TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: West Seattle low bridge reopens after getting ‘stuck’

(Added: 5:47 pm framegrab from SDOT low-bridge cam)

5:42 PM: Thanks for all the tips. The low bridge is reported to be stuck in open mode. Avoid it TFN. Buses are “backing up,” as one reader puts it; Metro says “Your operator will work with the operations center on the best way to get you and fellow riders moving again safely.”

5:52 PM: The photo is from David Christensen, who says pedestrians are crossing, but not vehicles. He says an electrician is reported to be on the way.

6:08 PM: SDOT’s live camera now shows police blocking the entrance to the low bridge.

6:12 PM: SDOT describes the problem as “a technical issue with the bridge’s arms” and says that, “By 7 pm, we’ll have a better idea of when the bridge is expecting to re-open.”

6:19 PM: SDOT reports the gates are up and the low bridge has reopened.

30 Replies to "TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: West Seattle low bridge reopens after getting 'stuck'"

  • Ktrapp January 30, 2019 (5:48 pm)

    I’ve been on a 21x stopped for about 30 minutes.  Driver reports that he was told to stay put, but other vehicles are turning around and heading to the upper bridge.  No clue why we’re just hanging out.

  • NW January 30, 2019 (5:49 pm)

    Waited behind dozens of cars for ten minutes bridge was closed with a red light then knew something wasn’t right and made for an alternate route home once on the high bridge confirmed it in the right lane just as the West Seattle Bridge rises. 

  • NW January 30, 2019 (5:50 pm)

  • Jay January 30, 2019 (5:51 pm)

    The bus drivers opened the doors by the fishing bridge and 100+ people formed a caravan as we all walked to Delridge. The bridge alarm started to sound as we were walking past. Crazy!

  • Ktrapp January 30, 2019 (6:06 pm)

    Something to possibly check on, our driver was told to sit tight by Metro for over 30 minutes.  He finally turned us around and I think worked with another driver to do a detour, with the assistance of some riders.  I don’t think Metro has provided any assistance in getting the buses detoured.  If it was up to them, we’d still be camped at the bridge.

    • CAM January 30, 2019 (7:33 pm)

      That’s weird. I was on a bus at that time and the driver’s radio was going off constantly with instructions on what to do. I didn’t listen closely and just put my headphones back in but it didn’t seem like it was only aimed at one individual bus. 

      • ktrapp January 31, 2019 (10:20 am)

        Interesting.  Only a few minutes after getting stopped, our driver got on the PA to say that the bridge was stuck, but that he was instructed to hold tight.  He did then frequently jump off the bus to consult with other bus drivers, so it’s possible that he was missing the instructions.  Other buses were pulling the U-turn under the ramp to the bridge, but I got the impression that our driver only decided to do the same after cajoling by some of the passengers.  He also didn’t seem to know where he was going, requiring the assistance of those same passengers.  But I’ll admit, I don’t know if it was a lack of specific directions from Metro, or if he just missed hearing those directions. 

  • LiouxLioux January 30, 2019 (6:12 pm)

    Kinda reminded me of the 2012? afternoon ice storm that strangled the commute home and half of West Seattle had to walk home

    • WSB January 30, 2019 (6:16 pm)

      That is EXACTLY what I was reminded of too and I’m trying to find that in our archives. Thanksgiving 2011, I think.

      (added) I was a year off. November 2010:
      https://westseattleblog.com/2010/11/west-seattle-snow-scenes-from-the-monday-night-walk-home/

      • Sarah January 30, 2019 (6:19 pm)

        It was 2010. I know because of where I was living; my husband and I bought a house summer 2011, but from January 2010-July 2011 we were in a condo on Avalon. And yes, I walked home from SoDo to that condo. Brrrrrr!

        • WSB January 30, 2019 (6:23 pm)

          … And as we just added in an update above, the bridge has just reopened.

  • JRR January 30, 2019 (6:25 pm)

    It’s stuck again.

  • Ward January 30, 2019 (6:34 pm)

    If the bridge is reopened, why has the bus I’m on been parked at the end for almost 10 minutes? I see cars heading eastbound across the bridge.

