VIDEO: High-rise West Seattle Bridge closing TFN because of ‘deterioration’

(Crew already on low bridge – photo via @lungodog on Twitter)

UPDATED 4:59 PM: The city has announced an emergency closure of the high-rise West Seattle Bridge “until further notice,” starting at 7 pm tonight. Here’s our video of the Skype briefing during which this was announced:

Here’s the SDOT news release. Below, our as-it-happened coverage of the announcement, and further updates:

=================================

2:55 PM: Just announced via a sudden online media briefing: The West Seattle Bridge has been developing cracks over time, says the mayor, with “further deterioration” detected recently – so “there are concerns that the high-rise bridge cannot safely support vehicular traffic at this time” so they need to assess it further. So tonight “the West Seattle high-rise bridge will be closed to all traffic … until we can do further assessment” to determine how the bridge can be safely operated. The low bridge will remain open to transit and first responders, and freight. “I’m grateful they found this” before something bad happened.

SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe says the bridge will close at about 7 pm “until further notice.” The cracking is in the concrete, he says. They’ve been noticing cracking for several years but it’s now to the point where they feel they have to remove “live-load traffic.” He reiterates that traffic outside of the categories mentioned will not be able to use the low bridge – they’ll have to use other paths out such as the 1st Ave. S. Bridge.

Council President Lorena González says a public briefing on this will be scheduled.

We’ve asked several questions via the web chat feature and they’re now answering. Why so sudden? Zimbabwe says some new federal load-rating requirements last year led to a “more detailed assessment” while deterioration continued. “There really wasn’t another choice at this point.”He says it’ll be weeks before they know the type of repairs they need – but then the repairs could last months.

Regarding details on the damage, SDOT engineer Matt Donohue is answering off-camera. He says a “post tensioning steel strand” in the bridge supports is where the problem is. What kind of repairs are needed? Zimbabwe says some shoring for starters, followed by likely “some kind of fiber wrap” among other things. “They take some time to design and construct.”

The timing with the drop in traffic is just coincidental, says Zimbabwe. We asked about other transportation options – this is so sudden they don’t have that worked out yet.

They will be out with maps soon to show the closure. From WS east, detour signage will start in The Junction, Admiral, Delridge, 35th, etc., appearing starting tonight. I-5 traffic will not be allowed onto the Spokane St. Viaduct (the east half of the high bridge) except for transit, freight, and emergency vehicles, to “avoid confusion.”

Zimbabwe says it was no one thing that led to this decision – but for example some of the vehicles and volumes on it are more than it was designed for. Couldn’t load restrictions enable reopening? Not in this case, he said. Plus, he notes, the bridge design means “80 percent of the load is the bridge itself.”

3:26 PM: The briefing is over. We recorded it on video (shakily off a Skype feed but it’ll have to do unless the city has a copy available) and will add that after we upload it.

ADDED 7:42 PM: SDOT crews are out blocking off access points. Also City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has sent a statement:

“I have questions why the lower level bridge cannot be used for vehicular traffic at this time, and how soon it can be opened for traffic given lower traffic volumes in Seattle due to COVID-19 guidance, and specifically reduced traffic volumes to West Seattle via the West Seattle Bridge in light of the new COVID-19 Shelter in Place Orders. My office has requested that SDOT appeal to the Coast Guard to make fewer bridge openings of the lower level bridge to allow for more buses and cars to cross, like they did in early 2019 when the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed and the SR99 tunnel was not yet open.
“My office will continue to monitor the closure and work with SDOT and other partners to provide West Seattle residents and the public updates.

464 Replies to "VIDEO: High-rise West Seattle Bridge closing TFN because of 'deterioration'"

  • alison guinn March 23, 2020 (3:06 pm)

    Well, f*ck…

    • Ingoneer March 23, 2020 (8:14 pm)

      Pretty sure that limiting traffic to one lane in both directions at 20 mph while coming up with a fix would reduce the load on the bridge sufficiently to keep it open for repairs to start. Even running traffic on one side of the bridge while the other side gets fixed could also work…. this reminds me of overloaded decision makers not thinking through an orderly process and making a panic style decision.  Come on and make some rational solutions to a cracked roadway. And show some ingenuity!

      • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (8:41 pm)

        Love the “pretty sure” statement. You have no idea. And if the bridge collapsed and killed a hundred people? Sometimes difficult decisions need to be made it’s not about hurting your feelings about doing the right thing.

        • RayWest March 24, 2020 (5:58 am)

          Alternating bridge sides for traffic while repairs are done on the opposite side occurred to me at first, but I’m thinking that it must be in far worse condition than what we are being told. Also, funneling cars to one side going in both directions would bottleneck traffic. That many cars barely moving would be a huge amount of weight bearing down on the bridge.

      • Jethro Marx March 23, 2020 (11:02 pm)

        I can’t tell if you’re joking, but if you’re not, I’d be surprised to find you hold a PE license. It isn’t a crack in the roadway for one, it’s an issue with a support, probably where the post-tensioned cable bears on the concrete. Some smart and experienced folks will sort out a root cause, and it could be a lot of different stuff, but I doubt our opinionated yet wacky comment crew has hit on it yet. Your suggestions for workarounds to keep traffic limping along are more suited to backyard engineering than major public infrastructure and the accompanying liability.

        • Tull Johnson March 24, 2020 (8:18 am)

          “Backyard engineering” is the best thing I’ve heard yet today.

      • Dan March 24, 2020 (11:17 am)

        Pretty sure limiting traffic to 20mph all in one lane would increase overall weight and an imbalanced weight at that. And it would be so slow that it wouldn’t be worth the risk of it collapsing and killing people. And pretty sure if it did collapse it would be closed for far longer than a couple months..

    • #41 March 23, 2020 (9:08 pm)

      Epic fail! And we can’t use the lower bridge? Obviously we need new management in Seattle. People who understand what it was like in 80’,81,’82’,83’,84’.  This impact on the citizens of West Seattle is completely unacceptable! We did have a vote to secede from Seattle back then.  Write the soon to be former mayor and city council members that can’t figure out a more acceptable fix to this apparent added overnight catastrophe. I’m sure the old fed guidelines can be used in this instance to alleviate the overburden this places on us, the affected residents. Write them! Do not lay down in acceptance to this. Speak up, and make them do something better, or be good little sheep and let the nanny state rule over you.

      • WSB March 23, 2020 (9:18 pm)

        I added to the story tonight that CM Herbold is pushing on the low-bridge issue (see above).

      • RayWest March 24, 2020 (9:07 am)

        Opening the lower bridge to all traffic would be carmageddon all over again. Does anyone want police and emergency vehicles stuck in gridlock traffic, putting peoples’ lives at risk. Does anyone want our grocery stores to run even lower on needed food and other essential supplies. That is what would happen if everyone used the lower bridge.

      • Frank Franklin March 25, 2020 (9:10 am)

        Calm down dude. Lisa Herbold was caught by complete surprise about this; the mayor didnt announce it to her until a few hours before the news conference. You know as much about this as I do so quit blaming everyone else and acting like a keyboard warrior.

    • Wallace Grommet March 24, 2020 (11:13 am)

      The heaviest vehicles to regularly cross the bridge are trucks carrying rebar from Nucor.  There is little else that compares in terms of weight and frequency.  I have visually noted long horizontal cracks mid span on the south elevation for over a decade.  

      • Bob Monement March 24, 2020 (2:25 pm)

        Obviously, what we need is another tunnel.  Lol

  • Susan March 23, 2020 (3:08 pm)

    Well, that should keep people out of West Seattle!  It just keeps piling on.

  • Pilsner March 23, 2020 (3:09 pm)

    Um, ok?

    • Tom March 25, 2020 (11:20 am)

      If this has been known for years and we did not try to fix it before we got to this point it is another example of government incompetence. I have not seen any solutions other than oh we’ll figure it out on your own. Shouldn’t there be at least traffic diversions with police facilitating traffic movement so as to move traffic as quickly as possible? Also last time I checked there are two lanes on the lower bridge do t you just move over when police or aid units need to get over? 

