West Seattle, Washington
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB, unless otherwise credited)
Good news if you are among the nighttime drivers dealing with west-end bridge closures for the Fauntleroy Expressway quake-resistance project (well, technically, seismic retrofitting): The work is ahead of schedule, according to superintendent Jeff Bailey with general contractor C.A. Carey.
We (WSB editor Tracy Record and contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli) met Bailey and his crew last night while visiting the work site under the bridge with Bob Derry of Stepherson & Associates, which is doing communications consulting on the project; we’ve brought you their updates in multiple community-council reports over the past four months.
If you’re just tuning in – the Fauntleroy Expressway is the almost-half-century-old, half-mile-long western end of the high bridge. It’s undergoing work with this goal, from the project page: “Once completed, the seismic retrofitting improvements will decrease the probability that the Fauntleroy Expressway will collapse after a large magnitude earthquake.”
Seeing the current work up close, it’s not as dramatic as the images evoked when we heard the crew would spend months lifting the bridge deck, one section at a time, to replace rubber seismic cushions. The “lifting” does not involve some kind of big hoist, no cranes, nothing overhead, in fact – it actually involves crews going up in cherry-pickers to place a 600-pound jack under each (up to) 100-ton girder:
Here’s a closer look at one of the jacks:
Once the jacks are in place, the crew uses them to lift the bridge deck one inch (any more, Bailey explains, and the rules change), taking out the old cushion, then testing the space with this T-shaped tool dangling short chains:
(Cameraphone photo by Tracy Record)
The sound of the chain links against the concrete helps crews confirm if the concrete is in good shape.
(Photo courtesy Bob Derry)
And when they put in a new cushion, it has “glue” on one side. You can see all the phases in this video Christopher put together – including the traffic passing by on both sides of the work zone:
The project also has involved jacketing bridge support columns with steel. Next week, Bailey explained, they’ll put grout in, between the steel and the concrete, though he says the void isn’t that wide – one inch all around.
Watching all the work from beneath, we wondered aloud what’s visible atop the bridge while the deck is being raised from below. So Bailey took us up to look. Turns out you would barely notice the bump if you drove over it:
Our trip topside was more notable just for the chance to stand on the bridge without traffic.
(That’s Bailey at left, Derry at right.) But back underneath, the crew – about 20 people on an average night, according to Bailey – was moving forward, removing and replacing the cushions, one by one, moving from girder to girder, section to section.
So far, he added, they haven’t heard many complaints about effects of the project and its closures. We mentioned receiving a few notes earlier this week about the under-bridge park/ride spaces being blocked off earlier this week; he said the crews had moved fast enough in the previous few nights for much of the space to open back up again.
What’s next? Overnight closures are expected on weeknights the next two weeks; there’s no firm plan yet for weekend closures, which were mentioned as a possibility during community-meeting briefings next fall. The $3 million project, funded by the Bridging the Gap levy, is expected to be complete before summer.
Four days before a member of the Seattle Police Aggressive Driver Response Team makes a guest appearance at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s next meeting, ADRT was back in action in West Seattle today, including 35th SW, Admiral Way, and local school zones. See the SPD Blotter roundup here; come to the Southwest Precinct (Webster/Delridge) at 7 pm Tuesday to hear how they work (and ask questions!).
We have groused lately that the word “amazing” is overused. However – it truly applies to what graced the sky around 5 tonight, as do glorious, spectacular, breathtaking, (your favorite superlative here). Thanks to everyone sharing photos. (Ever heard the explanation for sunset colors?) Top, Brad Huskinson shot that from the Me-Kwa-Mooks area. Next, JayDee‘s view, looking over Alki Point:
Two more ahead:Read More
With school now out for the three-day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day holiday weekend, many students will be coming home with stories about special assemblies in honor of Dr. King and what he stood for. Madison Middle School shares this photo of principal Henterson Carlisle (left) and house administrator Elizabeth Shields (right) with Madison’s special assembly speaker, Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney, longtime Seattle civil-rights leader and friend of Dr. King. As noted in Rev. Dr. McKinney’s biography on HistoryLink, his many accomplishments include his longtime leadership of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church, as pastor from 1958-1998 (he is still listed there as its Pastor Emeritus). He invited Dr. King to Seattle for his only visit here, in November 1961 (HistoryLink tells that story too).
ADDED 7:42 PM: CC shared a photo too – her 8th-grade daughter Chanel with the Rev. Dr. McKinney and Madison’s Dr. Virgie Harris, the friend who invited him to speak at the school:
Big event at Madison next week, by the way – Literacy Night on Thursday (details here).
