We originally checked out today’s City Council Transportation Committee meeting – during which we happened onto the Pigeon Point briefing – because of an agenda item about the city’s bridge-inspection program. The committee’s chair, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, had shared photos with us recently after a tour that preceded today’s briefing – he and SDOT reps visited some of the city’s bridges, and his photos you see above and below show the “low bridge” from outside its control tower. No major news in this morning’s briefing, but interesting numbers: 146 city-owned bridges in Seattle (almost 170 others are owned by other entities); 46 of them are more than 60 years old, like the Admiral Way Bridge (cool historic construction shots here), and replacing them would cost the city about $1.5 billion, so they’re trying to prolong the bridges’ life. “Intrusion of water” is the main reason concrete bridges (like Admiral, which is “concrete truss”) fail, the committee was told; not because the concrete goes bad, but because water seeps in, corrodes the steel rebar, which in turn expands and starts breaking up the concrete. The city has steel bridges, too, and its main preservation work for those involves painting each one at least every 18 years; the repainting program costs $1 million-plus each year. Bridges are inspected routinely, following federal standards.
By the way, did you know the “low bridge” is the only bridge of its kind in the world?