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caption: The scene outside Pier 58 after part of it collapsed into Elliott Bay on Sunday, September 13, 2020.
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The scene outside Pier 58 after part of it collapsed into Elliott Bay on Sunday, September 13, 2020.
Credit: Via Seattle Department of Transportation

Pier collapses on Seattle waterfront

Pier 58 is next to the Great Wheel, near the Seattle Aquarium.

A pier on Seattle’s waterfront collapsed on Sunday afternoon, sending two construction workers into the salt water below.

They were pulled up with buoys thrown out by safety staff on site, and arrived at Harborview Medical Center at 4:45 p.m. The construction workers, men ages 30 and 42, were in satisfactory condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

This pier is next to the Great Wheel, which did not sink.

caption: A view of the Pier 58 collapse. Marshall Foster said that about one-fifth of the pier collapsed into the water, and that it would have to be pulled up.
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A view of the Pier 58 collapse. Marshall Foster said that about one-fifth of the pier collapsed into the water, and that it would have to be pulled up.
Credit: Via Seattle Fire Department

In August, city workers discovered that the pier was deteriorating fast.

Read: Seattle’s Waterfront Park closes permanently after inching out to sea

With more shifting late last week, crews began demolition on Saturday. The pier had been cordoned off from the public.

While it was known that the pier was shifting, “the speed which with the collapse took place was a surprise,” said Marshall Foster, director of the Seattle Office of the Waterfront and Civic Works.

“We knew that the pier was shifting, and that there was a risk of collapse, and so a series of additional safety precautions were taken,” Foster said.

The construction workers had been tasked with removing heavy concrete planters that are around the Waterfront Park fountain, also known as Fitzgerald Fountain, a giant bronze structure. They were saw-cutting around those planters when the collapse began.

About a fifth of the pier fell into the water, Foster said. The portion of the pier that fell into the water will have to be pulled up.

The pier was built in 1974. It’s been known as Waterfront Park since its beginning. While it may not seem old, the waterfront is tough on the structures that live on it.

caption: A 2010 picture of the Waterfront fountain on Pier 58.
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A 2010 picture of the Waterfront fountain on Pier 58.
Credit: LASZLO ILYES Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

“This marine environment, it’s brutal on these structures – the wave action, the king tides, the saltwater,” Foster said.

The pier is in the process of being redesigned and rebuilt as part of a $720 million project to rebuild the Seattle waterfront, Foster said, from the stadiums to the Olympic Sculpture Park.

The new pier will have a playground, public plaza and landscaping.

caption: The re-imagined Pier 58 on Seattle's waterfront.
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The re-imagined Pier 58 on Seattle's waterfront.
Credit: Seattlewaterfront.org