Word is just getting out about an achievement by a young poet at West Seattle High School. Freshman Charli Elliott read one of her poems at a Seattle Arts and Lectures poetry event at Benaroya Hall in December. The headliner was award-winning poet Terrance Hayes, in the next photo with Charli, who read a poem inspired by his work.
WSHS shared it with us, to share with you:
Freedom of Speech
by Charli Elliott
I want to always rise to the
Challenge. I want to never sit alone.
I want to learn to talk and be heard.
I want to watch as the grass grows
Old and dies. Month after month. Year after year.
I want to see. If the moon can rise
Every night, I want the taste
Of freedom on the tip of my tongue
I want to touch you, dance with you on
A cloud made of light. I want to lose myself
In the labyrinth and rolling waves
Of your eyes. I want to free myself
Of hate. I want to be free from the shackles of freedom.
I want to be free, and free of freedom,
With its cold irons clasped on your wrists. Its
Frenzied thoughts, its open plains, and definition
Tied neatly with a bow. I want to be free of
Words without meaning and listlessness. My anger,
My loss and apologies, my doubt.
If the rain can cleanse the earth
I want a fresh soul. I want the stones wisdom
And the earth’s flexibility. I want the lights
Ubiquity, but not its invisible touch
I want the reliance of the sun, but not its fury.
I want the strength of the universe. I want to search
The rolling hills of elsewhere and find
You there. I want the tips of your fingers
In the small of my back. I want to be the tree
But not the leaves. I do not want to be the grass
I do not want to be the dew covered spider web,
Or the spider. When I leave this body
I want to be sheer power. I want to have a voice.
(Charli’s proud mom, by the way, is Sonya Elliott, who coaches her and other athletes on the WSHS girls’ basketball team, and is also a writer.)
11:48 AM: Here’s where things are at with the buzz of possible snow in the days ahead: The National Weather Service‘s new “forecast discussion” – where they go in-depth with the info that’s shaping their forecasts – says “spotty snow showers” are likely tomorrow night around much of the region. Snow showers remain possible through Sunday and Monday, and then Tuesday has a possible collision between lingering cold air and incoming “warm rain” that might “start as snow.” As always with these things, we won’t REALLY know till we get there – but if you had to summarize it now, think “snow readiness” but not “snow panic.” (Note that the forecast also mentions wind tomorrow.) Meantime, SDOT says it has “crews on standby” (here’s its readiness report) and also warns about possible black ice Saturday night. WSDOT is talking about its readiness at a media briefing this afternoon. Forecasts should be updated by 3:30 pm or so; we’ll add the latest then (or anything sooner).
3:33 PM UPDATE: Now the forecast has accelerated to possible snow showers in the morning. It’ll be notably colder in the next several days, with highs expected in the 30s.
Friends helping organize efforts on behalf of fire victim and animal advocate Teri Ensley had promised a fundraising event as well as other ongoing efforts – and they’ve just announced the date via Facebook, as well as a request for auction donations:
There will be a mini-pub crawl next Thursday 1/19 at 7pm at the Feedback Lounge & Beveridge Place Pub. The Feedback Lounge is hosting “Teri’s House Party” and all money raised will go directly to Teri and the Beveridge Place Pub will be hosting “F4 – Furry Faces Fire Fund”, with all proceeds going to Furry Faces. There will be silent auctions at both places and we need your help! Do you have any connections for gift certificates or great prizes? Please let us know ASAP and your gift will help either Teri or Furry Faces regain what they lost in the fire.
This is via the just-set-up FB page Teri’s Fire Fund. We expect to have additional updated information later today, and will add it. If you missed earlier coverage – the fire happened this past Monday morning (WSB coverage here); no human injuries but one cat, Pouncer, died, while another, Jared, was rescued and given oxygen before going to a clinic.
ADDED 10:55 AM: The added update info, shared by Sara Riehl from Animal Aid and Rescue Foundation:
Teri has been having good days, Tammy (F3) says yesterday (Thursday) she was going well, she was focused, she knows the support she has in the community and I really think this is helping her recover from her tragedy. We have a group of her close friends checking in with her but giving her some space right now so she can process what has occurred 4 long days ago. Teri has started going through the house and figuring out what might be salvageable and what needs to be thrown out. This is a process she would like to do privately. She had said Wednesday night that she thinks she can finally admit what had happened was real, which is a positive step. But as many of you know Teri, her being focused and having a task in front of her that she is in control of will help her process what her next step in recovery will be. We will keep checking in and hopefully building on her list of what things she will need to replace.
