Update: West Seattle Bridge reopens after 2-hour closure following crashes on deicer-slick road; ‘wrong’ forecast blamed

December 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 206 Comments

(ADDED EARLY TUESDAY: SDOT manager’s memo about how this unfolded)

(Photo added 2:23 pm, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
12:49 PM: Thanks to the tipsters who have messaged us about at least one crash on the eastbound bridge, possibly more. Checking.

(Police blocking 35th/Fauntleroy bridge entrance)
1:04 PM: Bridge being blocked at 35th – multiple incidents, and emergency-radio traffic indicates de-icer suspected.

1:18 PM: Police at 35th/Fauntleroy tell us entire bridge is closing. Fauntleroy is closed eastbound at Avalon, and that’s causing a backup all its own – here’s the closest traffic cam (refresh for latest “live” image):

1:28 PM: Scanner confirms SDOT crews are responding to put down sand/”material” to “combat the slickness” – also to fix the jersey barrier damaged by at least one of the crashes. The slickness was noticeable on the road at 35th/Fauntleroy – we were wondering where what looked like water had come from – when we passed through, just before getting word of how serious this situation was. Radio indicates that ALL access points to the bridge are being closed – including from I-5 and from Beacon Hill (Columbian Way).

1:37 PM: As you’d expect, the low bridge is reported to be backing up too. One way to get back to West Seattle if you need to: Take 1st or 4th southbound to the 1st Avenue South Bridge, get off at the South Park entrance but head north and then west up Highland Park Way back into WS. (Added: Some people are apparently still using the westbound bridge because, according to radio traffic, the I-5 entrances haven’t or hadn’t been blocked off.)

(City crew working on bridge by Fauntleroy-approach curb; WSB reader photo)
1:48 PM: Now there’s word of a spinout on southbound 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct.

(WSB photo: Backup on 35th approaching the bridge)
2:30 PM: Roads that approach the bridge are backed up. SDOT crews are on the bridge working to combat the slickness. Buses that usually take the Viaduct/bridge are rerouted onto the low bridge until this clears. Until it’s over, leaving or heading toward West Seattle is best advised from the south side, through Highland Park. The South Park Bridge was drawn open for a while but commenters say it’s closing now.

2:40 PM UPDATE: From Rick Sheridan at SDOT:

With colder temperatures approaching, SDOT applied liquid de-icer to the high-rise bridge as a pretreatment prior to the evening commute and football game.

Due to current warm temperatures, the de-icer can create a brief period of slippery conditions, especially if vehicles are traveling above the posted speed limit.

Out of caution, SDOT is applying sand on both directions of the structure to address any traction issues. We expect the bridge will reopen by 3:00 p.m.

2:46 PM UPDATE: To our followup question regarding whether there was anything different in the formula or the amount, Sheridan replied, “Not that we are currently aware of.”

2:52 PM UPDATE: Eastbound bridge is reopening now, per scanner. And westbound opening “in a few minutes.” Here’s the “live” bridge camera:

(East-facing camera on the West Seattle Bridge; see other cams on the WSB Traffic page)
3:06 PM UPDATE: The official call just went out – westbound is reopening too.

3:53 PM UPDATE: The 99 southbound ramp to the westbound high bridge apparently has lagged in reopening – a commenter says his crash scene isn’t clear there yet. Meantime, this isn’t the only time de-icer has been blamed as a factor in crashes – via Twitter, @cooljames points out this Whidbey Island report from 2008.

4:15 PM UPDATE: Per commenters, the ramp from 99 to the bridge is now open TOO – but remember, traffic remains tougher than usual with the Seahawks game an hour and a half away.

4:38 PM UPDATE: We asked City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the West Seattle resident who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee, if he would be looking into this. Short answer: Yes. Longer answer:

Earlier today, prior to the de-icing related accidents, I spoke to the SDOT Director about preparation for freezing weather, which is predicted tonight and through the week. Record cold weather may be on its way next week.

This should be considered a significant incident by SDOT and I have requested the Director to provide me with a report as soon as they are able to piece together what happened and why. I will let West Seattle know what I learn as soon as I receive the report.

The Director will also brief the Transportation Committee on Tuesday, December 10. The meeting begins at 9:30 AM and will be televised on the Seattle Channel.

ADDED EARLY TUESDAY: Councilmember Rasmussen forwarded e-mail he received from an SDOT manager explaining how it unfolded. Here, verbatim, is what SDOT’s Steve Pratt wrote:

Based upon all the available forecasts on hand at 8 AM today, 12-2-13, we made a
decision this morning to apply our anti-icing pretreatment to the WS High Rise, the AWV, Aurora Bridge, and a couple of other sites around Century Link Field, (bridges over ARGO, etc). We started this work around noon as the “cold snap” that was in the forecast as late as 9:23 AM from WeatherNet was calling for hail/ice in the time frame of 1-3PM. Our effort was to get ahead of any ice and or sudden temp drops such as occurred on 11-22-2010. We were also concerned about the traffic volumes headed for the MNF game which were predicted to start building around 3PM.

We applied MgCl on the WS High Rise between 12-1PM. I drove the bridge westbound at 12:10PM and then returned eastbound at 12:50PM, after stopping for a quick lunch at the Chelan Café. The application was completed by the time of my return trip. I observed that the road surface appeared “wet” and that the MgCl had not “set up” yet. I accelerated the vehicle I was driving a couple of times in the eastbound lane and did not break traction. When I arrived at the Chas. St. office at 1:02PM I was informed that there had been “some accidents” in the eastbound lane. It turns out that these were in the curve above the steel company, NUCOR, about 100 ft. to 250 ft. north of the pedestrian bridge north of 35th/Fauntleroy. We immediately contacted our driver and had him stop applying any more MgCl. He had treated the Aurora Bridge (with no incident) and had treated the southbound curb lane on the AWV between the Battery St. Tunnel in the short section that is “open air” before it tucks under the northbound upper deck structure, with no incident.

Several things occurred during this incident. The deck on the W. Seattle bridge was warmer than our usual application time, (during the night for AM commutes), and the material did not “set up” as quickly as we are used to, (ten to fifteen minutes). The accidents were all in the same section, all in a downhill curve where cars naturally pick up speed. There were NO accidents in the West Bound lanes anywhere on the W. Seattle bridge or its appurtenant streets.

SPD made a decision based upon the safety of the motoring public to close the Eastbound Lanes, and then they subsequently closed the Westbound Lanes. They requested that we apply sand to the surfaces on both sets of lanes. We mobilized our folks out of the W. Seattle shop to accomplish that and the east bound lanes opened back up at 2:52PM and the west bound lanes at 3:08PM. We coordinated these activities with SPD.

The intent of this effort, the application of the MgCl, was to get ahead of the predicted cold snap to freezing temperatures by 3-5PM. The forecast was wrong.

MgCl is magnesium chloride.


  1. my husband just called (hands free blue tooth of course) and said it was a slalom course of banged up cars, cop cars, and jersey barriers. lots of navigation…

    Comment by sam-c — 1:04 pm December 2, 2013 #

  2. Coming West up the bridge, I saw 3 or 4 plus one at the intersection of 35th & Faunt. But looked like people were getting out of their cars so hopefully not bad injuries?

