Followup: 2 West Seattle bridges proposed for temp sensors

(November 22, 2010, photo by Paul)
Would a temperature sensor on the West Seattle Bridge have helped city crews get snow/ice trouble under control sooner in recent years’ storms? Seven bridges would get sensors under a proposal that Mayor McGinn called attention to in his budget-presentation speeches today. Reading even the finest of the fine print on the budget plan, we couldn’t find which seven bridges would be targeted, so we checked in with SDOT. Spokesperson Richard Sheridan says the list is not finalized yet, but the recommendations so far would include not only the “high bridge” but also West Seattle’s “swing” (low) bridge, as well as the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Aurora Bridge. This will all be hashed out over the next two months before the budget plan is finalized; your opportunities to have a say include public hearings, starting with one downtown a week from tomorrow (details here).

11 Replies to "Followup: 2 West Seattle bridges proposed for temp sensors"

  • Dusky September 26, 2011 (10:00 pm)

    Isn’t obvious that when the air temperature is below freezing that the bridges are iced over? He’s going to get rid of 100 city jobs but wants to spend money on the ridiculous!?!

  • wsjeep September 26, 2011 (10:03 pm)

    Such a waste of money.

  • Hormel September 26, 2011 (10:11 pm)

    How about we get temperature sensors in the articulated busses that tell the drivers not to drive them up then get the stuck on our hills when it is icy?

  • helridge September 26, 2011 (10:12 pm)

    He’s the mayor and a fine one at that.

  • miws September 26, 2011 (10:28 pm)

    A bit of West Seattle trivia: IIRC, there was some type of heating element system embedded in the road surface of the High-Rise Bridge that would have prevented it from icing up during sub-freezing weather, but the system never worked.



  • bolo September 26, 2011 (10:45 pm)

    Would a temperature sensor help? Not sure, depends on what SDOT does with the data. What will help more? The new Coastal Radar (thanks Sen. Maria Cantwell, Pres. Obama, and others) will hopefully give a higher accuracy to weather forecasts.

    IIRC, the last bad storms caused problems for more than just the WS bridges. I-5, hills, non-arterials, even arterials were mostly impassable.

    SDOT should first try to improve the continual major problem of the WS Bridge, try eastbound 7-10am weekdays?

    • WSB September 26, 2011 (11:09 pm)

      Some interesting info about bridge sensors here:
      I don’t know if the second step of “connect to anti-freeze sprays” is contemplated here. I expect to seek more followups on this and other issues potentially affecting the peninsula as the budget process proceeds. But I do recall at least one of our recent snowtastrophes had to do with bridge surfaces that encountered a steeper temperature drop than expected, and that rendered the deployed city tactic dangerous – remember? the time when they sprayed salt water but it turned to ice instead because the temperature had dropped too far for it to be helpful, and instead we wound up with sheet-of-ice Viaduct etc.? (Have to look it up, but that’s my top-level recollection) – TR

  • ttt September 26, 2011 (10:59 pm)

    I voted for the guy. I regret that vote.

  • Jasperblu September 27, 2011 (2:14 am)

    Wonder what Professor Cliff Mass thinks about temp sensors on bridges? Hmmmm…

  • redblack September 27, 2011 (6:27 am)

    i think it’s a great idea. bridges can freeze when the air temperature is above freezing, you know. happens every winter on the jeanette williams memorial bridge, first ave south bridge, tacoma narrows bridge, and the viaduct.

  • Amanda L. September 27, 2011 (2:49 pm)

    I would rather have my community center.

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