Boeing North Bridge Replacement
Helping Renton and Boeing build planes long into the future
Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Roadways & Bridges
Originally constructed in 1944, the bridge allows the aerospace company to tow its 737 airplanes over the mouth of the Cedar River, near Lake Washington. Boeing transports the planes from its assembly plant to the nearby Renton Municipal Airport where they are prepared for flight. This bridge, which has carried nearly 15,000 Boeing airplanes over the years, is the only avenue for planes to travel to the airport for delivery to their customers.
With the original bridge at the end of its lifespan, Boeing contracted Atkinson to install a temporary bridge for intermediate use, demolish the original bridge, and build a new permanent bridge, all without disrupting airport operations or the flow of airplanes across the river. Even during construction, planes crossed the bridge nearly every day; crews were expected to move equipment and clear debris for the planes' transit on two hours' notice. Adding to the project's complexity, Atkinson's team could only perform work at or below the water line between June 1 and August 15 due to salmon spawning in the river below.
The unique schedule restrictions meant the project would be completed in three seasons of work. During the initial season, Atkinson erected the temporary bridge to handle intermediate airplane crossings. The following season, the team worked around the clock to demolish the original bridge and construct the replacement bridge in the existing footprint. Four months after the second season ended, the first plane crossed the new structure. In the third season, Atkinson demolished the temporary span, removed in-water foundations, and restored the Cedar River shoreline to improve fish habitat.
The project was completed in September 2015.