    Comment by Mich — 1:07 pm December 2, 2013 #

  3. is the bridge closed at Delridge entrance too?

    Comment by sam-c — 1:26 pm December 2, 2013 #

  4. Is there any way to ensure the lower bridge stays open to road traffic while upper bridge is closed? I tried going lower bridge and have now been stuck behind a train for 10 full minutes–if I get to the lower bridge and it opens for boat traffic–well let’s just say it’s a good thing my daughter isn’t in the car so I will be able to express my frustration freely!

    Comment by HP mom — 1:28 pm December 2, 2013 #

  5. I wonder how the brain trust at SDOT messed this up.

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 1:33 pm December 2, 2013 #

  6. What a nightmare

    Comment by NW — 1:34 pm December 2, 2013 #

  7. Eastbound and westbound closed?

    Comment by Laura — 1:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  8. For what it’s worth, traffic appears to be flowing both directions on Spokane Street Viaduct section now.

    Comment by JEM — 1:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  9. It may be, but police were closing off the accesses, per scanner (which is why we always qualify, “scanner” – things can change) – and we talked to police at the scene at 35th/Fauntleroy. Hopefully it won’t be long … TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:42 pm December 2, 2013 #

  10. I truly and deeply hope that everyone is OK.

    However, there is a horrible irony about dangerously slippery de-icer.


    Comment by Umm... — 1:42 pm December 2, 2013 #

  11. Just explained on the scanner … apparently I-5 entrances haven’t been blocked, so police are telling dispatchers that cars are still getting through …

    Comment by WSB — 1:43 pm December 2, 2013 #

  12. When was the last time we had a full bridge closure?

    Comment by Marco — 1:44 pm December 2, 2013 #

  13. my co-worker and I were just talking about getting home from Bellevue with the Seahawk traffic tonight…hope the bridge is de-iced by the time I get back over there to go home. Hope everyone involved in the accidents are ok and no serious injuries. Drive Careful out there everybody.

    Comment by ~Hockeywitch~ — 1:45 pm December 2, 2013 #

  14. @HP mom – of course not, keeping traffic flowing would be interfering with a federal water way, if a boat comes along…. at least that’s the answer we always got when we asked for no openings during rush hour.

    Comment by Marco — 1:47 pm December 2, 2013 #

  15. It would be bizzare if the de-icer was the cause of this. Same stuff that has been used for years? We usually see the stripes down the roadway by now. Or maybe they lay it down early/late enough for it to settle in before lots of cars drive on it?

    Comment by Layne — 1:47 pm December 2, 2013 #

  16. 99 southbound is stopped now too – maybe a crash?

    Comment by workdown — 1:48 pm December 2, 2013 #

  17. VERY Slick on Fontleroy right by the Starbucks. I almost spun out making that left turn onto Fontleroy.

    Comment by Joe — 1:49 pm December 2, 2013 #

  18. Now a train is blocking Spokane st westbound. Ahh!

    Comment by Cm — 1:53 pm December 2, 2013 #

  19. I’d just like to tell my wife and kids that I love them and I’ll miss them. Go Seahawks. You might have to watch the first half without me.

    Comment by James Roche — 1:54 pm December 2, 2013 #

  20. I work right next to the Delridge onramp and it’s closed. Cars backed up, helicopter overhead…it’s a sh*t show! I’d say stay far away!

    Comment by MB — 1:54 pm December 2, 2013 #

  21. It’s 44 degrees. What was SDOT thinking???

    Comment by GB — 1:57 pm December 2, 2013 #

  22. The East-bound lanes are closed, so best to avoid that area.

    Comment by CE — 1:57 pm December 2, 2013 #

  23. Michigan exit on 1st Ave NB backing up.
    Maniac speedsters on Highland Parkway.
    Big fat mess and it is only 46 degrees.

    Michigan backed up entirely both ways. Fun times.

    Comment by deicer fiasco 2013 — 1:57 pm December 2, 2013 #

  24. nice constant helicopter noise. can we get some video? ha ha

    Comment by lll — 1:59 pm December 2, 2013 #

  25. Traffic is closed both ways

    Comment by Tami — 2:01 pm December 2, 2013 #

  26. How did this even happen when its sunny and blue skys out?

    Comment by Rob — 2:02 pm December 2, 2013 #

  27. GB, the forecast remains for subfreezing emps on the way…

    Comment by WSB — 2:02 pm December 2, 2013 #

  28. @hockeywitch, what time are you planning to leave Bellevue? I completely forgot about the game and now I’m dreading the commute home from Bellevue as well….

    Comment by Anonymous — 2:03 pm December 2, 2013 #

  29. I love you guys. See you tomorrow night, I’ll be sleeping on the couch in my friend’s office.

    Comment by James Roche — 2:04 pm December 2, 2013 #

  30. Did I read correctly – that it is the de-icer that is causing the spin-outs?

    Comment by old timer — 2:05 pm December 2, 2013 #

  31. I have to work downtown in about 2 hours. What would be the best way to get there? Lower bridge?

    Comment by Westgirl — 2:05 pm December 2, 2013 #

  32. Good thing I am on my bike today.
    Uggg what a mess.

    Comment by bandanna — 2:06 pm December 2, 2013 #

  33. So glad I no longer live in West Seattle and have to deal with the bridge anymore.

    Comment by Rob — 2:06 pm December 2, 2013 #

  34. I heard they used the wrong de-icer on the road and now everything is too slick. Is that true?

    Comment by DC — 2:07 pm December 2, 2013 #

  35. It was pretty easy drive this morning at 11:15 going eastbound. I wonder what happened after that. Did they put de-icer on the road then? It looked horrible when I came back over an hour ago from Beacon Hill. There had to have been at least two wrecks and the barrier was half in the westbound lane. Was a bit freaky.

    Comment by Laura — 2:08 pm December 2, 2013 #

  36. Be careful on 35th. De-icer all over road. My tires were spinning coming up the hill.

    Comment by Tom — 2:09 pm December 2, 2013 #

  37. The incompetency of this city is astounding at times. How does one of the Nation’s most intelligent regions employ people who shouldn’t be bagging groceries?

    Comment by DTK — 2:11 pm December 2, 2013 #

  38. My rear wheels spun out from under me getting off the bridge a little bit ago. I thought someone had spilled some bleach it was so slick.

    Comment by Jen — 2:12 pm December 2, 2013 #

  39. That was a slick move SDOT….. how will you spin this one?

    Comment by bandanna — 2:13 pm December 2, 2013 #

  40. I was in a car traveling west over the upper turn, inside lane when a SUV blasted through the concrete barriers. Happened in about 2 seconds…there was debris flying into our lanes and when I looked in rear view mirror, all the cars were spinning out of control into each other. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was like a movie set for out of control cars. I really hope the drivers are ok. My cars grill was knocked out from debris.

