Ship Canal Water Quality Project update 9/08/2023

Seattle Public Utilities and King County logos - white
ship canal logo

All hands on deck! Teamwork makes the dream work.

Project team members gathered to celebrate as MudHoney reached the Wallingford shaft.

Project team members gathered to celebrate as MudHoney reached the Wallingford shaft.

How do you build an underground storage tunnel and near-surface structures in five different neighborhoods that is paid for by two government agencies and is next to several private development projects, while keeping the impacts to the community as minimal as possible? Teamwork and communication. While it may look like it’s all ‘build build build’ on the project, behind the scenes there are a lot of meetings, emails, and phone calls taking place. Our team works closely with various departments in the City of Seattle, our partner agency King County, contractors building private developments, and businesses near our project sites.

If you’ve driven by our Wallingford site, you know there is no shortage of construction (both ours and other projects) happening. Folks from city departments, contractors, and private developers involved in construction projects in this area meet to coordinate detours, closures, and upcoming work, every few weeks or more frequently as needed. These meetings, as well as getting feedback from the community, have resulted in things like shorter detour routes, a few new bike racks, and clearer signage for business access (just to name a few).

By having our “all hands on deck” approach, we can address the needs of the community while we all work to meet the needs of our separate projects.


Wallingford detour changes, North Transfer Station trucking route and hours update

As of August 31, we have opened N 34th St.

N 35th St is now closed. We understand that traffic is a challenge in the first few days of a new detour, and we are keeping an eye on neighborhood impacts as people adjust to the new changes. We have updated detour maps for this change in Wallingford. Please follow all detour signage and safety directions when traveling through the work area.

During this closure, the North Transfer Station team will need to temporarily move their operation for hauling solid waste out of the station as their normal access on N 35th St will be blocked by construction. They are also changing their hours for trucks hauling waste away from the station to between 5:30 pm and 7:30 am, 7 days a week. For the next several months, trucks will exit the station eastbound on N 34th St to connect to Wallingford Ave N, where they will head northbound to N 45th St. From N 45th St, they will either connect to Highway 99 or I-5. Flaggers will be on N 34th St from 6 am to 8 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm to help control traffic and direct trucks out of the gate. These trucks require a significant turn radius. Please yield to truck traffic when possible or as directed by a flagger. 

North Transfer Station operation hours will remain the same.

Visit our project website to learn more about the project and check out our Flickr albums for recent construction photos.


Crews continue to dismantle, clean, and remove the equipment that was needed to build the tunnel.

You should anticipate:

  • Nighttime truck movements may be necessary to remove the particularly large equipment over the next few months
  • Noise and vibrations typical of a construction site

Crews continue working two shifts, 20 hours a day, six days a week. Some work may occur on Sundays.


East Ballard

Crews continue to build the adit and install conveyance pipe on NW 45th St, and build the isolation maintenance hole structure on 11th Ave NW.

Local closures and detours:

  • There continues to be a one-lane traffic configuration on 11th Ave NW at NW 45th St. Traffic signals and flaggers will direct traffic at the intersection during single lane closures.
  • NW 45th St remains closed to traffic between 11th Ave NW and 9th Ave NW. Vehicles must detour onto NW 46th St.
  • Burke-Gilman Trail (BGT) remains detoured to the north side of NW 45th St through the project area. For safety, bicyclists should either dismount or cross train tracks at a 90-degree angle. Please take extra caution in wet weather as ramps may be slippery.

You should anticipate:

  • Heavy equipment in the area
  • Noise and vibrations typical of a construction site

Regular work hours will be Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 6 pm. Night and weekend work may occur.



Crews continue to build the permanent structure inside the shaft and install the pipes that connect the conveyance tunnel to the storage tunnel. They also continue to build the walls for the large underground mechanical and electrical vault.

Crews continue installing the vent shaft which connects to the top of our new 18-ft diameter tunnel underneath Leary Way NW at N 36th St.

Local closures and detours:

  • The two southernmost lanes of Leary Way NW are closed. One lane of traffic in each direction is being maintained. This configuration should remain in place 24/7 for approximately two more weeks. After that, the two southernmost lanes will be closed between 9 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday for continued utility work. One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained.
  • In October, there will be short-term overnight work to connect the new watermain to the existing system. We will share more when we have details on this work.
  • On 2nd Ave NW, between Leary Way NW and NW Canal St, the street remains closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic through 2023
  • NW Canal St is open to two-way traffic during this closure
  • NW 36th St, between Leary Way NW and 3rd Ave NW, remains closed through 2023
  • Pedestrian detours are in place on Leary Way NW; please follow all detour guidance

You should anticipate:

  • Truck traffic on Leary Way NW as trucks bring materials and equipment to and from the site
  • Concrete trucks entering and leaving the site
  • Fans running during work hours to provide fresh air to crews working in the shaft
  • Heavy equipment in the area
  • Noise and vibrations typical of a construction site

Regular work hours will be Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 6 pm; and some Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm.



Westbound N 34th St including the left turn lane from Northlake Way onto westbound N 34th St has been reopened as of August 31. See our new detour routes for cyclists and pedestrians in our detour maps.

As of Tuesday, September 5, N 35th St between Stone Way N and Interlake Ave N and the intersection of N 35th St and Stone Way N is closed. 

Metro bus routes 31, 32, and 62 have been detoured. Please view service advisories on King County Metro’s website.

Vehicle detour:

  • Check out the vehicle detour map
  • Traffic will be detoured via N 40th St and Wallingford Ave N, and via Woodland Park Ave N
  • An all-way stop is installed at N 34th St and Woodland Park Ave N
  • The all-way stops remain in place at Woodland Park Ave N and N 35th St and also at Wallingford Ave and N 35th St 
  • Stone Way N between N 34th St and N 35th St remains closed to vehicles and bicycles
  • Please adhere to the Road Closed, Local Access Only, and Traffic Revision Ahead signage and follow marked detour routes

Bicycle detour

  • Check out the bicycle and pedestrian detour map
  • Bicyclists are detoured to the west on N 35th St and to the south on Woodland Park Ave N
  • Access to the Burke Gilman Trail is on N 34th St at Stone Way N and at Troll Ave N
  • Please dismount and walk if you use the sidewalk

You should anticipate:

  • Trucks coming in and out of the site
  • Heavy equipment in the area
  • Vibrations typical of a construction site
  • Road and periodic sidewalk closures

Crews will resume working a single day shift, Monday through Friday. Night and weekend work may occur periodically.


Queen Anne

Crews continue to build the permanent structure and install conveyance pipe and an air duct inside the shaft.

Local closures and detours:

  • Localized Ship Canal Trail detour at least through 2023 (see map). Please continue to remain alert when moving through this area.
  • West Ewing Mini Park parking closure through 2023

You should anticipate:

  • Trucks coming in and out of the site
  • Heavy equipment in the area
  • Noise and vibrations typical of a construction site

Regular work hours will be Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 6 pm. Night and weekend work may occur.

Construction Safety is Everyone’s Job

Check out some top safety tips at

Contact Us

Please email with questions or comments or call our hotline at (206) 701-0233. You can also find information online at To support the community during active tunneling, we have changed our hotline hours to 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday.

Visit Project Website