June 11, 2018 at 8:02 am #919240
I was living in a small apartment above the then Venable & Wing Law Office, now, for many years, Barnecut Law Office, having moved there about two months before, being on my own for the first time.
I believe it was around 10:00 am or so that I was on the #18 bus on my way to the Sears at 1st & Lander. As the bus was coming up from under the Fauntleroy Expressway on the ramp next to the fire station (technically, the ramp that replaced the very similarly designed ramp upon construction of the high bridge), I had this fleeting though; What would happen if something ever happened to just one of the two bascule drawbridges? Would they reroute traffic for both directions over the remaining bridge?”
I was absolutely stunned, as the bus came up topside around the curve of the ramp, to see the northernmost/westbound bridge stuck in the up position, either new jersey barriers there where none had been before, or existing ones moved (don’t recall for sure), and traffic going both ways over the remaining bridge!
The only thing I could figure out, aside from a one-time only (so far) solid incident of experiencing ESP, was that I heard something about it on my clock radio that was set to KJR-AM (top 40 radio). Either I had the radio on overnight, or it started up in the morning at the pre-set wake up time, and although I didn’t consciously hear it and it was planted in my sub-conscious.
Anyone else around these parts back then that remember where they were/what they were doing when they first became aware of the Ship Hitting the Span?
MikeJune 11, 2018 at 3:49 pm #919287
I had just started working at Boeing. Heard about it on the radio-KOMO I believe on the way home from work. I believe the pilot’s name was Rolf Neslund. Didn’t he have an untimely death at the hands of his wife? Also recollect the city was going to rebuild the drawbridge but a group of WS businesses headed by Dick Kennedy(Howden-Kennedy funeral home)said WS woud secede from the city if we didn’t get a new bridge.June 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm #919298
Yep, Capt. Rolf Neslund, and yes he did, and yes she was:
I’d have to check my W.S. history to confirm, but if memory serves, the secession threat was started not too long before Rolf got something actually finally rolling as far as getting the high bridge.
MikeJune 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm #919360
I didn’t really register the bridge being stuck until later in the week. Mr Gaston, my driver’s ed (vehicle) teacher said we would wait a week for the bridge to be fixed before driving on I-5. Instead we practiced parallel parking in the Hancock Fabric parking lot to the point of car sickness for me.
Spoiler alert. The bridge wasn’t fixed the next week.June 12, 2018 at 3:48 pm #919377
Mike. You could be right as far as timing. As good as I am 40 years does induce a bit of fog as to timing. A sign of the times is that while they routed us onto the other bridge to get in and out of WS I don’t remember traffic being a big issue. Ah…the good old day’s….June 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm #919385
I seem to recall that traffic could get pretty backed up during peak hours. For some reason, I can picture afternoon westbound peak in my mind more clearly than morning eastbound.
But, today, a similar back up would be normal. ;-)
MikeJune 12, 2018 at 7:14 pm #919395
I was not a WS resident back then, but I do remember the new bridge being built. Back then I wondered why is the West Seattle Bridge so high? I still have that question today.June 12, 2018 at 8:03 pm #919401
They needed to make it high enough 165ft(?) for ships to be able to clear it so there would be non-drawbridge access in and out of West Seattle. The big complaint, even when both drawbridges were functioning, was the frequent openings including during rush hour. Trains crossing at the east end of the bridges was another issue. It wasn’t too rare of an occurrence to finally start across the eastbound span after a ten-minute bridge opening, only to have a train come through on the other side.
MikeJune 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm #919453
The high bridge was for clearance for freighters. The port had big plans to develop the Duwamish. Dad had a boat at Riverside marina(Pioneer was next to it) which was on the WS side between the railroad bridge and Kellog Island. The boaters in the marinas fought long and hard but the port kicked us out and demolished the marina’s. The land is still not used today. As far as traffic-that’s right, we were on the surface over Harbor Island. I do remember being stopped by boats and trains but don’t remember feeling, or hearing my dad complain that it made us late for anything. I wonder what the population of WS was then-vs now?June 13, 2018 at 2:51 pm #919465
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