In collaboration with the Data 1 Client, COU, KPFF Civil, and the green rating system Salmon-Safe, Weber Thompson has helped spearhead an effort to improve the health of Lake Union. Stormwater runoff from the Aurora Bridge, the historic roadway structure from 1932 that spans above Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, has been found to be six times as polluted as the national average for roadway runoff. As part of the Data 1 Office project, the design team learned of the lethal effects the runoff was shown to have on the region’s salmon, 5 species of which swim below the bridge during annual spawning runs.
Research from a UW researcher showed that green stormwater infrastructure could neutralize the lethal effects of the pollution, and a larger effort was born to take action to improve our local waterway.
As of the end of 2018, three efforts are underway that will clean over 2 million gallons of water annually from the north span of the Aurora Bridge. Additional investigation has been completed to size and locate infrastructure for the south span of the Aurora Bridge, as well as the five other bridges that cross Lake Union. All totaled, this project seeks to mitigate over 98 million gallons of polluted runoff from entering Lake Union.
The first phase, completed in 2017, is along the east edge of the Data 1 project site. The project redirects the bridge runoff into a series of bioretention cells running alongside the right of way. These planters will be densely planted with vegetation that naturally scrubs stormwater, allowing dissolved pollutants to settle before the water - much cleaner than before - is diverted back into Lake Union. The second phase is under construction as part of the Watershed Office Building, and the third phase, a larger swale sited adjacent to the Burke Gilman Trail, is in design. Additional funding and advocacy has come from The Nature Conservancy and the Boeing Company to ensure continued progress and success of this innovative project.
Rain gardens clean pollution on Seattle's Aurora Bridge
King 5 News
May 27, 2019
Rain garden to filter stormwater runoff from Aurora Bridge
Q13 Fox News
September 20, 2018
Two New Seattle Structures to Include Stormwater Treatment Plans
August 1, 2018
How to filter 2 million gallons of stormwater from the Aurora Bridge
The Nature Conservancy
November 27, 2017
Helping out salmon in Fremont, Seattle, WA
The Bramble Project
August 17, 2017
Don’t question the value of green design — bank on it
Daily Journal of Commerce
June 22, 2017
Rethinking the Right of Way
May 19, 2017
Stormwater Management: Lessons from our Forests
May 15, 2017
Catching the Green Wave
Seattle Business Magazine
August 1, 2016