    Comment by claire — 2:15 pm December 2, 2013 #

  41. 1st ave south bridge just closed for boat traffic

    Comment by Zack — 2:17 pm December 2, 2013 #

  42. Now the 1st Ave S bridge is up. Standstill for anyone trying to get in or out of our community. Brilliant.

    Comment by Stuck on the mainland — 2:17 pm December 2, 2013 #

  43. DON”T TAKE THE MICHIGAN EXIT!!! My husband is stuck in traffic trying to get home via Michigan street.

    Comment by Slider — 2:19 pm December 2, 2013 #

  44. DC – as we first reported, deicer is what this has been blamed on, but we don’t have OFFICIAL comment yet from SDOT (nor does anyone else that I have seen), we have a request out.

    Comment by WSB — 2:20 pm December 2, 2013 #

  45. It’s 44º out. Not possible to be ice related.

    Comment by OP — 2:20 pm December 2, 2013 #

  46. I’ve been sitting at the first avenue South bridge for about 10 min. It’s currently open.

    Comment by rob — 2:20 pm December 2, 2013 #

  47. I just experienced very slick road on Faunt.and Avalon area — what is it that is causing the slippery road? I’ve never heard of de-icer causing this type of situation. My car slipped around while making a very slow turn – I had no idea why until I got home and read the blog….

    Comment by geesh — 2:20 pm December 2, 2013 #

  48. Anyone know if the water taxi is running tonight? I remember something about it not running on game nights

    Comment by mike B — 2:21 pm December 2, 2013 #

  49. Just went east on the bridge an hour ago. It was 45 degrees. There were 3 wrecks in 100 ft. There was de-icer down BUT NO ICE. typical Seattle drivers freaking out over nothing

    Comment by Grumpy — 2:22 pm December 2, 2013 #

  50. I work down on West Marginal under the bridges and as of right now traffic is a snail pace on the lower bridge and there is still no sign of the bridge opening according to the friendly SPD officer I chatted with. He might not have the most up to date info, but there it is.

    Comment by ssmw — 2:22 pm December 2, 2013 #

  51. Take (literally take) the Clipper!!

    Joking aside – I hope everyone is OK

    Cannot wait to hear from SDOT what the “real” problem was.

    Comment by Sandal40 — 2:23 pm December 2, 2013 #

  52. On a Rapidride on reroute on second avenue. Bus driver said extra 45 minutes. Let’s hope it’s only that.

    Comment by Babs — 2:24 pm December 2, 2013 #

  53. Lets just say welcome to Seattle…That why it is good we will soon elect our own council person… This transportation dept sucks.. Consider this Mike McGinn Pay Back for voters being smarter than him. We need a fix in this town and it is not happening. We have Power in West Seattle and we are not using it. We are letting them tear down our buildings and then taking us for granted when we have ice and snow and traffic issues. This Town will never be a world class city…Unless the officials go to a class to learn to manage our infrastructure …

    Comment by Todd Martin — 2:24 pm December 2, 2013 #

  54. Zombie Apocalypse in Seattle, I’ve been quarantined to the west side, grab your machetes friends, the time has come!

    Comment by wtf — 2:26 pm December 2, 2013 #

  55. Just added a photo from Christopher Boffoli at top of the story – you can see the slick tracks on the bridge; that’s what we saw at 35th/Fauntleroy even before we heard the deicer was apparently to blame, when we headed that way after what first seemed like a simple report of “crash slowing down eastbound bridge.”
    Again – it is NOT ICE-RELATED and no one said it was – but it’s supposed to be below freezing tonight so that is likely why de-icer was being applied. No comment yet from SDOT.
    Re: water taxi question – no, it does NOT run late for games during the winter schedule, unfortunately.

    Comment by WSB — 2:26 pm December 2, 2013 #

  56. 1st avenue bridge is finally going down.

    Comment by elaine — 2:26 pm December 2, 2013 #

  57. I had no issue this am. Made it down to 4th avenue in 7 mins.It was colder then. I am sure the trucks that went out forgot the DE, in front of icer….

    Comment by Todd Martin — 2:26 pm December 2, 2013 #

  58. Wait isn’t deicer suppose to do just that?

    Comment by Todd Martin — 2:27 pm December 2, 2013 #

  59. Am I missing something here? The Weather Channel says it’s 45 out. How can we be having freezing, and de-icer at that? Am I missing something here?

    Comment by Citizen Sane — 2:28 pm December 2, 2013 #

  60. People will not slow down to save their life… It is winter folks…Drive defensively!

    Comment by Todd Martin — 2:28 pm December 2, 2013 #

  61. This isn’t the first time the City’s de-icer has caused more problems than it solved.
    Remember when we kicked out a mayor and an SDOT head because we couldn’t drive in foot-high snow? Well, now we can’t drive in cold. Thanks, Seattle voters!

    Comment by Mel — 2:29 pm December 2, 2013 #

  62. Our main bridge is closed; the 1st Ave S bridge is up, and high tide is at 3:07, which means that the lower Spokane Bridge is probably going up too. Our entire 1/5th of the city is COMPLETELY CUT OFF by a single event with poor timing. Imagine if this was timed by high tide with rush hour commutes. We’re a roll of the dice from 2-3 hour commutes for a maximum distance of seven miles from downtown to the farthest SW corners of West Seattle. Unacceptable, and all because of our deliberately limited infrastructure. We need more.
    If you’re in West Seattle, join the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. Next meeting December 10th, 630pm, High Point Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan SW.
    Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westseattletc
    Go to our site: http://www.westseattletc.org/

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 2:29 pm December 2, 2013 #

  63. @Anonymous I get off work at 3:30… The game, I believe, starts at 5:40. Traffic will be bad for that… now add this.. YIKES!! Good luck to you getting home. Drive careful.

    Comment by ~Hockeywitch~ — 2:31 pm December 2, 2013 #

  64. Left to go to Beacon Hill and encountered this mess. Decided to turn around and go home. Rather wait here than in my car. Does anyone have an idea when they will open the bridge and traffic can get moving?

    Comment by E.B. — 2:32 pm December 2, 2013 #

  65. The Seattle Times is reporting that the bridge will reopen at 3 pm.

    Comment by 37th — 2:33 pm December 2, 2013 #

  66. 99 southbound starting to move again.

    Comment by work downtown — 2:33 pm December 2, 2013 #

  67. A coworker just explained to me there are different kinds of de-icers, some are used before freezing and are water based which is why they can’t be applied when raining (the stripes we see on dry roads), some are meant for below freezing temperatures for application on actual ice/snow. Sounds like SDOT grabbed the wrong bucket and hosed us all and doesn’t want to admit to it because it sounds like it caused a lot of property destruction! Hope no one was too severely injured… cars and jersey barriers are replaceable.

    Comment by trickycoolj — 2:34 pm December 2, 2013 #

  68. If applied at the wrong rate, deicer can be very slick. Also if any precipitation falls before the deicer dries it can also make roads slick.
    Once it dries all should be fine.

    Let’s not rush to judge incompetence. An no I don’t work for SDOT.

    Comment by Jeff B — 2:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  69. Any updates? Is it back open?

