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Seattle starts work on bridge from market to waterfront

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle has started work on a new pedestrian bridge that will connect Pike Place Market to the downtown waterfront.

Dubbed “Overlook Walk,” the bridge will stretch above Alaskan Way, with one arm descending directly to a new waterfront promenade and another arm extending onto the roof of a new Seattle Aquarium pavilion. Construction on the bridge began last week, the Office of the Waterfront told The Seattle Times. The promenade and the Aquarium’s pavilion for sharks and stingrays are also currently under construction.

The bridge will include slopes and a new elevator in addition to stairs, according to the Office of the Waterfront, which says the space will serve as a sort of “elevated park” with terraced landscaping, native plants, expansive Elliott Bay views, amphitheater-style seats for concerts and a new cafe, plus slides and other “play elements” for children.

The Overlook Walk project is part of a massive redevelopment of Seattle’s downtown waterfront that was made possible by the 2019 removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The price tag for the pedestrian bridge is about $70 million. The cost of the entire redevelopment scheme is more than $750 million, paid for by the city, the state, private donors and a special tax on downtown property owners assessed through a “local improvement district.”

Friends of the Waterfront Seattle, a nonprofit that will manage the operations of the redeveloped waterfront, is supposed to raise $110 million from private donors. The organization had raised $84 million as of December.

The pedestrian bridge, expected to open by 2025, will connect to the “MarketFront” addition to Pike Place Market that was completed in 2017.

There will be two permanent art installations on the bridge: Undulating, puppet-like cloth figures by Ann Hamilton and a Coast Salish basket-inspired sculpture by the MTK Matriarchs, a three-person team.

The City Council voted in 2019 to contribute $34 million in real-estate excise tax revenue to the Aquarium’s $113 million new “Ocean Pavilion.” The Aquarium’s plan for the building, scheduled to open in 2024, calls for a 325,000-gallon tank with sharks, stingrays and fish from the South Pacific.

The waterfront redevelopment also includes a new Alaskan Way with two general-traffic lanes in each direction, plus a bus lane each way and two turn lanes for ferry traffic near Colman Dock.

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