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caption: The view of the Alaskan Way seawall in Seattle from the giant ferris wheel.
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The view of the Alaskan Way seawall in Seattle from the giant ferris wheel.
Credit: Flickr Photo/Nicola

Seattle’s Waterfront Park closes permanently after inching out to sea

Another bit of Seattle infrastructure is tearing apart and has closed for good.

City officials have permanently closed downtown Seattle’s Pier 58, also known as Waterfront Park.

“This pier is failing and we need to remove it,” Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said. “We just need to remove it faster than anticipated.”

The closed pier sits between two tourist attractions: the Seattle Great Wheel and the Seattle Aquarium. Both remain open.

City officials have been planning to replace Pier 58, built in 1973, for years. Design of a replacement pier is more than half complete, and the $65 million project is fully funded.

On Thursday, inspectors found the pier had shifted several inches out to sea, leaving a visible gap in the sidewalk and severing a water line. The park was quickly fenced off to the public.

“The pier’s not going to reopen to the public,” Aguirre announced Tuesday. Construction of a new pier is slated to begin in 2022 and finish in 2024.

City officials said during a press conference Pier 58’s movement had not affected neighboring properties, though some could be damaged if action is not taken quickly.

Aguirre said engineers were evaluating the risk to the pier’s southern neighbor, Pier 57, which supports tourist shops and a 175-foot Ferris wheel. Parts of the two piers are interconnected.

Seattle Department of Transportation director Sam Zimbabwe said the mile-long Elliott Bay Seawall, built in 2017 to accommodate decades of sea level rise, was in good shape and has not shifted.