    Comment by SW — 2:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  70. It’s been years since I lived in the PNW, but up until the time I left Oregon (spouse military service), that state was using sand/gravel mix for icy roads. When/how did the change come about? The smart aleck in me wants to blame the makers of the deicing products and their efforts to sway popular opinion, but I don’t know that to be true!
    And I hope all involved in today’s accidents are okay and damage is limited to their vehicles.

    Comment by Breezy — 2:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  71. reading the SDOT response on Seattle Times, sounds like they are blaming the drivers for driving too fast on the de-icer…

    Comment by sam-c — 2:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  72. Yes, it’s the de-icer or whatever it is that the SDOT trucks are spraying on the roads. I followed one down 99 and the wet lane behind the truck was very slick, almost like ice. One would think they would either test this stuff in advance or apply it properly.

    Comment by PSPS — 2:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  73. Any word from SPS regarding modified school bus routes this afternoon? It sounds like several main arteries are slick, in addition to the closed bridge.

    Comment by Concerned Parent — 2:35 pm December 2, 2013 #

  74. I’m riding my bike home, and hopefully I beat the traffic

    Comment by Chris Rosa — 2:38 pm December 2, 2013 #

  75. Does SDOT think it will be reopened by the time people get off work (starting 2 hours or so)? The scene described by Claire sounds scary! And expensive. Is it possible for the city to be found at fault by insurance companies instead of the drivers for something like this?

    Comment by Grace — 2:39 pm December 2, 2013 #

  76. How is the lower bridge looking after you get down Admiral? Can you get into the city from Admiral?

    Comment by stranded — 2:40 pm December 2, 2013 #

  77. I have word from the mayor’s office that they mistakenly applied slickifier instead of deicer.

    Comment by Tim — 2:41 pm December 2, 2013 #

  78. Any updates WSB? Is the bridge still closed? Backups still on I-5, 99 and 1st? Is there an ETA?

    Comment by JC — 2:42 pm December 2, 2013 #

  79. Just saw the sand truck spreading down the EB Delridge ramp… hopefully they’re getting closer to re-opening!

    Comment by wscorp — 2:42 pm December 2, 2013 #

  80. Yes, bridge is still closed. Just added updates including from SDOT – bridge expected to reopen around 3 pm ish – HOWEVER, after I received that, there was word of another crash in 99 vicinity, so wait till we SEE it open…

    Comment by WSB — 2:43 pm December 2, 2013 #

  81. Great, The Seahawks traffic will be starting up soon too

    Comment by Ms. — 2:43 pm December 2, 2013 #

  82. Stuck on a bus approaching westbound lower bridge–very slowly! Looking up I can see cars getting on westbound bridge from 99.

    Comment by KS in WS — 2:45 pm December 2, 2013 #

  83. Dear wife and kids,

    I hope I don’t die on ice on top of sand on top of de-icer on top of paint on top of cement. Also, I’m sure glad that our DOT is so smart. See you guys later.

    James Roche

    Comment by James Roche — 2:46 pm December 2, 2013 #

  84. This is why the intern shouldn’t be allowed to drive the de-icing truck. In all seriousness though, miserable traffic everywhere and I hope nobody was hurt.

    Comment by Matt — 2:46 pm December 2, 2013 #

  85. Yup, bridge STILL closed. Police just let fire engine through at 35th & Fauntleroy. What a mess!

    Comment by Tanej — 2:47 pm December 2, 2013 #

  86. @Marco – the last time the bridge was totally shut down was around 2006 when a car full of guys heading eastbound tried to cut across the bus lane to get to 99 north just before the 1st ave exit. They hit the barrier and flipped over then the Scion? burst into flames in the left lane. It was very early in the morning and if I remember correctly, the beidge was closed in both directions until about 11 AM.

    Comment by enough — 2:47 pm December 2, 2013 #

  87. It is not even freezing folks….

    Comment by Todd Martin — 2:48 pm December 2, 2013 #

  88. @hockeywitch, you should be okay then, I’m not off until 5:00 and by the time my carpool and I get to the end of I-90 it’s 5:45, so I’m expecting to hit the worst part of it…..

    Comment by Anonymous — 2:51 pm December 2, 2013 #

  89. Leave it to SDOT to either ignore a situation completely (like the snowstorm a few years ago) or make it much, much worse, as with this new de-icer fiasco. We’re long overdue for a complete revamping of this agency. Combined with Metro, Seattle commuters are completely screwed.

    Comment by anonyme — 2:51 pm December 2, 2013 #

  90. It’s opening NOW at 35th! ‘Bout time!

    Comment by Tanej — 2:52 pm December 2, 2013 #

  91. Are i5 ramps open still?

    Comment by Jwest — 2:52 pm December 2, 2013 #

  92. Rapidride driver now taking a u turn to go back down fourth to try first avenue bridge. Spokane bridge complete gridlock. And the trains aren’t helping.

    Comment by Babs — 2:52 pm December 2, 2013 #

  93. “especially if vehicles are traveling above the posted speed limit” — HUH??? Way to take responsibility, SDOT…

    Comment by Valerie — 2:53 pm December 2, 2013 #

  94. Is the bridge still closed???

    Comment by LT — 2:53 pm December 2, 2013 #

  95. Eastbound bridge reopening NOW, per scanner. But give them a few to clear all the entrances.

    Comment by WSB — 2:53 pm December 2, 2013 #

  96. … and scanner says westbound will open “in about 5 minutes.”

    Comment by WSB — 2:54 pm December 2, 2013 #

  97. Opened up I can see cars on the bridge from my deck.

    Comment by Nic — 2:55 pm December 2, 2013 #

  98. I just heard from a towing service near by that there was a fatality?? I hope not!!

    Comment by AEH — 2:55 pm December 2, 2013 #

  99. East bound is now open.

    Comment by Raymond — 2:58 pm December 2, 2013 #

  100. What? No injuries reported thus far (I am doublechecking that with fire), let alone anything worse.

    Comment by WSB — 2:58 pm December 2, 2013 #

  101. EB is open. Delridge Ramp open, cars coming down from the top of the hill too.

    Comment by wscorp — 2:58 pm December 2, 2013 #

  102. They still haven’t sanded the off ramp from 99 and it is still very slick.

    Comment by Terry — 3:00 pm December 2, 2013 #

  103. On the 120. Normally a 20 min ride home. I’m an hour into it and we are now just past 4th.

    Comment by shane — 3:03 pm December 2, 2013 #

  104. Bridge was closed for commute home in winter of 2010/2011 when big snowfall hit starting around 3:00 pm. I remember watching cars trying to navigate the lower bridge around 7:00 pm (which I eventually made it over in my big-a SUV).

    Comment by Shannon — 3:03 pm December 2, 2013 #

  105. Still don’t see any WB traffic… hang in there, guys!

    Comment by wscorp — 3:07 pm December 2, 2013 #

  106. I would hate to think they did this prematurely so they could watch the game…

    Comment by CandrewB — 3:08 pm December 2, 2013 #

  107. NPR just reported wb bridge will not open until 3:30. Michigan is completely stopped. Been here for almost an hour. Moved about 6 car lengths.

    Comment by Elizagrace — 3:08 pm December 2, 2013 #

  108. “….especially if vehicles are traveling above the posted speed limit.” Way to take responsibility SDOT. How about we not cause slippery conditions in the first place?

