A Community Bridge: John Lewis Memorial Bridge

The John Lewis Memorial Bridge opened on October 2nd, 2021, in Northgate, Seattle, providing ease of travel times and access to transit, businesses, parks, and medical services. The bridge spans 1,900 feet over the I-5 interstate and connects North Seattle College and an existing transit center on either side, with the addition of the newest Sound Transit’s Link light rail station to the transit center as well.

The bridge was designed with the public in mind, with planning beginning in 2014; planning considered the various modes of transportation that would be used to cross the bridge, thoughtfulness on connecting the bridge to other preexisting infrastructure for walkers and bikers and assuring the safety of all bridge crossers. There were 1,500 daily walkers, wheelchair users and cyclists projected to use the bridge for its many connections.


Along with pedestrians, the bridge was designed environmentally: keeping the local wetlands and trails nearby in mind. A huge priority for the planning process was the tree mitigation plan. Throughout the course of construction, 464 trees were planted to replace the ninety-three trees that were removed during construction. The newly planted trees were decided upon as they are better suited for the local wetland environment (Seattle DOT). When considering how to light the bridge, these environmental factors weighed into the decision. Staying cautious of the angle of the lights to prevent glare into the wetlands, disturbing frogs, and other wildlife, needed to be a priority. Luckily, KLIK products had a solution.

The KLIK LEDpodTM was introduced to this large pedestrian bridge project due to need for safe, sustainable lighting! The process was very hands-on as we worked with many individuals to provide the most accurate fixtures and rails for the project need. As stated earlier, the project was years in the making and initially started with 50% drawings which identified the need to provide illuminated handrail for the bridge. KLIK was called in to assist in providing guidance on lighting product and railing specifications. In large projects, particularly with pedestrian bridges, making sure that not only can the bridge be properly lit, but that the rails on a bridge satisfy all code requirements.

There were years of development working with lighting designers to create product that would provide sufficient illumination, as well as being integrally involved in the design of the railings as initial construction documents did not include details that would provide rails to be both manufactured and code safe. The KLIK LEDpodTM also provided a solution for the environmental factors, with an asymmetric lens positioned in a way that the light and glare would not disturb the wetlands. With many considerations for the bridge, there was detailed involvement for the KLIK team as we produced concept drawings and mock-ups for review and evaluation by the project team for approval.

With a large railing project, the most difficult thing to achieve is that the rubber meets the road in the producing the as-builds. Shop drawings must be compared to what is actually in the field. This means that until the field is ready for measurement, a railing manufacturer cannot proceed. Generally, it can be expected that it takes 2-4 weeks to produce drawings to the as-builds and following that, the railing lead time is dependent to shop drawings, etc.

The KLIK team worked together with the many partners at the Northgate Bridge project to provide an incredible pedestrian bridge connecting the neighborhoods in the Northgate community.

General Contractor: Kraemer
Electrical Contractor: Elcon Corporation
Architect: VIA
Lighting Designer: TENW
Photographer: Charlie Webb
Project, Blog Data Research: Seattle Department of Transportation

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