County now says South Park Bridge won’t be open until summer

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new South Park Bridge, looks like the wait is going to be a bit longer. The projected opening timeframe for the bridge has been “spring 2014” for a while … but today, the county’s detailed invitation to next week’s South Park slideshow presentation on bridge construction says it won’t open until sometime this summer, after extensive wiring work. A cached copy of the project webpage shows it displaying “Anticipated Opening: Spring 2014” as recently as last Sunday.

The bridge originally was projected to open in fall 2013; as first reported on WSB and partner site The South Park News in fall 2012, that changed because foundation work took longer than planned. We have a request out to the county for comment on what has caused the latest change. The old bridge was closed June 30, 2010, after being deemed unsafe; funding for a replacement wasn’t certain by that point, but was eventually secured, and the new bridge’s groundbreaking was in May 2011.

4:09 PM UPDATE: County Transportation Department spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok says this isn’t the result of a new problem, but rather the re-evaluation of the timeline. Her response, ahead:

I think the South Park community is aware that the contractor encountered significant excavation and foundation issues when constructing the bridge piers more than a year ago – and those problems delayed the timeline. Now we are approaching spring so we wanted folks to know we are now looking at a summer timeframe. As was mentioned in the update, heavy construction is winding down and we are entering the final phase of the project that involves a major electrical installation. Because this phase is so tedious and complex, we won’t have an exact opening date until we get further into the installation. We don’t want to throw out a completion date and have to revise again –that would only add to the frustration some are feeling.

We can sympathize with those in the community who wish the project was done. We also want the bridge reopened. We want to assure the community we are anxious for the contractor to complete this final phase in a timely manner. We will let folks know when we expect the bridge to open as we move through this last phase of electrical work.

20 Replies to "County now says South Park Bridge won't be open until summer"

  • Dale Rowe March 19, 2014 (4:30 pm)

    This project has been delayed five times, and will likely be at least a year late. The “Spring 2014” completion date, most recently promised to the community, already accounted for the previous delays and problems.
    This is not a joke to the residents and businesses in South Park, although the communications the neighborhood receives from the project managers often sounds like it.

  • Mike March 19, 2014 (5:13 pm)

    While unfortunate, it will be opening quite soon. Looks like a nice bridge.

  • dsa March 19, 2014 (5:13 pm)

    It sounds like they knew it would be delayed again. The issue I see is not informing the public in a timely matter.

  • Fred Johnson March 19, 2014 (5:59 pm)

    King County needs to grow a pair…. unless there are meaningful changes in conditions that warrant time extensions, a hard bid job has a fixed completion date.

  • smokeycretin9 March 19, 2014 (7:01 pm)

    they are waiting to see when they can shut the viaduct down. They dont want to make it easy on West Seattlites.

  • Johnston March 19, 2014 (7:29 pm)

    I work in South Park, and while this news is unfortunate, I can wait a little longer. There was a time when it looked like the bridge would never be rebuilt after the first TIGER grant fell through. Now it’s almost done. It’s been a big project, and I’m not upset about the time or money to finish it.

  • Ray March 19, 2014 (8:08 pm)

    Union construction job. Dragging it out, as long as they can…..

    There is NO reason the city should have waited as long. Either they are incompetent in project management and not paying attention to their contractors, or they are incompetent because…. well, they really have no excuse.

  • Vanilla Gorrilla March 19, 2014 (9:26 pm)


  • K Davis March 19, 2014 (9:52 pm)

    Ray – your ignorance is impressive. This is a County job – not a city job.

    Fred Johnson … you win a prize too, for not knowing what you’re talking about.

    The delays are due to 1. problems with sinking the two caisson piers in the Duwamish (one sank too slowly in hard soil and the other, too far in soft soil) and 2. problems with balancing the bridge leafs. Technical challenges that aren’t easily blamed on a scapegoat as you each seem to want to. Not a “union” issue. But by all means, rant away even though you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • DTK March 19, 2014 (9:55 pm)

    Johnston is right. And if I can borrow a motorcycle it looks like a great ramp-to-ramp jump.

  • velo_nut March 20, 2014 (7:07 am)

    I’m involved with this project and the delays have nothing to do with “Unions dragging it out”.
    Just relax, we’re building you a fantastic bridge.

  • miws March 20, 2014 (7:58 am)

    Memory is not serving me well, right now, as to all of the fine detail of the history of the South Park Bridge replacement issue, what with “whose job” it was to replace the Bridge, with three jurisdictions involved; King County, Seattle, Tukwila.


    But the true blame lies somewhere in there, and perhaps even Voters, if Bond issues were voted on for a replacement project. Again, don’t recall off the top of my head. The Union(s), the Crew, etc are not the villains here.


    The Bridge should have been replaced years ago, in a manner that would have allowed the old one to continue serving the South Park Community, with no or minimal interruption.



  • sophista-tiki March 20, 2014 (2:11 pm)

    ahhh! I CANT WAIT! getting in and out of the hood has been one continuous nighmare without the South Park Bridge. With devlopers shoving more and more people into WS by the second , this extra route cant get here soon enough.

  • Teri Ensley March 20, 2014 (4:10 pm)

    @ K Davis and velo nut. Thank you for your sensible, accurate updates.

  • wetone March 20, 2014 (5:47 pm)

    Sounds like some bad engineering if what you say is true K Davis. With todays technology both issues you mention should have been know ahead of build. Would be curious as to cost overruns from original design bid. Doesn’t really matter if it’s a county or city job, union or non. It is one the tax payers are paying for and do to bad engineering and design work will be paying more. Seems to be an all to common problem here these days.

  • paul m March 21, 2014 (7:16 am)

    It will re open before Bertha moves another inch.

  • K Davis March 21, 2014 (10:48 am)

    wetone – you also don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t understand mindless, uninformed rants like that. Building a bridge with piers set in a river is a complicated thing. There are always risks. Sometimes things are harder than expected. Maybe there was a design problem on SPB or maybe the contractor messed up, or maybe it is no one’s “fault”. That all remains to be seen and no doubt it will be addressed. But your willingness to just toss out an ignorant opinion adds absolutely nothing to the discussion.

    And by the way – check out this fact – the project is still on budget. So get over it.

  • wetone March 21, 2014 (4:11 pm)

    Just going off what info you have stated K Davis.

    “The delays are due to 1. problems with sinking the two caisson piers in the Duwamish (one sank too slowly in hard soil and the other, too far in soft soil) and 2. problems with balancing the bridge leafs. ” ” And by the way – check out this fact – the project is still on budget”

    Not only engineering and design work, but something fishy about original bid if project is almost 2yrs behind original finish date and still on budget ? and having problems balancing bridge leafs really…. not engineering/design issue… If you are involved with this project I can see why there’s problems… wow

  • WSB March 21, 2014 (4:16 pm)

    1 year, not 2 years. As reported above, it was originally expected to open in fall 2013. We *reported in fall 2012* that it would be spring 2014 instead … and now we have summer 2014.

  • wetone March 21, 2014 (5:07 pm)

    Thanks for catching that WSB ment to say 1yr :)

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