    Comment by quiz — 3:09 pm December 2, 2013 #

  109. And the call’s just gone out (as updated above) to reopen westbound, too. We’ll continue to add a few more related photos to the story in the hour ahead; diverting now to work on another developing story. (NOT one that’s affecting traffic.) Thanks for all the firsthand updates. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 3:09 pm December 2, 2013 #

  110. And I am calling absolute BS on SDOT saying speed was a factor. Whatever was put down was bad stuff and I will be filing a claim. I am still waiting for the tow truck to reach me.

    Comment by Terry — 3:10 pm December 2, 2013 #

  111. Did the guys running the de-icing trucks have Saints jerseys on?

    Comment by Robert — 3:10 pm December 2, 2013 #

  112. WO beginning to flow. EB crawling, stop-n-go.

    Comment by wscorp — 3:10 pm December 2, 2013 #

  113. Beacon Hill taking traffic on a backed up 15th from bridge to Lucille and into Georgetown.

    Not that cars are going faster than 5 mph, but school zones are active and kids are everywhere so heads up and off your devices.

    Comment by Westseattledood — 3:13 pm December 2, 2013 #

  114. Thanks Tracy and everyone for the updates! Swear you guys are better than the traffic cameras on keeping updates flowing. I just rerouted my husband and my 2 friends by use of the messages on here, in order to direct them to get home safely! Thanks guys! Drive carefully!

    Comment by mrsjonesb — 3:15 pm December 2, 2013 #

  115. Is the bridge open from 99 now????

    Comment by RR — 3:16 pm December 2, 2013 #

  116. DTK, I hope you truly didn’t mean to demean grocery baggers by comparing them to SDOT managers.

    Comment by westseattlecodger — 3:17 pm December 2, 2013 #

  117. RR, according to the scanner, it is. If anybody sees this and has gone through, please confirm! That area is not covered by cameras.

    Comment by WSB — 3:18 pm December 2, 2013 #

  118. Spokane is a complete standstill. So frustrating.

    Comment by AP — 3:19 pm December 2, 2013 #

  119. Corson, Albro both backed up both directions. Georgetown too. 4th Ave is goog both ways.

    Comment by Westseattledood — 3:25 pm December 2, 2013 #

  120. My husband tells me the I-5 ramp to the westbound bridge is open, but the Beacon Hill onramp is a mess.

    Comment by hopey — 3:28 pm December 2, 2013 #

  121. All lanes stopped 99 southbound. Seriously. Robert – LOL! Saints jerseys indeed. Hope I catch the 2nd half…

    Comment by work downtown — 3:29 pm December 2, 2013 #

  122. Hi. Has the brige reopened yet? Thank you.

    Comment by Maude — 3:34 pm December 2, 2013 #

  123. I’m going to call Amazon and see if Jeff Bezos will deliver me home via drone.

    Comment by soosan — 3:36 pm December 2, 2013 #

  124. SDOT sez, our de-icer fluid ‘knows’ what’s the posted speed limit on any given roadway. Our fluid has a special built-in mechanism to provide different slippery-ness, depending upon the speed sign.

    your friendly .GOV translator

    Comment by sheepdog — 3:37 pm December 2, 2013 #

  125. Upper bridge Still blocked from 99 at 3:38.

    Comment by Katie — 3:38 pm December 2, 2013 #

  126. Maude, as noted earlier, yes, it has reopened. BUT traffic is a mess – residual backup PLUS the impending 5:40 pm Seahawks game. So driver/rider beware.

    Comment by WSB — 3:38 pm December 2, 2013 #

  127. After a long car ride back from Spokane, discovering the bridge was closed as we exited I-5, was not a great ending to a long weekend-we even stayed an extra night there because of the storm warning, didn’t want to get stuck on I-90 overnight again. Hope anybody involved in any crashes are okay.

    Comment by coco — 3:39 pm December 2, 2013 #

  128. Is the westbound upper bridge open again? Are buses running on this route? Thanks!

    Comment by Junctionite — 3:39 pm December 2, 2013 #

  129. Sanding the west bound off ramp now. Should be re opened momentarily so will help 99 traffic.

    Comment by Terry — 3:40 pm December 2, 2013 #

  130. I checked the SDOT traffic alerts a number of times this afternoon and found ZERO information on the West Seattle Bridge closure.

    Comment by Leo — 3:40 pm December 2, 2013 #

  131. 99 is still backed up. I could walk faster than this. Are we sure the bridge is open?

    Comment by AEL — 3:41 pm December 2, 2013 #

  132. I think I’ll just steal one of the Clipper’s boats to get back to West Seattle, I think that guy might have been on to something!

    Comment by Rach M — 3:41 pm December 2, 2013 #

  133. Great blog fodder. Nobody would believe this story unless they actually live in West Seattle. I hope nobody was seriously injured. I wonder how many lawsuits will follow. We will all pay additional taxes to pay out the claims. What the heck was in that “de-icer”? Maybe they should start applying that to ice skating rinks before hockey games.

    Comment by bbuddy — 3:41 pm December 2, 2013 #

  134. Leo – SDOT is not consistently in the breaking-traffic-news business. They send out occasional alerts. We do the best we can, and some citywide organizations do too. But they’re only one of many sources we monitor – they just don’t announce everything and never have.
    Terry – thanks. I had heard word of a possible additional crash (was that you, maybe?) but then had heard very clearly that it wasn’t affecting the ramp, but that obviously was wrong! Hope you are OK.

    Comment by WSB — 3:45 pm December 2, 2013 #

  135. “And I am calling absolute BS on SDOT saying speed was a factor. Whatever was put down was bad stuff and I will be filing a claim. I am still waiting for the tow truck to reach me.”
    Seconding the calling b.s. on their remark about “especially if vehicles are traveling above the posted speed limit.
    Get recordings of the SPD radio traffic during this debacle so DOT has to listen to one SPD traffic unit who radioed, in response to someone else suggesting getting people to go slow on the bridge, that while he was driving, NOT going above posted limit, HE “just slid all the way across the road.” There was also talk on the radio about closing the bridge traffic ASAP as letting more vehicles on it could become a “liability issue.

    Comment by Mookie — 3:45 pm December 2, 2013 #

  136. On the Rapid Ride C, buses are packed to capacity. The slowness usually limited to the viaduct just continues on for the duration.

    This will teach me a lesson about thinking I don’t need to use the restroom before leaving work.

    Comment by Casey — 3:49 pm December 2, 2013 #

  137. Myself and the driver in front of me were not exceeding the posted speed limit at the time we both spun out on the approach ramp to westbound bridge from 99 south. Rick Sheridan at SDOT seems to be spinning this screw up already. No pun intended. I let him know I was not speeding and if you crashed today because of SDOT’s screw up, you should let him know as well. His contact number is on the website.

    Comment by Brandon Casazza — 3:51 pm December 2, 2013 #

  138. Several cars had a up front encounter with the off ramp and barriers. I am the only one with an undrivable car. I am physically fine, but nerves shot. As soon as tow truck gets here, SPD will reopen the ramp.

