Seattle’s Waterfront Park closed due to shifting at Pier 58

Aug 12, 2020, 7:44 AM
shark tank, pier 58...
The Seattle Aquarium on Elliott Bay. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Pier 58 on Seattle’s downtown waterfront has been closed and fenced off after officials discovered that it is shifting, creating a gap between the pier and the land. The pier, known as Waterfront Park, is located between the Seattle Aquarium and the Great Wheel.

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“It’s shifting in several different places. The piers are separate from each other, so … this pier’s not attached to the aquarium pier, it’s not attached to the pier to the south,” said Jesus Aguirre, superintendent for Seattle Parks and Recreation. “But obviously, it’s moving and shifting, there could be some impact there if we don’t move quickly.”

The pier will need to be replaced. City officials say the seawall, however, which was replaced just a few years ago, is fine.

“Pier 58 is next to the Elliott Bay seawall, which is a separate structure. And that structure is in good shape and has not shifted along with the pier,” said Sam Zimbabwe, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation.

While officials in Seattle did know that Pier 58 would eventually need to be replaced, they didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

“We are going to remove it at an accelerated rate,” Aguirre said. “So it is enough of an emergency where we felt compelled to fence it off, secure it, and not allow public on it any longer. It’s clear to us that this will need to be removed.”

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Funding for the pier replacement had previously been secured as part of the Waterfront Seattle project. Pier 58 was already in the process of being designed, with removal of the existing pier and construction of a new pier planned for 2022. The redesign includes a public plaza, large lawn, and a children’s playground. It’s also designed to improve the salmon habitat and migration corridor. Miner’s Landing and the Seattle Aquarium will not close.

Pier 62, which was also replaced in the building of a new central waterfront, is expected to open later this year.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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Seattle’s Waterfront Park closed due to shifting at Pier 58