  • Amanda January 30, 2019 (6:35 pm)

    I’m on the 21x and we are stills just sitting here. 

  • JRR January 30, 2019 (6:36 pm)

    It seems to still be stuck. On a 120 that’s been sitting here for twenty minutes.

  • Frustrated January 30, 2019 (6:37 pm)

    Why are we still sitting in a line of traffic not moving if the bridge is open?

  • Alki Mom January 30, 2019 (6:38 pm)

    And it’s got the arms with blinking red lights down again….

  • Stuckonthe120 January 30, 2019 (6:44 pm)

    Bus driver just announced the bridge is stuck again.

  • JasonG January 30, 2019 (6:47 pm)

    I’m on the C line headed to WS and our driver just got on the speaker at 6:40pm and said “the bridge is broken again so I’m doing a u-turn and going above” then a few minutes later said “actually they just told me that they fixed it again.”  

  • Shawn January 30, 2019 (7:04 pm)

    It was one of life’s little unexpected adventures. It gave me a chance to realize how massive the high bridge is and see things I’d normally only see in a blur. Would you rather have to walk home today, or when it’s 95° in full sun? 

  • Janine January 30, 2019 (7:21 pm)

    125 Driver told by operator to take a left onto S Hanford…now a train for the last 30 minutes. Tired & Thirsty and I gotta pee. 

  • HW January 30, 2019 (8:22 pm)

    why are they opening the bridge during rush hour any way, especially during viadoom?

    • WSB January 30, 2019 (8:25 pm)

      The Coast Guard agreed – something the city has tried for 10 years to get them to do in traffic-challenged times – to limit openings
      7-10 am
      2-5 pm
      unless the vessel or barge is 5000+ tons.
      The bridge got stuck after 5 so the restrictions didn’t apply in any way.

  • Kedje January 30, 2019 (9:11 pm)

    I was on the 5ish-pm 21X.   Thanks to all Metro drivers who did a great job to get us home.  No worries.  Chilled out, watched an incredible sunset and got to know a few more of our neighbors and had some good, fun chats.  

  • Mary January 30, 2019 (9:31 pm)

    So . . . Is it open now or still stuck?  I’m assuming bicyclists will be able to cross regardless, since we could get across along with all the bus-riders-turned-pedestrians earlier? And not to start a harangue about cyclists, but I understand that many of my fellow cyclists were moving far too fast and not signaling as they were sharing the path with the pedestrians. Please show more courtesy, riders!

  • Meanmistermustard January 31, 2019 (3:09 am)

    I got off the bus (with a rolling cart with groceries including cans of TaB and other dense cargo, having decided to go shopping for the first time since the first week of January) because the driver said we would be able to walk across.  I guess I took too long dragging my stuff up to the bridge because it was closed to pedestrians by the time I got up there, probably either slightly before 6pm, having boarded my bus at 5:01.   I think it reopened around 6:35.   I already woke up to a flooded kitchen that morning and had stayed late to finish a group project only to have one of my team members cancel ten minutes past the start time, so this was a real treat.   I am grateful to the bus drivers for letting us off instead of keeping us locked up until the buses moved again, but the bridge needs to remain open during rush hour, doubly so when transit is already strained thanks to the closures.  

    • blbl January 31, 2019 (9:45 am)

      That sounds like a very rough day, Mustard.  I hope you were able to brush it off, have a good night’s sleep, and I hope you have a great day today. 

  • Joshua's Mom January 31, 2019 (1:46 pm)

    Re:  Coast Guard & Low Bridge OpeningsEvening “traffic challenge” isn’t 2 to 5pm.It is 5 to 8pm since Viaduct closure, just saying. . .

    • WSB January 31, 2019 (2:04 pm)

      Yes, but 2-5 pm is the period the restrictions are in effect for. I don’t know whether that was the result of a compromise or a take it or leave it or … The fact they had secured restrictions at all was mentioned almost as an aside at a downtown briefing we weren’t able to attend fairly late in the pre-closure period, but it’s a fairly big deal.

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