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Trail Alert 12/4–1/31: Seattle Parks begins repair work on old, bumpy sections of the Burke-Gilman

Be prepared for detours on the Burke-Gilman Trail in NE Seattle over the next two months.

Seattle Parks is making much-needed repairs to 13 segments of this aging, bumpy and extremely popular trail, starting with the divided stretch of trail that runs through a sunken area between 40th Ave NE and NE 65th Street.

All work is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, weather depending.


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You can see Seattle Parks’ planned detour routes in these maps:


The Burke-Gilman Trail is a multi-agency trail spanning multiple jurisdictions and departments. Even within Seattle, responsibility is divided among many agencies. Some stretches in Seattle are under the purview of the Seattle Department of Transportation, some are maintained by the University of Washington, and others (typically the older parts) fall under the Parks Department.

In 2015, Seattle assessed the condition of city trails using a bike specially outfitted to measure bumps. That data is informing these investments in repairs, funded in large part by the voter-approved Seattle Parks District.

More details from Seattle Parks:

Seattle Parks and Recreation has completed the planning and design phase for maintenance improvements on the Burke Gilman Trail in northeast Seattle. The project went to bid in summer 2017 and the contract was awarded to Westwater Construction. Construction begins December 4, 2017. We will be working on 13 segments of the trail that range in length from 5 ft. to 150 ft.

Seattle Parks and Recreation worked with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to determine detour routes for the repairs. This project repairs sections of the trail, removes areas of asphalt in disrepair, removes invasive roots that are causing upheaval, and replaces those areas with new asphalt. Trail sections were determined by 2015 condition assessment work done in collaboration with SDOT and reconfirmed in spring 2017.

Depending on the weather, construction will start Monday, December 4, 2017. The first detour will be from 40th Ave NE to NE 65th St (the longest section in the current construction project). The section will be closed weekdays, during the day (7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) while construction work is being done. There will be places where the asphalt has been removed in this section so please use caution when passing through this area.

Depending on the weather, work in all construction areas should be completed by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience.


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11 responses to “Trail Alert 12/4–1/31: Seattle Parks begins repair work on old, bumpy sections of the Burke-Gilman”

  1. Josh

    Seems like an excellent time to upgrade intersections in the affected area — will old, noncompliant bollards and signs be upgraded to comply with modern safety standards and agree with legal right-of-way assignment?

  2. Damon

    I wonder if something similar is coming to the stretch by the ship canal in Fremont. The bumps are astounding, there, and a few weeks ago someone marked and numbered them in white paint.

    1. Nick v

      I just always skip through the Google campus these days, the only problem is there is a parking lot on the west end.

    2. nettles

      I came here to wonder the same thing too – I just slow down but would be nice not too all the time. Those bumps are so big!!

    3. Skylar

      I was thinking the same thing as well. There’s a seriously awful patch just east of the SPU sports fields that I’ve been worried will jolt my teeth loose. Fortunately it’s been that way for over 10 years so if I’m paying attention and there’s enough room I remember to avoid it.

    4. Observant

      There’s a sign, just west of the Google/Tableau complex in Fremont, that states that the Burke Gilman is going to be closed this Saturday, the 9th, pretty much all day. That’s not enough to repave, but hopefully they’ll grind down the jarring root upheavals.

      Of course, it could just be some fun run or the building owners closing down one of the most important multi use trails in the County.

  3. I think this includes the part of the trail where the surface is split across a tree-lined median, so… I hope they can introduce some sort of reflective elements where the path splits on either side, guiding the way. Even with excellent headlights it’s not easy to see the median split on wet nights. Yellow flex-posts with yellow reflectors stuck in along the edges of the ends of the median would be my suggestion. Maybe others near crossings, and maybe a few periodically along the way, in patterns similar to reflector posts on unlit rural roads (which generally follow the color conventions of lane lines).

    Of course this is doubly true all along the Elliot Bay Trail, which has even worse nighttime visibility problems.

  4. Rich

    They promise this every year, but never do it. Except last year (the exception that proves the rule), I don’t think they promised it.

    The key phrase is “Depending on the weather”. Guess what, the weather will suck, because it is winter in the Northwest!

    1. Gary Anderson

      Looks like they will need to find a different excuse this year since the weather looks great for the next ten days or so. Uhh, can’t find the keys to the paving machine, forgot to order the asphalt, ….

      1. Rich

        I stand corrected – they were working on 3 & 4 on the map yesterday (and maybe 1 &2; I didn’t go that far south). They are replacing sections, rather than grinding and patching.

  5. Gary Anderson

    I wish they would redo the low sunken area with the single track southbound and double track northbound, and just have one 12′ wide path. The current southbound single track makes it difficult or impossible to pass slower trail users. Probably beyond the scope of a repair/repave project.

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