    Comment by Terry — 3:54 pm December 2, 2013 #

  139. Westbound on ramp blocked from 99 every one being deverted still.

    Comment by Tara — 3:54 pm December 2, 2013 #

  140. Slippery de-icer was also blamed in 2008 crashes in the North Sound, per this link @cooljames tweeted at us:
    And it seems it was also suggested there too (not by investigators, but by the road authorities) that those who crashed had to have been speeding.

    Comment by WSB — 3:57 pm December 2, 2013 #

  141. Enough joking, it’s not funny at all that the DOT put slippery stuff on the road to stop slipping, and then blamed it on people who might or might not have been going over the speed limit.
    Search for “slippery de-icer” on Google to see a number of articles from WA/OR/ID regarding the suspicion of de-icer greasing up the road and causing accidents. An example: http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/22125404.html
    An interesting question, would these amateurs use the de-icer if a police/fire/rescue vehicle spun out or crashed after encountering such a patch? I really doubt it. That might be a good litmus test for future applications: “Would a police chase be impacted by putting this on the road?”.
    Thanks, DOT. Further proof that you don’t do your homework. You stink.

    Comment by James Roche — 3:57 pm December 2, 2013 #

  142. Fire the SDOT director! Wait, we already did…

    Comment by McFail — 4:00 pm December 2, 2013 #

  143. Have been sitting on the 57 for about 25 minutes on SB 99. Still about a mile from the ramp. Crawling would be a generous description for this pace.

    Comment by Sven — 4:01 pm December 2, 2013 #

  144. Is the on ramp to the bridge from the viaduct open?

    Comment by Demian — 4:03 pm December 2, 2013 #

  145. Upper bridge still closed from 99

    Comment by Katie — 4:04 pm December 2, 2013 #

  146. I have to admit that seeing cars whizz by on the bridge while those of us on 99 are diverted to lower bridge is extremely frustrating. Our bus is sitting behind cop waiting for opening. Looks like we are first on. Hoping we don’t spin out.

    Comment by AEL — 4:05 pm December 2, 2013 #

  147. The bridge may be open, but (I can see from my office window) the viaduct is barely moving and SODO is a mess. (And the game is still 90 minutes away!)I-5 looks not too bad…so far.

    Comment by alkikirsty — 4:06 pm December 2, 2013 #

  148. Upper bridge open from 99

    Comment by Katie — 4:06 pm December 2, 2013 #

  149. We made it! 99 ramp is open

    Comment by AEL — 4:06 pm December 2, 2013 #

  150. Mookie – just curious – is that possible? do they record their radio traffic? I guess for some reason I just thought they had personal recorders used during stops, etc.

    Comment by sam-c — 4:07 pm December 2, 2013 #

  151. I was right behind the de-icer truck. Slipperier than oil! Speed is not what caused this, slippery de-icer caused this. They need to post slippery signs when they spray or close the road temporarily if it needs to dry. Very dangerous and the city needs to be held accountable. Sue them big time. Maybe next time they will use their brains. Stores put signs up when they mop to keep people from hurting themselves. The city needs to be responsible and do the same.

    Comment by luke — 4:14 pm December 2, 2013 #

  152. I decided I would leave from Bellevue on my commute home and finish my work day online just in case it was going to snow (based on some weather apps). I have been on that snow commute before and it took me hours to get back to West Seattle only to find that it took me hours to get home anyway leaving early before the traffic rush with NO Snow… What genius decided to use a deicer on a clear day at 45 deg? I give up, can’t trust the weather news, cant trust SDOT ~

    Comment by Scott — 4:16 pm December 2, 2013 #

  153. @Leo — service delay emails went out at 2:21pm. If you’re interested in getting info from Metro, sign up for email alerts. They’re quicker and go out for only your chosen routes.

    Comment by Thomas — 4:17 pm December 2, 2013 #

  154. light rail

    Comment by Azimuth — 4:19 pm December 2, 2013 #

  155. As someone who learned to drive in New England, where they have “real” Winters,
    this stuff is typical Seattle-Keystone Cops type stuff. Pompous no-brained morons spending a dollar to save a dime & then flushing a bunch more tax dollars down the toilet for good measure.

    Comment by Gordon F Griffiths — 4:21 pm December 2, 2013 #

  156. Finally made it home from north Seattle by going down to the airport and up through Burien. So glad I checked the blog before leaving work, and listened to traffic radio (AM1000), because even while the live cams showed NO CARS on the West Seattle bridge, all the routes were green and there was not a word of the bridge shutdown on the SDOT page!

    Comment by Tony — 4:26 pm December 2, 2013 #

  157. Took 4th from Pioneer Square all the way down to the 1st Ave bridge and up Highland Park and then back up to the Junction – stop and go through the 1st Ave S bridge and then pretty smooth sailing. Overall it took me about an hour. Ridiculous.

    Comment by Bebe — 4:28 pm December 2, 2013 #

  158. Anyone tried the water taxi route? Will it be running given it’s a game night?

    I’m not a frequent passenger but am wondering if it would be a good route tonight given the bridges madness.

    I am curious if it stops running earlier than usual since it’s game night? From their website here: http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/WaterTaxi/WSeattle.aspx I read “Weekdays only – no weekends or game nights” so I’m wondering if it will stop early tonight due to the Seahawks game?

    Comment by Jeanne — 4:29 pm December 2, 2013 #

  159. The Water Taxi does not run late on game nights during the winter schedule.

    Comment by WSB — 4:34 pm December 2, 2013 #

  160. Thanks WSB for confirming it doesn’t run late on game nights. Do you know what they define as “late”? It’s a big imprecise and there was no answer at their office at 4:30. :(

    Comment by Jeanne — 4:37 pm December 2, 2013 #

  161. Update: We asked City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, a West Seattle resident who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee, if he would be looking into this. He says he is. Adding that info to the story above. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:37 pm December 2, 2013 #

  162. Husband just got home after leaving building near Real Networks over an hour ago.

    Comment by Lee — 4:37 pm December 2, 2013 #

  163. FYI to those who put the city at fault…
    The Seattle Times notes they applied a product called “freez gard”. If you read the product information available on the FreezGard web site it cautions: “Overapplication of MgCl2 may result in unusually slippery road surfaces and should be avoided”

    Comment by sna — 4:43 pm December 2, 2013 #

  164. Anybody see that movie Idiocracy?

    Comment by DTK — 4:45 pm December 2, 2013 #

  165. Just came across the bridge via I-5 south from downtown about 20 minutes ago with no issues. The bridge traffic was fine.

    Comment by snowball — 4:46 pm December 2, 2013 #

  166. Water Taxi: Means it follows the posted schedule: http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/WaterTaxi/WSeattle.aspx

    Comment by WSB — 4:48 pm December 2, 2013 #

  167. Had it not been for my car’s 4Motion, I probably would have spun out, too. I wasn’t speeding and take the curve up the westbound hill cautiously anyways. It was slippery and it didn’t seem sensible that deicer would cause the mess, but having experienced it firsthand, I get why some were unfortunate and now have to deal with the aftermath. Hope everyone is okay.

