We can probably name several places we’d rather be than in Seattle’s 605-foot-tall Space Needle during an earthquake, but upgrades coming to the iconic, 55-year-old structure are designed to improve its ability to withstand a major seismic event.
A news release from the Space Needle Tuesday didn’t provide any details on just how big that seismic event would need to be to create significant concern, but it did say the structure was designed with plenty of strength.
The work goes beyond what a homeowner might know about seismic retrofitting — where a house is bolted and strapped to its foundation. Steel splices will be installed in the tower’s core and that work will apparently involve a significant amount of welding and sparks.
Crews will be on the job between midnight and 8 a.m. throughout most of the summer.
Plans for a $100 million renovation of the Space Needle were announced last month. The so-called “Century Project” won’t really change the look of the Needle from afar, but visitors to the top will experience enhanced views through floor-to-ceiling glass panels on the open-air observation deck. The redesigned restaurant will also get a new see-through rotating glass floor.
Most of the Space Needle will remain open during the renovation, with the initial phase of construction to be completed by next summer.