Seattle City Council committee approves resolution to ‘Lid I-5’

Sep 7, 2023, 5:31 AM | Updated: 7:59 am

I-5 lid city council...

The future of proposed lid over I-5 in Seattle remains unclear. (Photo: Lid I-5)

(Photo: Lid I-5)

After being talked about for years, the Seattle City Council took steps Tuesday to start the process of building a ‘lid’ over Interstate 5 (I-5) with a vote supporting the development of the lids.

The council’s Public Assets and Homeless Committee voted to approve Resolution 32100, which supports the development of lids across I-5. The vote was 3-0 with two abstentions.

The resolution, in part, states the city “supports efforts to lid (I-5) where feasible within the city limits, including but not limited to the area between South Dearborn Street and Thomas Street, and the area between NE 45th Street and NE 50th Street.”

The legislation also says the council supports city agencies working with the state of Washington, the Federal Highway Administration and federal and state elected officials in several areas, including the effort to “seek federal grants, including a federal Reconnecting Communities grant, to continue technical work and engagement …”

More on the ‘Lid I-5’ project

The project aims to cover, or “lid,” stretches of I-5 to expand space for urban development, address the city’s housing crisis, reduce traffic noise, and beautify the city. A five-acre lid already exists between Union and Seneca Street, this project would extend that.

More lid construction: SR 520 Montlake project moves one step closer to finish line

The effort to cover over I-5 through downtown Seattle has been underway for a few years, and the city previously expressed support for the idea by funding a design process for the monumental project.

The city selected WSP, “a global engineering firm with extensive local experience,” to determine the feasibility of lidding I-5 between Denny Way and Madison Street in downtown Seattle.

A $1.5 million public benefit payment from the Washington State Convention Center took a closer look at lid design, planning, permitting, and capital funding. The study was released in 2020, examining other ‘lidding’ projects around the country and how Seattle could present unique challenges, particularly around hills and the on/off ramps.

The study estimated that the total cost of the lid would be between $1-3 billion, which could come from federal and state grants, as well as funding from the city.

More on I-5: Vehicle driving wrong way led to collision, major backup in Seattle

Recently, Washington State Sen. Marko Liias, who also is the chair of the transportation committee spoke to Dave Ross on Seattle Morning News about the project brought forward by the community group Lid I-5.

While lidding is just one of the many proposals to handle, it would be a big investment in the area along with other big infrastructure investments Liias plans to make in his Move Ahead Washington bill.

In the Aug. 2 meeting of the Public Assets & Homelessness Committee, a resolution was passed to support the construction of the I-5 lid project, directing city departments to work with state and federal groups to start the project.

Contributing: Steve Coogan

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Seattle City Council committee approves resolution to ‘Lid I-5’