The emergency removal of Pier 58 on Seattle’s waterfront will cost more than $4 million and take months, officials said Wednesday about the structure located on Elliott Bay between the Seattle Aquarium and Great Wheel.

The city’s Office of the Waterfront is hiring Tacoma-based Orion Marine Contractors to deconstruct and haul away the deteriorating timber pier also known as Waterfront Park, a boardwalk space with benches, scenic views and telescopes. The work, pegged at $4.3 million, will begin in one or two weeks and last until early 2021, the office said in a news release.

The city has long intended to remove Pier 58 and build a new pier with a playground and a public plaza in the same location, as part of an overhaul of the downtown waterfront following last year’s demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Pier 58 project is expected to cost $65 million and is already funded in the city’s capital improvements budget, Office of the Waterfront spokesperson Lauren Stensland said Wednesday.

Until recently, the plan was to start the project in 2022; metal plates span the joint between the pier and the Elliott Bay Seawall on land, accommodating some movement between the two structures. But officials decided a change in schedule was needed this month after crews checking on a waterline issue discovered the pier had moved several inches, leaving a visible gap.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, which owns the pier, responded by closing the space. Then Seattle Structural, the company that had been monitoring the pier for the city, recommended that the structure be removed within 90 days.

The Office of the Waterfront is paying Seattle Structural $100,000 to design the pier’s removal, and Orion Marine will do the actual work.


The office selected the companies without seeking bids, using emergency contracts that are exempt from competitive solicitation requirements, said the news release and an email from Marshall Foster, the office’s director. Foster and Stensland said they couldn’t share the contracts because they were still being finalized.

Orion Marine already is working on other Seattle projects: a bridge replacement job in Eastlake and a Port of Seattle terminal renovation next to West Seattle.

Much of the Pier 58 removal work will be conducted from the water, with barges positioned in Elliott Bay, according to the Office of the Waterfront. The office has promised to collaborate with the aquarium, which sits on Pier 59, and the Great Wheel operation, which shares Pier 57 with the Miner’s Landing tourist hub.

“Because of the waterside access, impacts to nearby businesses and the public are expected to be limited,” the office’s news release said Wednesday.

The removal will include extracting the timber piles that support Pier 58, along with its timber and concrete deck. Benches and art will be salvaged and a sculpture fountain will incorporated into the new park, the release said.

The city has been trying to lure salmon back to the downtown waterfront; the recently rebuilt seawall includes habitat shelves for mussels and algae, underwater rock beds and glass panes that allow light to shine through.

In an email, Stensland said environmental impacts would be considered during Pier 58’s removal. The new pier will use steel piles, replacing existing piles that are slathered in creosote, which protects timber but has chemicals that can harm salmon, the spokesperson added.

“Public safety is always our top priority. We’re committed to removing the deteriorated pier quickly, clearing the way for the new park to take shape,” Foster said in the news release.