Followup: Repair plan for the West Seattle Bridge lights

(Image from SDOT camera on the bridge, saved early Monday – note the dark zone in the center)
If you have driven the West Seattle “high bridge” after dark/before dawn in the past week or so, you’ve no doubt noticed the stretch of non-working lights between Highway 99 and the bridge crest. (And this isn’t the first trouble since the LED lights were installed last year.) After multiple inquiries, we mentioned last Friday that city sources had confirmed Seattle City Light was on it. So why aren’t they fixed yet? We followed up today with SCL, whose Scott Thomsen tells WSB:

After we got reports of the lights being out, we had a line service crew do a patrol and inspect the lights that were out. They determined that the cause for the majority of them was a failed piece of equipment called a breaker/contactor. The part is on order. It is scheduled to be delivered Jan. 5 and will be installed as soon as it arrives. Then, the crew will do another patrol to assess any remaining lights that are still out.

13 Replies to "Followup: Repair plan for the West Seattle Bridge lights"

  • AG December 30, 2014 (2:34 pm)

    … and I got called a “whiny liberal who needs the government to babysit” in the comments here a week or two ago for mentioning how dark it’s been. Hrmph. I guess I feel justified.

  • sc December 30, 2014 (7:11 pm)

    Coming southbound on 99 to the exit for the West Bridge it is so dark it is hard to see the lane. Maybe they could put up a temporary light to help see the exit?

  • Kennedy December 30, 2014 (7:44 pm)

    I haven’t heard this many problems with LEDs lights before. Are other LEDs lights in the city having these problems or is this isolated to the West Seattle bridge span only?

  • LyndaB December 30, 2014 (8:08 pm)

    ^That sounds like a great idea! I second that.

  • Salt Spray December 30, 2014 (8:09 pm)

    The part is on order?? One would think that they would keep at least a few such parts in stock. I’m sure that this isn’t an isolated incident or cause.

  • Lizabeth December 31, 2014 (12:10 am)

    And City Light has no way to report the problem on their website or hotlines (after hours, which is when it’s noticeable, in the dark). I tried calling about it last night, but the only phone # listed is for leaving a message about an issue at your own home. Then I kept trying to input ‘West Seattle bridge” on the website, but just got a ‘service area not covered’ error message. Finally called 911, as it has seemed a little dangerous this week, but it was apparently news to them. I should have thought to check the blog!

    • WSB December 31, 2014 (12:19 am)

      Funny that it’s news to 911 – it’s turned up in SPD’s Tweets by Beat at least twice in recent days, obviously as a result of people calling. Thanks for trying so hard to make sure somebody knew. Too often, people assume something’s being handled – and it’s not, because everyone else assumed somebody already had reported it, etc. …

  • Eldon December 31, 2014 (7:51 am)

    Correction to one of the earlier comments about there being no way to report streetlight outages on website. Go to the Streetlight Trouble Report web page at
    There are instructions there to report via phone or a hot link to report via web.

  • Lizabeth December 31, 2014 (9:56 am)

    Thanks, Eldon, good to know, & it worked. I did keep inputting ‘streetlight’ the other night w/ no luck (on the Sea. City Light search engine), but maybe a temporary snafu. And clearly I was in the wrong portion of their site, since it kept asking for phone #’s & exact addresses (which of course I couldn’t supply). I’m going to copy/paste that streetlight link into my own address book for future troubleshooting…

  • lj January 1, 2015 (1:07 pm)

    If you can’t see the exit without the lights on on the bridge but have your headlights on you are “outdriving your headlights” and need to slow down! !

  • acemotel January 2, 2015 (2:37 am)

    It’s so much better with those lights out. I haven’t had any trouble seeing the lanes or street conditions, and I drive that stretch 4 times a night, after dark. Most US cities are over-illuminated by far.

  • sc January 5, 2015 (9:56 am)

    I don’t “outdrive” my headlights. In fact I actually keep to the different speed limits on the bridge as I get passed by many drivers!
    Last night, around 7 pm, I drove the West Seattle bridge from the I-5 exit and the lights out made it difficult to see the lane markers which are worn and and hard to see without the lights.
    I will be glad when they are working again.

  • GlennS January 5, 2015 (12:37 pm)

    Ummm, all of the lane stripes on the Spokane Street viaduct are less than a year old. No, they don’t have the reflective bumps, but if you can’t see the lines when they’re dry, that’s not a problem with the lines. (Seeing jack all when it’s *wet* without the reflectors is a totally different problem…)

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