Seattle, 1961: Ironworkers Construct the Ship Canal Bridge Bringing I-5 Over Portage Bay

The double-decker steel bridge was built in time for the 1962 World's Fair.

November 16, 2017

John Levesque


Ironworkers in this photograph were installing one of the final pieces of steel on the Ship Canal Bridge carrying Interstate Highway 5 over Portage Bay.

The bridge was completed in 1961, but other parts of the I-5 complex in Seattle werent finished, so the span didnt open until December 1962.

Since the bridge couldnt handle vehicle traffic during the 1962 Worlds Fair, some visionaries, perhaps seeing 55 years into the future, briefly wondered about using it as a parking lot for fairgoers.

Nearly a mile long 4,429 feet, to be precise the double-deck steel bridge soars 182 feet above the Lake Washington Ship Canal, connecting Capitol Hill on the south to the University District on the north.

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This article appears in the November 2017 issue.

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