officially called the George Washington Memorial Bridge) is a cantilever and truss bridge that carries State Route 99 (Aurora Avenue North) over the west end of Seattle's Lake Union and connects Queen Anne and Fremont.

The bridge is 2,945 ft long, 70 ft wide, and 167 ft above the water, and is owned and operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation. The bridge was opened to traffic on February 22, 1932. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Design

It was designed by the Seattle architectural firm Jacobs & Ober, with Ralph Ober as the lead engineer on the project. Ober died in August 1931, of a brain hemorrhage while the bridge was still under construction. Federal funding programs were not yet available, so the bridge was funded by Seattle, King County, and the state of Washington.

The bridge is 2,945 feet long and raised 167 feet above the water. A 150-foot long Warren truss suspended span connects the two cantilevers in the middle. There are also Warren turns spans at either end that connects the cantilevered spans to the highway.

History

The construction on the bridge began in 1931, and it's dedication was held on February 22, 1932, George Washington's 200th birthday. There is a time capsule installed on the bridge by the widow of Judge Thomas Burke. It will be opened in 2032.

The bridge was the final link in what was then called the Pacific Highway (later known as U.S. Route 99), which ran from Canada to Mexico. The bridge crosses the Lake Union section of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Unlike earlier bridges that required a drawbridge, this one is tall enough for ships to pass under.

Did you know?

This was the region's first bridge constructed without streetcar tracks. This helped it earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

If you visit the bridge, make sure to look out for the Fremont Troll under the bridges' north end. It's a large sculpture of a troll with a real Volkswagen Beetle in its clutches. The sculpture was installed in 1990, and made possible by contributions from Seattle's Neighborhood Matching Fund.

In 2007, the bridge was given a sufficiency rating of 55.2% and evaluated to be "better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is". Its foundations and railings met the acceptable standards and no immediate corrective action was needed to improve it. However, it underwent extensive seismic retrofitting in 2011.

By Cumulus Clouds - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3130714

Bridges of Seattle

Aurora Bridge

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