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Pier 57 deemed safe to reopen as progress is made on Pier 58 removal

The Seattle Great Wheel, located on Pier 57, is lit up in blue to honor essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Pier 57 has been approved to reopen as the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) has lifted the red tag on the privately-owned pier.

The city had temporarily closed Pier 57 in September due to its proximity to the failing Pier 58 structure, deeming it unsafe for public use. Thanks to progress on the removal of Pier 58, SDCI was able to remove the red tag on the neighboring pier, which is home to Miner’s Landing and the Great Wheel.

Closure of two Seattle piers hurting waterfront businesses

Pier 58 is owned by the city and will be rebuilt as part of the Waterfront Seattle project. Earlier this month, a large piece of concrete was removed, which mitigates the risk to Pier 57, says the city’s structural engineer advising the project.

“The potential hazard to Pier 57 has been eliminated by the successful removal of key portions of Pier 58 immediately to the north,” said Nathan Torgelson, director of the SDCI. “Our inspectors have coordinated with the City’s engineering consultant and inspected Pier 57 to confirm it can be safely reopened.”

A release from the city says approximately 90% of Pier 58 has been removed. The timber deck has been fully removed, along with many of the pier piles and the southern portion of the concrete terrace, ramps and stairs. Remaining work includes concrete demolition, pile removal, the salvaging of materials, and removal of elements from the water.

“Removing the southern terrace of Pier 58 and lifting the red tag on Pier 57 are important steps forward for the waterfront,” said Marshall Foster, Director of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects. “We appreciate the support and understanding of Pier 57, the Seattle Aquarium, and the entire waterfront community as we moved quickly to respond to this emergency.”

Hal Griffith, owner of Pier 57 and Miner’s Landing, is looking forward welcoming the public back, with plans in the works for a grand re-opening.

“We are excited to welcome everyone back to Pier 57. We are bringing back staff, re-stocking our restaurants and planning for a fun and safe grand re-opening with more announcements to come,” Griffith said.

When shifting was observed at Pier 58 and it was deemed unsafe for the public, removal of the pier started earlier than originally anticipated. However, funding for the pier replacement had already been secured as part of the Waterfront Seattle project. The redesign will include a public plaza, large lawn, and a children’s playground. It’s also designed to improve the salmon habitat and migration corridor.

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