  • RF Interference March 23, 2020 (3:13 pm)

    36 year old bridge

    • The King March 23, 2020 (7:20 pm)

      In just my lifetime it has changed from the West Seattle Freeway to the West Seattle bridge to the West Seattle parking lot to yard art. 

      • Kpic March 24, 2020 (12:10 pm)

        Amen to that!

    • Robby March 24, 2020 (9:04 am)

      Bridges, and other engineered structures, have a design-life. – I have not yet heard a Seattle news outlet, or blog poster here, comment on that. – I’ve also wondered why bridge designers – engineers don’t design and build all bridges in America with a design-life of 100 years and requiring no maintenance…because 35 years goes by pretty quick, and, we can’t be trusted to fund reasonable and regular maintenance as was intended.

      • JF March 24, 2020 (4:03 pm)

        This is a 70-year lifespan bridge.  It’s only at 50%.

        • Robby March 27, 2020 (1:57 pm)

          Can anyone verify that, during the (36?) years we’ve been using it, SDOT / WDOT have performed all the (Design) required maintenance on the West Seattle Bridge?

  • TM March 23, 2020 (3:16 pm)

    Wow!

  • Mok4315 March 23, 2020 (3:16 pm)

    So are busses being re-routed starting tonight? I guess now is as good a time as any to shut it down, but this is going to be a nightmare when everyone returns to work. 

  • Mark March 23, 2020 (3:19 pm)

    Obviously a lack of preventative maintenance.  SDOT.  Say no more.

    • kathleen March 24, 2020 (12:51 pm)

      But the Seattle tunnel is still open, so there’s that. . . 

  • Nick March 23, 2020 (3:20 pm)

    April Fools has been pretty brutal this year. 

    • HS March 23, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      Haha! So true!

    • Andrew March 23, 2020 (4:49 pm)

      April is going to be a long year.

    • lookingforlogic March 23, 2020 (5:17 pm)

        And lengthy

  • Cheryl March 23, 2020 (3:20 pm)

    Good thing we’re all stuck at home now since we wouldn’t be able to leave WS.  

    • Karen March 23, 2020 (7:10 pm)

      Starting to feel like end of days….be kind and eat ice cream on your good dishes.

  • sw March 23, 2020 (3:20 pm)

    Um, WHAT?

    • Kristen March 23, 2020 (4:23 pm)

      This is my favorite comment! I’m pretty sure these were the exact first words out of every Wet Seattleite. 

      • LG March 23, 2020 (4:31 pm)

        Mine may have been a little more abrasive, but the same point.

      • B March 23, 2020 (4:33 pm)

        Or, at least, the G-rated version.  These were definitely NOT my first words.

      • Syl March 23, 2020 (4:50 pm)

        Oh no. My first words were not publishable. 

        • songstorm March 23, 2020 (5:25 pm)

          Likewise!!

          • Sam-c March 23, 2020 (7:50 pm)

            Ha ha yes, me too. Almost the exact same comment i had when a structural engineer that i work with casually dropped the news in an off hand comment in an email. I then checked the facts here on WSB.  Responded to said structural enginneer with some other comments, along with, ‘it really is the apocolypse, isn’t it?’ He told me to watch out for zombies…..

          • Eric1 March 23, 2020 (9:57 pm)

            Ha ha thanks for the laugh! It has been a bad couple of weeks.   Zombies would not surprise me at this point.  I better dig the crossbow out from under my TP stash in my closet.

  • Lisa March 23, 2020 (3:21 pm)

    Interesting timing with the national guard coming and all. Wonder what else will be shut down…

  • Steve March 23, 2020 (3:21 pm)

    What do you call a nightmare on top of a nightmare?

    • John March 23, 2020 (4:35 pm)

      Inception.

      • Nora March 24, 2020 (7:32 am)

        If we were on Reddit, I would upvote this

    • Brad March 23, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      Illegal re-election of DT.

