Improvements coming to East Marginal Way South in Seattle

RAISE grant provides the final project funding piece

The East Marginal Way South Corridor Improvement Project was awarded $20 million from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity discretionary grants program.

“We’re proud to support these great projects that will improve infrastructure, strengthen supply chains, make us safer, advance equity, and combat climate change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.

The project will rebuild a 1.1-mile segment of East Marginal Way South and upgrade the route to the Heavy Haul Network standard, helping to reduce bottlenecks in the supply chain and improve overall operations along this critical freight route.

“The RAISE grant will improve mobility and safety East Marginal Way South, a critical last-mile connector and vital route for freight. It will help many of the people who work or need to access the state’s largest concentration of industrial and maritime jobs by car, bike or on foot," said Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Sam Zimbabwe. "Thank you to our regional, state, and federal partners for advocating and addressing this great transportation need as we use investment in our transportation infrastructure to advance our community and economic recovery.” 

New pavement will be constructed at higher standards, ensuring heavy freight traffic can be supported and extending the project’s life to 50 years.

Adaptive traffic signals powered by Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique technology will be added to improve the safety and traffic flow of some of Seattle’s busiest freight intersections, reducing travel time for drivers and freight alike. The improved traffic flow will also reduce shipping costs and attract growth in local exports, and reduced idling will reduce air pollution and environmental degradation.

The project will also improve safety for cyclists by constructing a separate, fully protected bike lane and protected intersection crossings. It is an example of the bicycle and freight communities coming together to promote safety, mobility and connectivity.

“East Marginal Way South is not only a vital freight corridor, it also provides a key connection for pedestrians and bicyclists where few alternatives exist,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in a statement. “Separating modes safely within the same corridor aligns with the City’s Vision Zero goals and will make safe and efficient use of this vital area.”

PSRC made one of the first grant contributions to the project for $6 million, including $2 million for the construction of protected bike lanes and $4 million for the project design between S. Atlantic Street and S. Alaska Street.

The additional $20 million in RAISE funding will allow the project north of S. Spokane Street to be completed all at once instead of breaking the construction into phases. By not having to break up construction as money comes in, the project is more economically efficient with fewer impacts on the community.

Construction on the East Marginal Way South Corridor Improvement Project is expected to begin at the end of 2022.