Musician selected for Fremont Bridge tower, says ‘it’s actually pretty noisy’

Sound designer and composer Paurl Walsh has been selected by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to spend the summer in the north tower of the Fremont bridge creating a new musical work. It’s all part of the “artist in residence” program.

Walsh’s proposal “investigates the inherent collision between creativity and mental health, which resonated with the selection panel,” the office said.

“The bridge itself is actually pretty noisy, and there’s a lot of vibration when the buses go by,” he told KOMO Radio. “The whole tower kind of shakes. It’s kind of a hard environment to write music in.” But he added, “It’s very inspiring in a really unique way.”

Walsh says he’s thinking about capturing sounds from the bridge to fold into his final musical work.

Fremont Bridge lights up starting tonight

Earlier this week, we reported the Fremont Bridge is getting artistic lights with plans to expand to the Ballard Bridge sometime in the future.

Last night SDOT tested the lights for a few minutes, and here’s what they look like:

The lights are designed to cast a colorful reflection on the water below, slowly changing hue and shifting with the seasons (watch this video for more). Beginning tonight, the Fremont Bridge lights will be illuminated full-time at night. The project cost $212,000: half of the money came from a rebate received from using energy-efficient lighting, reports the Seattle Times.

No date has been set for the Ballard Bridge lights, which will need private funding to proceed.

By the way, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is looking for an “artist in residence” — a composer and/or musician — in the northwest tower of the Fremont Bridge. This person will “undertake an in-depth exploration of the historic bridge’s role and meaning for the city of Seattle and create music in response to this residency.”

This is the fourth “artist in residence” project at the bridge since the 1990s.

Fremont Bridge to light up at night, Ballard Bridge is next

On Thursday night, the Fremont Bridge will fire up its new lights, a permanent art installation celebrating the centennial of Seattle’s historic bascule bridges. The Ballard and University bridges are next on the list.

The Bridge Lights project is a collaboration between SDOT, the Office of Arts and Culture and artists Hayley Buckbee and Ian Campbell (with RSVR). The city says the lights are designed to “gently reflect seasonal, solar and lunar patterns,” and the Fremont design “beautifies this city landmark and celebrates the vibrant artistic spirit of the Fremont community.”

Unlike most major U.S. cities, Seattle’s bridges lack artistic light, the city said. “Lighted bridges serve as symbols of local pride for residents and become a significant part of a city’s story, attracting regional visitors and tourists, like other city landmarks including the Fremont Troll and the Space Needle,” SDOT explained in a press release.

This Wednesday evening, the city will provide a 6-minute preview of the lights (“including four seasonal palettes”) for the media, sometime between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Then on Thursday evening, the light display switches on permanently.

SDOT tells My Ballard they don’t have a date set for the Ballard Bridge lights as of yet, and it’s “not in the immediate future.”

Lane closures on Ballard and Fremont Bridges

The Seattle Department of Transportation is making repairs to several area bridges this week. On the Ballard Bridge, the southbound right lane will be closed as crews complete guard rail repairs. They’ll be working from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. the rest of this week and Monday and Tuesday of next week. In Fremont, crews will be doing maintenance work on the bridge from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. The northbound, right curb lane will be closed during that time.

Ballard woman dies after accident in Fremont

A 42-year-old Ballard woman who was involved in yesterday’s crash that shut down the Fremont Bridge has died.

The Seattle Times says a woman claiming to be the victim’s friend called them. The friend says the woman may have suffered a medical emergency before the accident. The woman also tells the Times that the woman lived in Ballard with her husband and twin 5-year-old boys. The King County Medical Examiner has identified her as Christine Duffy.

Fremont Bridge open after accident

Updated 4 p.m. The Fremont Bridge is open again after a serious head-on accident that was reported just before 11 a.m. today.

A white van and SUV collided head-on on the north end of the bridge, resulting in one serious injury and sending two others to the hospital. A third car was involved, as well. Medics performed CPR on the most seriously injured patient. The Humane Society was called to take care of a dog in the van.

New bridge warning sign

You may have noticed this new sign while driving on 36th through Fremont.

City crews are installing it on 36th before it meets Fremont Place and heads down to the Fremont Bridge. It will signal when the bridge is up to give drivers the opportunity to take an alternate route. Very helpful. The city is currently connecting the fiber optics and hope to the the signs working later this summer.

Seeing red south of Fremont Bridge

Tom Barrett wrote the Seattle PI complaining about the left-hand turn signal from Nickerson to the Fremont Bridge. “Why do people waiting on Nickerson have to wait upward of five minutes for two cycles of the light?” he asks. Well, turns out the city installed new video detection equipment that has trouble recognizing darker-colored vehicles. Go figure. The problem is temporarily fixed while the city works with camera vendor for a permanent solution.

Busy bridges on opening day

Saturday is the opening day of boating season which reminds us that summer is just around the corner. As with any opening day, the Fremont bridge and Ballard bridge will be going up and down more than usual. Boats are beginning to line up for the annual parade at 8 a.m. with the actual parade of boats going from noon to 2:30 p.m. Expect the most bridge activity before and after the parade. The Locks will also be pretty busy, so if the weather holds it may be a fun day to take the kids.