Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7100 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge (Interstate 5) opens to traffic in December 1962. Essay 3312 : Printer-Friendly Format

In December 1962, the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge (the part of Interstate 5 that connects Seattle's University District to Capitol Hill) opens to traffic. It is at the time the largest bridge of its kind ever built in the Northwest. The giant 4,429-foot bridge was completed in the fall of 1961, more than a year before the freeway of which it formed a part was completed. During its first year, the bridge towered silently over the neighborhoods like a monument to the steel truss bridge.

The first contract made for what was called the Seattle Freeway (now part of Interstate 5) was let in 1958 for constructing the bridge's piers. There were many delays and controversies in completing the project, including labor disputes, a time-consuming process of relocating power lines, and a controversy over the downtown lid part of the project.

It is a steel truss double-deck bridge, which carries eight lanes of traffic on the upper deck and four reversible lanes of traffic on the lower deck. The truss design is the Warren truss, composed of diagonals placed alternatively in tension and compression. Twelve painters with nerves of steel painted the bridge by hand. They applied 10,000 gallons of undercoat and linseed oil topcoat.

Paul Dorpat and Genevieve McCoy, Building Washington: A History of Washington State Public Works (Seattle: Tartu Publications, 1998), 131.

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Special Suite: Bridges |

Related Topics: Roads & Rails | Seattle Neighborhoods |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
The SCHOONER Project:
The Hon. Jan Drago
Seattle City Council
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge (Interstate 5) over Lake Union, with University Bridge below, and Eastlake neighborhood, 1962
Courtesy MOHAI

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email