On to other things, the stuff that everyone can help with.
All of Teri’s personal cats and foster cats have been at Lien Animal Clinic since the fire; due to the smoke they were all exposed to their throats are all sore. They also have to be kept in a warm environment, around 70 degrees, for the next 3 weeks to minimize their chance of getting pneumonia. This is very common for animals to get if they are involved in a fire. Jarred (the cat the was resuscitated by a very nice firefighter) is doing very well, he is stable, he has still not eaten but due to his very irritated throat this is not concerning to his vets. If he does not start eating by today, they will give him a feeding tube to help him until he is feeling better. Lien has really stepped up and has gone above and beyond to help Teri and her cats transition. They are constantly updating her and allow her to come and visit with the cats daily. Teri’s bill is slowly getting more and more expensive. If you would like to make a donation to help with this vet bill please call Lien Animal Hospital at: 206-932-1133 and tell them you are donating to Furry Faces Foundation.
New List of Donation Needs:
Organizational Supplies- clear bins
Anything organizational related
Air tight containers to store food in
Medical supplies for animals
Animal Vaccination supplies
Teri Personal List of Donation Needs:
Work shoes, low to no heal, comfortable casual work shoes size 7 ½ to 8, women’s
More pants- she needs more dressier pants for work
Good books to read
The donation link via Facebook is here; we’re still confirming which one is the focus for non-FB’ers.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you harbor that festering suspicion that citizen involvement can’t make a difference – here’s the latest case in which it did: The new park-that’s-not-technically-a-park on Denny International Middle School‘s former site.
Three-plus years ago, when the district invited neighbors to help shape the site plan – as long as a few requirements (especially tennis courts and softball field to replace the ones lost on the new Sealth/Denny site to the northeast) were met – Westwood community leaders didn’t just show up for meetings, they roughed out their own vision (above) and fought for it in the process:
(WSB photo from January 12, 2009)
Now, except for a finishing touch here and there, the site work is complete, and you’re welcome to use the area. Though the final layout of what ultimately became a $6 million project is different (here’s what was presented in February 2009), several elements on which they insisted have become reality – particularly pathways through the site:
(SDOT cam looking north at 99 through SODO, from the WSB Traffic cams page)
7:40 AM: Just got word of the Battery St. Tunnel closure from SDOT via Twitter. If it lasts for long, 99 northbound will be worse than usual – so if you’re heading into downtown, you might want to opt for 1st or 4th exits from the bridge.
7:51 AM: SDOT says it’s now been cleared and reopened.
(Navios Hyperion in Elliott Bay this week, shared by Don Brubeck via the WSB Flickr group pool)
First Friday the 13th of the year, and there’s still talk of snow on the way (not today/tonight, though). Here’s what else is on the radar, from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:
‘KING TIDE’: The highest high tides of this month, peaking where they did a few weeks ago, are today and tomorrow (here’s the chart) – today, it’s 12.8 feet at 7:49 am.
MOUNTAIN TO SOUND DEMO @ ALPENTAL: Going skiing? Or – you weren’t planning on it, but interested? West Seattle’s Mountain To Sound Outfitters will be at Alpental tonight for Demo Ski and Snowboard Night, 4 pm – close, with “new model skis from Lib Tech, Rossignol, 4FRNT, Atomic, Blizzard, Salomon and snowboards by Gnu. Limited gear will be offered first come, first serve,” according to M2SO’s Greg Whittaker. They’re also offering a special Seattle Ski Shuttle trip to the event – call 206-935-7669 or e-mail info@m2soutfitters to see if there’s still space.
LIVE MUSIC: Beeda at C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor), 6-8 pm … Hondo II, Poland, Sweet Secrets at Skylark Café and Club, 9 pm ($5 cover) … Ultimate Sellout Band at Heartland Café’s Benbow Room, 9 pm-1 am … Burley Mountain at Alki Tavern … The Fiasco at Talarico’s
Something for the calendar? The sooner you send it, the more people see it! Don’t worry about having to write a big “press release,” just send a few lines with the basic what/who/when/where (and a link if you have one), plain text in your e-mail (not an attachment), recurring meetings/events/nightlife welcome as well as one-time announcements, email@example.com – call 206-293-6302 if you have a question – thanks!