Followup: City Council unanimously passes bridge resolution

(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of The Bridge while it was being built)
As previewed here last week, the City Council voted today on a resolution to give the West Seattle Bridge a “secondary name” in honor of the late City Councilmember Jeanette Williams, who fought to get key funding for its construction. Thanks to Brian Hawksford in the office of City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – who worked for and with Ms. Williams for many years and sponsored today’s resolution – for confirming it passed unanimously, 9-0. Williams’ son Rusty Williams, who is running for City Council this year, thanked the council for honoring his mom. Also today, a proclamation was read in honor of tomorrow’s 25th anniversary of the opening of the high bridge, six years after a freighter smashed into and shut down the drawbridge that preceded it. Read on for the full text:

In Recognition of the 25th anniversary of the high-level west SEATTLE bridge

WHEREAS, on June 11, 1978 the bascule West Seattle Bridge was struck by the freighter Antonio Chavez, thereby closing that span to automobile traffic for the next six years; and

WHEREAS, the accident ended decades of debate over replacing the span with a high-level bridge; and

WHEREAS, City Councilmember Jeanette Williams successfully championed the effort of the City of Seattle to build both the high-level and low-level West Seattle Bridges by enlisting the aid of U.S. Senator Warren G. Magnuson to secure federal funds and participation in the project; and

WHEREAS, the new bridge carries six lanes of roadway and was built for a total of $150 million of which $60 million was federal funding; and

WHEREAS, the new bridge reconnected a city torn apart by the accident and finally ended the inconvenience to the people traveling to and from West Seattle during the years of planning and construction; and

WHEREAS, West Seattle residents endured those years with patience, fortitude and ingenuity; and,

WHEREAS, on July 14, 1984 the completed new high-level span was opened and dedicated;


9 Replies to "Followup: City Council unanimously passes bridge resolution"

  • JanS July 13, 2009 (7:56 pm)

    it’s so weird to see the old bridge in that picture. I’d almost forgotten what it looked like…great picture..

  • WSB July 13, 2009 (8:19 pm)

    I never saw the old bridge since I hadn’t visited Seattle before 1988. Was so thrilled to find this in the Municipal Archives (which means they are public property and usable for purposes like these) … there are some cool websites with bridge-construction pix but I’d have had to write somebody for permission and that might have taken a while.

  • miws July 13, 2009 (9:38 pm)

    And don’t forget the great pics of the various West Seattle Bridges, from throughout the history of our “town”!


    Also, the railroad bridge will turn 100, in 2011!



  • A July 14, 2009 (7:15 am)

    Completely. Ridiculous.
    Whereas City Council is looking for meaningless ways to spend our money; and Whereas it has been a long, summery spring; and Whereas we’d like to “aw shucks welcome in” Rusty Williams before the vote; and Whereas we don’t have anything more important to spend time on; Now Therefore let us purchase overpriced signs and pay twice the going rate to have them installed on the West Seattle Bridge because nobody really cares about a few thousand dollars here and there.
    Anybody know of another bridge need namin’? We got time on our hands and money burnin’ holes in our City pockets.

  • Pete July 14, 2009 (9:17 am)

    Funny how the city council can name something after someone who has been deceased less than a year but the community cannot have something named after someone who has been deceased less than three years. I guess it is a perk of being an elected official of the city.

  • WSHC July 14, 2009 (12:28 pm)

    WSB is a transplant?!

  • WSB July 14, 2009 (12:36 pm)

    Yeah, sorry. Another one of those idiot Californians who flocked up here in the early ’90s. But I was recruited. And we changed our license plates really fast.

  • Scott B. July 14, 2009 (5:23 pm)

    The old West Seattle Bridge was two side by side metal spans. One of them was older than the other, but I don’t remember which. The freighter hit the north span, which ended up being stuck in the opened position.

    I remember reading an opinion/editorial during construction speculating that the steep gradients and the “low” barriers at the sides of The Bridge would result in cars going off over the side during snow. That seems funny now, but a young woman’s car did go over the side of the Ballard Bridge quite a few years ago.

    I’ve always thought The Bridge should be named after Rolf Neslund.

  • miws July 16, 2009 (3:30 pm)

    Scott B, Confirming through West Side Story, the northern bridge, (the span the ship hit ;) ), was the older of the two.


    It was dedicated on December 21, 1924. Bridge No. 2, was opened on September 20, 1930.



Sorry, comment time is over.