    Comment by Ryan B. — 5:02 pm December 2, 2013 #

  168. Wow, I have never been more glad to have taken the bus today, which I don’t do very often. Incidentally, I did not see any de-icer trucks on the bridge when my bus was crossing the bridge between 11 and 11:30 AM. So, this must have all gone down really quickly between the deicer going on the road and cars spinning out if there were already accidents by noon.

    Comment by Tracey — 5:06 pm December 2, 2013 #

  169. Filing a claim against the city:

    This afternoon was beyond belief. Is anybody in charge?

    Comment by B — 5:10 pm December 2, 2013 #

  170. Are we going to get a bunch of she said he said…. Mr Rasmussen needs to make sure we don’t go through this all of the time..if he truly wants to represent west Seattle.

    Comment by todd d martin — 5:16 pm December 2, 2013 #

  171. Does anyone know whether this has caused any problems for the pedestrian crosswalk at 35th & Fauntleroy?

    Comment by Tracey — 5:18 pm December 2, 2013 #

  172. SDOT management needs a come-to-Jesus meeting with West Seattle. Adding insult to injury by implying that drivers caused this themselves by suggesting “excessive speed”. With friends like this, who needs enemies. We should plan a picket city hall day. But don’t tell any outsiders so SDOT doesn’t “ice” us down.

    Comment by Bus_rider — 5:18 pm December 2, 2013 #

  173. It was really fun sitting on the Michigan offramp for an hour while trying to figure out how to secure my children who were getting out of school right at the tail end of this. Horrible! I love West Seattle so much but living here and commuting during the winter seems so untenable. We need RAIL!!!

    Comment by karen — 5:27 pm December 2, 2013 #

  174. Thank goodness we aren’t hosting a nationally televised Monday night football game in the midst of this debacle, doh!

    Comment by kwitty — 5:30 pm December 2, 2013 #

  175. I lived in Anchorage for 14 years. They use sand on the roads. Sand. Not salt (bad for cars, plant life) and not de-icer (chemical stew, expensive.) It’s cheap, natural and it works.

    What’s going to happen when it snows? Geez.

    Comment by Kate K — 5:37 pm December 2, 2013 #


    We need to de-ice the bicycle lanes !!!!!

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 5:54 pm December 2, 2013 #

  177. It’s hailing and this stuff is going to freeze over night. Get the de-icers ready.

    Comment by zipline — 6:14 pm December 2, 2013 #

  178. James Roche- thanks for the laughs, I can see why your wife married you. But-sorry you missed the game with the fam.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 6:42 pm December 2, 2013 #

  179. smokey.. McShwinn needs to buy new expensive de-icers for the bike lanes to go with the new mini sweepers.. Don’t give him anymore ideas jack!!

    Comment by carlton — 6:44 pm December 2, 2013 #

  180. Now just reading all the comments. I had to take someone to an emergency doctor appointment at 2pm; I live in Admiral. Got creative. Went to Avalon,Yancy to Delridge, to the low bridge, and the ramp up to 99, which was open. Reached our destination of 90th and Roosevelt before 3pm. Came home via NE Pacific, 23rd through the CD up to Spokane St., to the bridge.

    It was annoying, but once I got on 99 north, smooth sailing..I think I saw only 3 or 4 cars around me at that point…

    Comment by JanS — 9:16 pm December 2, 2013 #

  181. Reminds me of The Far Side cartoon, when the guy in the jungle had mosquitos buzzing all around him and his partner said to him he’d used “ON” instead of “Off”.

    Comment by WestSide45 — 9:24 pm December 2, 2013 #

  182. First of all- if they’re going to apply something thats slippery, perhaps having an officer or some signs warning of the situation so drivers can be aware and use caution.
    Secondly- I love how carefully worded DOT made their statement only to blame the drivers for speeding and causing their own accidents. I happen to be at a collision center in Burien and was unaware of the bridge issue yesterday. Two separate families came in with their towed cars, BOTH families are PISSED at the city and will take matters appropriately, but sounds to me this really has inconvenienced a lot of people having to get their cars fixed not to mention out of pocket expenses with deductible.

    Comment by alki Resident — 6:43 am December 3, 2013 #

  183. I have added the full text of a memo-style e-mail forwarded overnight by Councilmember Rasmussen, with an SDOT manager detailing how this unfolded. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:52 am December 3, 2013 #

  184. And you people want ANOTHER SODO SPORTS STADIUM!??? HA!!!!!

    Comment by lll — 6:54 am December 3, 2013 #

  185. I am glad it was my day off and I wasn’t commuting home on my motorcycle! Thankfully it seems everyone involved camed out mostly unharmed.
    Shame on SDOT for their poor job performance. I hope this incident makes them re-examine their practices.

    Comment by Aaron — 7:21 am December 3, 2013 #

  186. If one of us screwed up this bad at our private actor jobs we would be fired or get in big trouble…
    Nothing will happen to these Fooish bureaucrats paid by us…
    Why so we allow them to be a protected class when their actions harm us???

    Comment by Trent — 7:33 am December 3, 2013 #

  187. In case some didn’t receive the earlier message from me, I have requested the Seattle Department of Transportation to provide the City Council Transportation Committee with a briefing on this incident and how it can be prevented. The briefing will be broadcast live on the Seattle Channel next Tuesday at 9:30 AM. I do not want a repeat of what happened yesterday.

    Comment by Tom Rasmussen — 8:05 am December 3, 2013 #

  188. @111: What does SDOT screwing up a de-icer application have to do with a new sports stadium in SoDo? Try to make some sense, man.

    It also looks like Rasmussen is ramping up his attempts to represent West Seattle at the city council level since in a couple of years he’ll have to actually answer to his local constituents.

    Comment by Brian — 8:14 am December 3, 2013 #

  189. ……I was informed that there had been “some accidents” in the eastbound lane. It turns out that these were in the curve above the steel company, NUCOR, about 100 ft. to 250 ft. north of the pedestrian bridge….


    Back when I had a car, 18+ years ago, and drove to work in Downtown Seattle everyday, I had a bit of a scare one cold, dry morning while coming down around the curve by the Steel Plant, and fish-tailed due to black ice conditions, presumably caused by the steam from the Plant drifting across the Expressway. (And yes, I was driving safely, very likely slowing down to, or at least near, the suggested cautionary speed limit for the curve).


    Could that have been an issue in this case? Though not freezing, if the de-icer is intended to be applied to dry roads, could even a relatively small, and perhaps imperceptible amount of moisture combined with the de-icer on the road cause the slipperiness?



    Comment by miws — 8:46 am December 3, 2013 #

  190. Oh Steve Pratt from SDOT…. blaming the forecast… saying it was wrong??? Steve Pratt, suck it up and take responsibility for the actions of SDOT, especially if your comments are public facing. Maybe your “quick lunch stop” was ill timed?

