On Monday, the infamous pit at the garbage-transfer station in Wallingford will exhale its last smelly breath.

The transfer facility on North 34th Street will shut down at 5:30 p.m.
so that a more efficient and modernized version can be built in its place over the next two years.

In the interim, residential and commercial users of the North Transfer Station will need to trek their old tires, shot appliances, yard debris and other garbage down to the new South Transfer Station in South Park, which was just completed last year.

The new north station will be markedly different from the one there now, featuring many of the same amenities that were added to the new south station.

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Chief among them: Instead of dumping their garbage into a deep and massive pit, users will be able to deposit it onto
a flat floor — a safer option for customers and employees alike, said Ingrid Goodwin, a public-information officer for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).

Other new features: separate dumping areas for commercial trucks and self-haulers, translucent panels on the building to let in more natural light, misting systems to control odors and dust and solar panels on the roof.

Unlike the current station, which is open on the sides where customers drive in and out, the new station will be enclosed.

And the entire campus will expand east to Woodlawn Avenue North to make room for the station’s own separate recycling facility.

The north-station reconstruction is estimated to cost $92.4 million, according to Goodwin.

Ken Snipes, SPU’s director of solid-waste operations, said the north-station construction is the second phase in a three-phase project that began with the new south station.

The third phase, Snipes said, will be to transform the old South Transfer Station, which still stands near the new one at that site, into a recycling facility.

The changes to the north and south stations will help them come closer to their goal of recycling 60 percent of everything that comes in by pulling more materials out of the waste stream and recycling them, Snipes said.

Goodwin said the community around the north station was actively engaged in the planning of the new north station, and vocal about what it wanted and didn’t want to see.

One feature it pushed for — and will get: creation of an open space at the site for community use. This space will include features like a sports court and pathways.

“It’ll look a lot friendlier; it won’t look like a dump,” Goodwin said.

The downside is that for roughly the next two years, north-station users will need to haul their trash about 10.5 miles south to the station in South Park. That facility will be able to handle additional customers, Goodwin said, but she acknowledged the inconvenience.

“We’re just hoping that our customers will be patient with us for the next couple of years and they will benefit from having a new station in 2016,” she said.

Lynn McCaffray, an arborist who frequently takes yard waste to the Wallingford station, said she probably won’t drive down to South Park because she lives up north in Shoreline and does not want to go through traffic at the end of her day.

Shoreline also has a transfer station, and she’ll use it instead, noting that it just reduced its rates for clean green waste.

But once the Wallingford station reopens, she said, she’ll be back. “I like the facility; the people are really friendly; they’re really nice.”

Safiya Merchant: smerchant@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2299