SEATTLE (September 7, 2016) – Mayor Ed Murray, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell today applauded the approval of $45 million in federal grant funds for the City’s South Lander Street Bridge Project. After a 60-day congressional review period, the US Department of Transportation finalized its FASTLANE Grant Program’s recommendations with the Lander Street Project receiving the largest grant award in Washington state.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) project seeks to construct a long sought after bridge on South Lander Street over the railroad tracks between First and Fourth Avenues South in Seattle’s SODO district to improve traffic operations, freight mobility, and safety. The project especially supports mobility for the local manufacturing sector, promoting middle class, family-wage jobs that support economic vitality in the Puget Sound region.
“The South Lander Street Bridge project is critical for creating a safer, more mobile SODO neighborhood for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles in this key freight corridor,” said Mayor Murray. “This project has long been identified as a high priority, with Seattle voters approving $20 million in dedicated funding through the Move Seattle levy in 2015. Thank you to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for their leadership at the federal level and the U.S. Department of Transportation for contributing to this important infrastructure project that will promote safer mobility and protect family-wage jobs in the industrial heart of Seattle.”
“This investment will produce real results—not only for the city of Seattle, but for our entire state’s economy,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray. “I’m proud to see the federal government being a good partner to our state and our communities, and I will continue to push for investments that help our transportation systems become safer, more efficient, and able to meet the demands of our 21st century economy.”
“Washington state’s economy and regional jobs depend on being able to move freight quickly and efficiently,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. “At Lander Street alone, Washington state loses $9.5 million a day in economic activity because of train, truck, and urban traffic congestion. By addressing this bottleneck, we will speed up freight movement to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, fuel our export economy and generate significant job growth.”
South Lander Street is an essential east-west corridor serving Port of Seattle freight, commuters, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as King County Metro buses. Every day, South Lander Street is closed for more than 4.5 hours due to rail traffic, impacting approximately 13,000 vehicles that use the street daily. More than 16 percent of those are buses, trucks serving the Port of Seattle or vehicles supporting local manufacturing.
The new bridge will provide safe connections for 1,400 pedestrians daily, primarily traversing between the SODO light rail station and area employers. This project will remove all at-grade access to the tracks at that location, completely eliminating the safety risk. In the past five years, three fatalities have occurred between trains and pedestrians there and an average of 485 track violations occur daily as cars, pedestrians and bicycles cross the tracks when the safety gates are deployed.
The new Federal FASTLANE Grant Program was created by Senator Cantwell as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and passed by Congress in late 2015 to fund critical freight and highway projects across the country.
The $45 million grant award, combined with $20 million from the City’s Move Seattle Levy and contributions from other grants and funding partners, brings the City within $40 million of full funding for the $140 million Lander Street project. The new four-lane bridge will provide a reliable east-west connection for all modes of traffic, improving safety and mobility in the area. The project will break ground in early 2018, pending receipt of remaining funding.
For more information about the South Lander Street Bridge Project, please visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/lander_bridge.htm.