Also from the Transportation Committee: Bridge briefing

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?

6 Replies to "Also from the Transportation Committee: Bridge briefing"

  • JAT March 9, 2010 (2:52 pm)

    if, by only bridge of its kind in the world, you mean a route depended upon by hundreds of bicycle commuters which routinely is opened during rush hour to let boats through, then, no I don’t believe it.

  • mark March 9, 2010 (3:11 pm)

    Actually, there is an episode on TV (forgot which show, maybe Dirty Jobs?) about what it takes to maintain the bridge, and yes, what a dirty job it is.

  • frog baseball March 9, 2010 (8:20 pm)

    JAT, you seem to not understand maritime law. the waterway was there first, boats have the right of way. been that way for hundreds of years. suck it up.

  • flynlo March 9, 2010 (9:15 pm)

    frog baseball – How often does the army corp of engineers dredge the river to make it a “waterway”?

    For “hundreds of years” the only thing that could navigate the waterway was a canoe!!

  • JAT March 10, 2010 (9:30 am)

    I got a pretty reasonable grade in Admiralty back in law school, as a matter of fact.

    Nevertheless, opening the bridge at rush hour to prioritize the interest of a commercial shipping company (who by no means need to sail with the tides as they may have back when the common law was established) over the interests of the many people in the community offends my sensibilities.

    good of the many over the good of the few – I must be a socialist, but I do understand maritime law.

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