University Bridge (Seattle)

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University Bridge
University Bridge-1.JPG
University Bridge from the west; part of the Ship Canal Bridge is visible in the top right corner
Coordinates 47°39′11″N 122°19′12″W / 47.6531°N 122.32°W / 47.6531; -122.32Coordinates: 47°39′11″N 122°19′12″W / 47.6531°N 122.32°W / 47.6531; -122.32
Carries Eastlake Avenue
Crosses Portage Bay
Locale Seattle, Washington
Design Bascule bridge
Longest span 66 m (217 ft)[citation needed]


University Bridge
Location Spans Lake Washington Ship Canal,
Seattle, Washington
Coordinates 47°39′11.1″N 122°19′12.4″W / 47.653083°N 122.320111°W / 47.653083; -122.320111Coordinates: 47°39′11.1″N 122°19′12.4″W / 47.653083°N 122.320111°W / 47.653083; -122.320111
Built 1915–1919
MPS Historic Bridges/Tunnels in Washington State TR
NRHP reference # 82004254[1]
Added to NRHP July 16, 1982

The University Bridge is a double-leaf bascule bridge in Seattle, Washington that carries Eastlake Avenue traffic over Portage Bay between Eastlake to the south and the University District to the north. Built in 1919, it has an opening span of 66 meters (217 feet). The bridge was remodeled in 1933 and was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.


On May 2, 2007, a 24-inch (61 cm) water main broke near the south end of the University Bridge, creating a 10-foot-deep (3.0 m) sinkhole forcing the closure of the bridge.[2] The sinkhole also swallowed two unoccupied parked cars. The water main break compromised water quality and pressure in a large part of the Eastlake neighborhood, making tap water brown and unpotable. Many restaurants and other businesses were forced to close. There was concern for the integrity of a 40-inch main adjacent to the smaller one that broke. With the bridge closed, surface traffic between Seattle's University District and Downtown areas was heavily impacted. It was reopened on May 3, 2007, after city workers poured about 40 cubic yards of stabilizing concrete-sand slurry around the southern base of the bridge.[3]

Occupy Seattle[edit]

On November 17, 2011, the University Bridge was shut down by demonstrators for about an hour and a half during the evening rush hour, snarling traffic around the University District. The demonstrators included Occupy Seattle protesters, students, union workers, and church leaders. The protests were part of a national Day of Action against cuts to infrastructure, health care, and education spending.[4]



  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Massive sinkhole swallows cars, shuts down water service in Eastlake, Seattle P-I, May 2, 2007, retrieved 2009-03-21 
  3. ^ U. Bridge open again after repairs, Seattle Times, May 3, 2007, retrieved 2009-03-21 
  4. ^ Mike Lindblom (November 17, 2011). "University Bridge seized in rush-hour rally for jobs". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 

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