UPDATE: West Seattle ‘low bridge’ has reopened to non-maritime traffic

1:20 PM: The West Seattle “low bridge” has reopened after emergency hydraulic repairs kept it closed to non-maritime traffic for almost six days, SDOT just announced. More to come …

2:48 PM: A little more info just in from SDOT:

Around lunchtime today, Roadways Structures crews completed several test openings, and picked up all the traffic control and detour signage.

More details to come, when the damaged piston assembly is inspected later this week. Work focused singularly on efficient opening of the Spokane St Bridge, as a priority for travelers.

30 Replies to "UPDATE: West Seattle 'low bridge' has reopened to non-maritime traffic"

  • MrsL June 26, 2018 (1:35 pm)


  • Mary June 26, 2018 (1:39 pm)


  • susan June 26, 2018 (1:52 pm)

    Fantastic!     Now I don’t have to take Rapid Ride after work to get across!   Yea!

  • West Seattle since 1979 June 26, 2018 (2:47 pm)


  • Marc June 26, 2018 (2:51 pm)

    That’s great news!

  • West Sea Neighbor June 26, 2018 (2:52 pm)

    To the repair crew: fantastic work and thank you so much for going above and beyond to get this repair done ahead of schedule! Many people who you may never meet thank you BIG TIME!

  • Blinkyjoe June 26, 2018 (2:55 pm)

    Awsome!! Thanks to the tireless workers.

  • wscommuter June 26, 2018 (3:22 pm)

    I’m just waiting for all the folks who love to demonize SDOT on this forum to acknowledge that this problem was solved quickly.  But I suspect I’ll just hear crickets chirping.  

    • Lacey June 26, 2018 (8:01 pm)

      Look two comments up… yep.

      • West Seattle neighbor June 26, 2018 (9:28 pm)

        @lacey not sure where you are coming from, but I’ve never demonized sdot. Your comment is misplaced and not very friendly.

        • wsn00b June 27, 2018 (2:18 pm)

          @WSCommuter: Well don’t wait much longer. I’ll add some snark if you want.Woo-hoo! Glad this was done quickly. I was really missing the large set of (shoddily) “fixed” potholes and ruts under the bridge on the various intersections of Spokane and Spokane/Chelan/Marginal’s mega-intersection. I now look forward to messing up my car’s suspension on it or driving dangerously to avoid the ruts. Yay! Good job SDOT (on the bridge. Not so much on the pavement). 

  • BettleB June 26, 2018 (3:36 pm)

    Awesome! Thank’s for the shuttle! Saved many of us time and effort!!

  • Andrew D Krom June 26, 2018 (3:45 pm)

    If you are an engineer, you should look at Spokane Street Bridge and click on links.  Bridge was completed in 1991. 10- year simulation was performed. Look at the scope and design of lifting system. I’m very surprised that it only was down for a week. These are special millwrights who secured 7500 tons (hanging way out there) above the cylinder – nerves of steel. 

    • Chuck Edgin June 26, 2018 (4:48 pm)

      Andrew, do you have any links for this kind of information? I’ve googled it and found some historical descriptions, but not much on how the bridge was designed and engineered, or how it operates. 

      • WSB June 26, 2018 (4:52 pm)

        Lots of background in this link we’ve featured multiple times before:

        It is – or at least used to be – the only bridge of its kind. – TR

        • chemist June 26, 2018 (11:41 pm)

          Fascinating document.  I wonder if the “spare lift-turn cylinder was also constructed” mentioned on page 9 was swapped in during this operation.  I have no idea what the lifespan is of the cylinders is.

          • Question Authority June 27, 2018 (5:56 am)

            In hydraulic cylinders the usual components to wear out and fail are the seals, this happens from wear as the inner sleeve passes over them from continuous use.  Oil filtration systems are crucial in prolonging the life of all hydraulic systems, additional issues can happen from stress cracking of precision ground surfaces.   And, there has always been a spare ready for service so rebuilding this cylinder will need to happen to put it ready for later ” inevitable” use.

    • Question Authority June 26, 2018 (9:41 pm)

      For clarity it does not need to be balanced anymore then the usual day to day as it’s within the design to operate that way.  When the cylinder needs changing or anytime it’s  not being opened it rests on giant pads which support the weight.  All that was required was to rest it upon maintenance  blocks to remove and replace the component, no magic tricks were required.  

  • Erica Cline June 26, 2018 (4:51 pm)

    Thanks so much to everyone who worked to get it fixed. I am so happy to be able to bike again! Also thank you to the shuttle service since I otherwise would have been stranded on my bike.

  • MJ June 26, 2018 (5:33 pm)

    Nice, SDoT actually performed well in this case.  

  • Essej June 26, 2018 (5:50 pm)

    Couldn’t be happier! Riding south through Georgetown up to Pioneer Square was hairy to say the least.

  • Snoop June 26, 2018 (6:12 pm)

    Yay! Thank you DOT! I missed my bike ride!

  • Darryll June 26, 2018 (7:20 pm)

    Big thanks to SDOT for getting the bridge up (er, down?) and working again so quickly!

  • David June 26, 2018 (7:30 pm)

    Thank you to the bridge crew for Maki g travel across the low bridge safe from r all.

  • Lois Schipper June 26, 2018 (7:56 pm)

    Thanks to everyone who got ‘er done.  Packing my bags to bike tomorrow.  Yippee

  • George T. June 26, 2018 (9:23 pm)

    Thanks for the rapid fix, SDOT! Looking forward to cycling during the commute — one less body on a packed bus, one less car on the bridge. 

  • Moeman June 26, 2018 (10:18 pm)

    WSB – out of curiosity, could you ask SDOT if they have another spare piston assembly and if not, will they be having another spare fabricated or will the original assembly be repaired and used as the new backup?  Just wondering what would happen if either of the assemblies happened to fail again.

  • Delridger June 26, 2018 (10:54 pm)

    The water taxi ride was scenic, but SO SLOW when you factor in all of the boarding and unboarding time, plus the out of direction travel just to get to the dock. I was thrilled to see the posting here in time for my evening bike commute home today. Back to my normal sub-30 minute commute to/from SLU!Thanks to WSB for covering this issue so closely, and to SDOT for getting this fixed as soon as possible

  • Aimee Wildstone June 26, 2018 (11:17 pm)

    Super thankful to the people who have repaired the bridge so quickly! Thankful to have a safe route to downtown again :)

  • Andrew Krom June 28, 2018 (8:08 am)

    Good to know. The public never gets to hear further information on the repair of a major project (only very limited photos).

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