    Comment by bandanna — 8:49 am December 3, 2013 #

  191. Bandanna – Since you mention it, for context (this is not a comment on its content, just on its context), the e-mail/memo was addressed to CM Rasmussen with CC’s including outgoing SDOT director Peter Hahn, Rasmussen legislative assistant Brian Hawksford, and a few seattle.gov addresses to people whose names I don’t recognize and haven’t taken time yet to look up. That said, ANY communication/document in a public/government agency is subject to release via public disclosure if it hasn’t come to light some other way, so in that sense, anything said by a public employee could be construed as public-facing. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:03 am December 3, 2013 #

  192. SDOT guy claiming he tried to break his tires loose and could not is a non genuine claim of “it’s safe”. Turn your traction control off idiot! You cannot break it loose if you have traction control on. I drove the bridge at 12:30 with the sprayer truck 100yds in front of me and I could feel the slickness in my steering wheel. Then to claim that the accidents all happened “where people pick up speed” is a claim of “they caused it themselves by speeding”. B.S. I’m an engineer, so I understand physics. They crashed because they attempted to change direction on a slipper road, not because they were speeding. Sure everyone is fine as long as they are going straight, but take a curve and you will continue to go the same direction if there is no friction to change from your current force vector.

    Comment by luke — 9:38 am December 3, 2013 #

  193. I followed the claim link posted by “B” http://www.seattle.gov/fas/filing_a_damage_claim.htm to gather information as a favor to my friend whose car was damaged yesterday on the bridge. I could access the form but the claims FAQ link is dead. How very helpful…

    Comment by square eyes — 9:44 am December 3, 2013 #

  194. square eyes – here’s the translation of the Spanish version of the FAQ:


    Comment by go hawks — 10:55 am December 3, 2013 #

  195. Wow — I can’t believe the weather forecast was wrong — that never happens ;) Shame on Mother nature for failing to produce ice per forecast! Shame on the meteorologist for making a faulty forecast! Shame on the drivers for trying to drive across the bridge! And shame on all of us for trying to hold SDOT accountable for their mistake — we should have known better ;0

    Comment by bbuddy — 11:00 am December 3, 2013 #

  196. go hawks – thank you!

    Comment by squareeyes — 11:31 am December 3, 2013 #

  197. It would be interesting to get MetPatricks take on the “wrong weather report.” I sent a note to another well known weather person and the response was that there was no threat of freezing temps/snow during the day. Road surface temps were warm and cold air was not even close. I guess it depends on where they got their weather data.

    It’s also disturbing that all of West Seattle was significantly impacted for access but there’s no mention of it beyond WSB until the situtation was over.

    Comment by Raincity — 12:27 pm December 3, 2013 #

  198. Rain – Can’t speak to the forecast except to say that this threat of cold temps has been dangling for days now. Re: the mention – I can’t speak for other news orgs except to say some of them did report via Twitter, which we in the biz probably use far more than our readers/viewers/etc., though they didn’t all have it correct (I saw one radio org saying the bridge was closed “for icy conditions”).
    For organizations that largely rely on news releases – which is NOT a wise thing to do, as they are no longer reliably issued, with all the other ways that agencies have to communicate directly – there WAS no actual news release, not even an SPD Blotter post afterward, so in order to know what was going on, you had to BE HERE and also be monitoring the scanner, and then later, you had to be making followup inquiries etc. (which we did).
    Patrick and I happened to be out getting lunch when we got first word “hey, there’s a crash on the bridge” and quickly “hey, there are MULTIPLE crashes on the bridge and it might be closing eastbound” – we had only our phones, not even either of our “real” cameras, when we detoured over to 35th and Fauntleroy to see what was going on. Luckily, I can publish to the website from the phone (as well as to social media). This is why we have worked really hard for six years now to encourage tips via text, e-mail, phone, whatever – the sooner we get on something, the better.
    Regarding what was out there while it was happening: A few tweets by SPD – which kept saying SDOT would tweet too, but they didn’t for quite some time. WSB/web – right here – is our flagship and we will always publish important things here first, but we also use Twitter and Facebook relatively extensively because that’s how some people, especially the phone-reliant, tune in first. I don’t know how long it took the Times to get something up, and as for TV stations, they’re sometimes fairly slow to get things on their websites because it’s still a somewhat bureaucratic process … But, bottom line, for better or for worse, WSB is the only 24/7 breaking-news-first, West Seattle-dedicated news organization, and we won’t let you down. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 12:41 pm December 3, 2013 #

  199. thank you Tracy, and team
    yep, the tv news was absolutely worthless; obsessed only with football coverage

    Comment by Diane — 1:59 pm December 3, 2013 #

  200. well some news covered it, as there was a helicopter out there for quite a while. I am surprised there weren’t complaints here about the helicopter noise.

    they started football coverage already at lunchtime? wow

    Comment by sam-c — 4:13 pm December 3, 2013 #

  201. “B.S. I’m an engineer, so I understand physics. They crashed because they attempted to change direction on a slipper road, not because they were speeding.”

    To funny, thanks luke.

    Comment by Mike — 5:06 pm December 3, 2013 #

  202. Yes, there were a couple TV choppers, and certainly everyone had something on it by newscast time – I believe the complaint was, nothing while it was happening. This happened right after noon-newscast time, so no one would have been back on the air until 4 pm. Some stream live to their websites or publish a link via Twitter, but you do have to look around!

    Comment by WSB — 5:06 pm December 3, 2013 #

  203. I live above the bridge, so yes; the helicopters were hovering over me for 1/2 hr; no biggy
    I watched the 5ish pm evening tv newscasts and saw nothing but football coverage

    Comment by Diane — 5:33 pm December 3, 2013 #

  204. I am a builder who has done business with SDOT several times – most recently over a very difficult easement issue that was resolved in October. And I hate to tell you folks, but my experience has always been that the people at SDOT are professional, courteous, on top of the details, and are decent people trying to do the right thing. Yeah, it’s easy to second guess things like this, and point the finger at public agencies when things go wrong. But, in my experience, nobody down there is sitting around making capricious, cavalier decisions, without care or regard to the consequences. These are smart, thoughtful, hard working public servants (even stopping at my building sites BEFORE they go to work if necessary), and although they may have made a bad call in this situation, I have no doubt that it wasn’t one they made lightly, and that nobody feels worse about it than they do. I can only imagine the vitriol had the bridge iced over and they HADN’T done anything. These are very tough decisions, these are your friends, neighbors and family, cut em some slack. None of us is perfect. Nobody wanted this to happen. And I, for one, am grateful that we have people like the ones I’ve dealt with at SDOT working for us. Thank you, SDOT, I’m sure your feeling pretty low right now. In my book, you guys rock.

    Comment by Mitch — 10:23 pm December 3, 2013 #

  205. All well and good. Still not ok the decision was made. Sorry. The city should pay for people pain. I would lose my job for decision such as this

    Comment by denise — 8:49 pm December 4, 2013 #

  206. I don’t think it’s the mistake itself (which was dumb, but people make mistakes) that’s ticking people off. It’s that Rick Sheridan @ SDOT has been blaming the drivers for the results of his agency’s error. That’s unconscionable. It may very well be that people who do the everyday work are hard working and under-praised; that’s true of most gov’t agencies. However, the people who are blaming the victims aren’t the general staff.

    Comment by AG — 7:43 am December 5, 2013 #

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