Spokane Street Viaduct project: Ramp girders finally arrive

One week after our in-depth update on the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project – which has been closing the east end of the West Seattle Bridge most weeknights lately – there’s a milestone of sorts: Crews are starting to install long-delayed steel girders that SDOT said had been holding up the new 1st Avenue South on/offramp. Brad tipped us off via Twitter:

Before stopping nearby for the photo you see above, we sent an inquiry to SDOT, asking if the resumption of work meant those girders were finally arriving. Spokesperson Rick Sheridan‘s reply:

You are correct. The installation of the steel girders for the First Avenue S on- and off-ramp is now underway.

The contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation on the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project began this week installing the steel girders necessary for constructing the First Avenue S on- and off-ramp. The installation is taking place during the night.

After much delay, half of the girders required for the ramp arrived from their source in Montana and the contractor expects it will take several weeks to install these. The other half of the girders has not yet arrived. With the full installation of these girders, the remaining construction of the ramp can proceed.

The ramp is expected to be available as an offramp sometime this spring – but not as an onramp from 1st until the project is virtually complete, probably late July. Meantime, construction closures continue – the newest update is here – and keep in mind, this is SEPARATE from the project at the WEST end of the WS Bridge, which is the Fauntleroy Expressway Seismic Retrofit Project, responsible for closures of its own (including all day this coming Sunday). That project too should be complete this summer.

23 Replies to "Spokane Street Viaduct project: Ramp girders finally arrive "

  • Question February 15, 2012 (4:35 pm)

    Is that why traffic is ridiculous on the lower bridge right now?

  • RobertSeattle February 15, 2012 (4:41 pm)

    Wrong Color! :-)

  • Mike February 15, 2012 (4:55 pm)

    Just a question, does Nucor Steel do the same thing as the source in Montana? I am not familiar with everything they may do.
    It looks like these would have been custom designs though (with a very large scale).
    If they do this type of work, why wasn’t this a more local steel purchase?

    It just makes sense to me to order from someone 3 miles from the site rather than over 400…

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my Montana family, but I would rather have local projects funding local jobs.

  • CandrewB February 15, 2012 (4:59 pm)

    No wonder it took so long, having the delivery coordinated with all of those Penske trucks lined up in a row.

    • WSB February 15, 2012 (5:29 pm)

      Sorry, that’s as close as I could get to where they were working at the moment, aside from shooting out of the car window in the other direction while holding up a line of honking drivers behind me. – TR

  • Snow Wimp February 15, 2012 (5:08 pm)

    Great news.

  • WestSeattleDrew February 15, 2012 (5:27 pm)

    ABOUT TIME!!!! Why didn’t they build the off/on ramp first.

  • JonF February 15, 2012 (5:45 pm)

    car window? as an intrepid reporter we expect you to be chasing down these stories on a bmw supercharged sportbike! and holding up traffic! :-)

    joking aside, my gosh can’t wait until the day I don’t have to drive or bike down hanford – worse rail line pott hole ridden street in Seattle, or so it seems…

    • WSB February 15, 2012 (5:56 pm)

      JonF, bless you, I am a woman of size, age, and generally-in-overdrive self-preservation instinct, so it’s me and one of the sedate Hondas most of the time, ages 8 and 10. Funny imagery you conjure, though. – TR

  • ILoveWestSeattle February 15, 2012 (5:59 pm)

    Great question from Mike. Do you suppose you might get an answer on that for the inquring minds out here, WSB? :)

  • Genesee Hill February 15, 2012 (5:59 pm)

    Ah, TR, as usual you are right on top of things. Thank you so much.

    It is nice to see the first of the girders up on 1st Avenue South. The viaduct is definitely improving. Compare the present to a couple of years ago.

    The now functional “Costco cut-off” to 4th Avenue South alone should be worth a few “yipees.”

    In spite of my sometimes “over-complaining,” I think progress is being made big time. This construction is not cheap, and it is progressing. We are fortunate, in West Seattle, in many ways. Number one being the gorgeous place we live.

    This West Seattle Freeway/Spokane Street viaduct will be a much safer and greatly improved highway.

    Yes, I wish we had a light rail spur to West Seattle. But, when the new Metro route 50 (I believe) runs to SODO Link Station in the fall, and the Link line to Capitol Hill and to the UW is finished, think how nice that will be. I can hardly wait.

    Overall, transportation is improving. And, in the not-too-distant future, the Link line to Bellevue/Redmond will be a reality.

    These are all improvements that I thought that I would never see in my lifetime.

  • fiz February 15, 2012 (6:41 pm)

    TR, you’re a total hoot!

  • East Coast Cynic February 15, 2012 (7:36 pm)

    The Metro Route 50 to reach Link SODO would only work for people who live in Alki or Admiral. Everybody else would still be in a position of having to drive most places outside of Downtown.

    And how crowded will the WS Freeway/Spokane street section get once tolling begins on the new 99/tunnel?

    We’ll have a nice entrance back to WS on the new 1st Ave S ramp, but other than that, I believe we can expect the usual slog in other ways.

  • Traci February 15, 2012 (7:44 pm)

    This is seriously better than Christmas. Inevitably when I have worked too late at the coffee factory, hungry dogs at home itching for a walk, I am faced waiting for a train that apparently exists only to torture tired commuters praying for it to move out of the way before the sun comes up. When the joyous time comes for the train to finally move consistently in one direction the lower bridge is open for marine traffic!!!

    Did I mention this is BETTER than Christmas???

  • Bob Loblaw February 15, 2012 (8:56 pm)

    The ramp girders are here! The ramp girders are here! I feel like Navin R. Johnson seeing phone books!

    • WSB February 16, 2012 (9:59 am)

      BobL, that made me laugh.

  • Big G February 15, 2012 (9:31 pm)

    I too am very happy about this, but I would like to know where the accountability is from the Seattle DOT. They originally said the on and off ramps to 1st would be completed for fall of 2011 and the entire project would be completed summer 2012. Well, those on and off ramps are going to be almost a year late! What the hell happened? As someone who travels to SODO several times a week, this has had a huge impact my family’s life the last few years. Having it be so late is beyond frustrating.

  • Question February 16, 2012 (8:37 am)

    Accountability from Seattle dot???? You’re going to be waiting a while my friend. Just look at road maintenance in the city. There are more potholes in this city and they are on every single road

  • ScottA February 16, 2012 (9:41 am)

    From Mike:

    Just a question, does Nucor Steel do the same thing as the source in Montana? I am not familiar with everything they may do.
    It looks like these would have been custom designs though (with a very large scale).
    If they do this type of work, why wasn’t this a more local steel purchase?
    It just makes sense to me to order from someone 3 miles from the site rather than over 400…

    I believe the Nucor plant at the WS Bridge only produces rebar for concrete reinforcing. Even if it did produce raw structural steel shapes there’s still a need for the fabricator to cut and weld the shapes together into girders. Fabricators (versus steel mills) are located all over the region so if you want competitive bids it’s quite possible that it will be a Montana or Oregon steel fabricator that does the work.

  • Construction Guy February 16, 2012 (11:40 am)

    The delay is inexcusable. These girders could have been fabricated at any of the major shipyards in a couple of weeks.


  • Jiggers February 16, 2012 (11:51 am)

    I can’t wait for the day when you literally won’t be able to get into downtown because it will be so gridlocked.

  • Neo-Realist February 16, 2012 (1:02 pm)

    Jiggers, wait 5 years

  • Jiggers February 16, 2012 (1:38 pm)

    Neo… I’m not going to be here when the sh*t hits the ceiling one way or another. You guys can have the fun.

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