McGraw Street Bridge closed for seismic retrofit

Mary Chapman Cole

The McGraw Street Bridge was closed on Jan. 29 in order to receive seismic retrofitting. 

The City of Seattle has funded this construction work thanks to the Levy to Move Seattle, which was approved by voters in 2015. Detour signs will be placed on 2nd Avenue North and Nob Hill Avenue North.

The two-lane McGraw Street bridge (or the “Gully Bridge” as we called it growing up) was constructed over the Wolf Creek Ravine in 1936. Although it wears its 88 years well, the foundation of the bridge needs reinforcing to better withstand any earthquake activity.

The current construction project will take approximately 8 months to complete, and will include: installing carbon fiber wrapping around the bridge's crossbeams, arches, and columns; adding a concrete infill wall around the existing arch underneath the bridge deck; repairing damaged or cracked concrete; and adding concrete blocks and supportive shells to the bridge's columns and crossbeams.

This is the second bridge to span this part of the ravine over the last 110 years. The first was a wooden trestle bridge built in 1914 to complete the boulevard around the hill, part of the original parks plan designed by the Olmsted Brothers. By 1935, the wooden McGraw Street bridge had become alarmingly rickety and warranted a full replacement.

Fortunately, the current bridge was constructed with more robust materials and won't need such drastic intervention. It is a designated city landmark along with the entire Queen Anne Boulevard.

For more information and construction updates, visit:

Mary Chapman Cole is a board member of the Queen Anne Historical Society