      • West Seattle Guy March 23, 2020 (5:06 pm)

        (Cold sweat shivers)

      • Lisa March 23, 2020 (5:06 pm)

        Jay Inslee’s re-election 

        • 98126res March 23, 2020 (9:15 pm)

          = local politicians

    • Sally March 23, 2020 (4:42 pm)

      The new reality :/

    • FivePointer March 23, 2020 (4:53 pm)

      Inception 

  • GT March 23, 2020 (3:21 pm)

    They’ve been noticing cracking for several years but it’s now to the point where they feel they have to remove “live-load traffic.” Why the heck were they fixing the intersection at 35th Ave?! I think Mr. Zimbabwe needs to figure out where his priorities should be.

  • HereWeGo March 23, 2020 (3:21 pm)

    Um, am I allowed to say “holy shit” here?

  • Mj March 23, 2020 (3:21 pm)

    Timing is good, hopefully they can get it corrected promptly.

  • beanie March 23, 2020 (3:22 pm)

    Wow. I guess it’s better that traffic will be low for a while, but wow.

  • quiz March 23, 2020 (3:22 pm)

    I wish today was April 1st and this was a joke.

  • Ws resident March 23, 2020 (3:23 pm)

    Is this a joke?

  • John March 23, 2020 (3:24 pm)

    Well, given that the closure needs to happen, now’s a good time for it.

  • Curate March 23, 2020 (3:24 pm)

    Ok now there’s no longer a shred of doubt we are all living in a sim

  • David March 23, 2020 (3:24 pm)

    Wowzers. Hits just keep on coming to West Seattle. I guess if it was going to happen, happen during a pandemic, amirite?

  • Shelley March 23, 2020 (3:25 pm)

    Is this an early April Fools joke!?! Maybe not….

  • Brandon March 23, 2020 (3:26 pm)

    Maybe those Nuevo loads are the issue with the heavy rebar. 

  • chemist March 23, 2020 (3:28 pm)

    Are bikes and folks walking still supposed to use the low bridge?

    • SmashFaceKid March 23, 2020 (5:27 pm)

      Good question! 

    • Also John March 23, 2020 (6:24 pm)

      The low bridge has a protected sidewalk…  Very safe for bikes and walkers.

    • Gidget March 23, 2020 (6:30 pm)

      Did you read and listen to the announcement? Unless you are a first responder, transit or freight you are NOT to use the low bridge. This is why the Governor had to issue a stay at home mandate. 

      • Christopher Nicolai March 23, 2020 (6:44 pm)

        Pretty sure the walking/biking lane over the low bridge will still be accessible.I foresee a significant increase in bike traffic. Especially electric bikes make so much sense now for West Seattle. (Once the virus dust all settles anyway.) 

      • neighbor March 23, 2020 (7:09 pm)

        Gidget, the governor’s stay at home order for the entire state had nothing whatsoever to do with the condition of the West Seattle Bridge!

  • Whenitrainsitpours March 23, 2020 (3:31 pm)

    For weeks we will not be able to use the high bridge while they determine the extent of existing damage.  Thereafter we will still not be able to use the high bridge for months during the repair process.  Is there any explanation as to why the State and the various transportation officials let the bridge deteriorate to the point where they “are grateful” they caught this before something happened?! Seems like a lack of oversight and regular repairs will end up costing all of us West Seattle residents a lot of extra inconvenience.  

    • GT March 23, 2020 (3:46 pm)

      not to mention property value – I hope no one in West Seattle had any plans to sell their house in the next year…

      • Jim March 23, 2020 (7:15 pm)

        Low to no inventory, record low interest rates, and people not moving during this health crisis, has most West Seattle house prices still in the sellers market. Possibly still up this summer…. We still live in a highly desirable area!hang in there, don’t let fear get the best of you!

    • datamuse March 23, 2020 (3:56 pm)

      Neglect of bridges is a widespread problem, and it’s not new either. Remember the Skagit River Bridge collapse in 2013? Nobody likes paying for maintenance, apparently. Guess it’s not sexy enough.

      • Luke T March 23, 2020 (4:11 pm)

        Remember that an over-sized truck caused that bridge to collapse? NOT NEGLECT. Stop spreading misinformation

        • Bridge Troll March 23, 2020 (4:57 pm)

          Relax. The Skagit River Bridge may not have been a great example, but our infrastructure is badly in need of upgrades not only locally,  but on a national scale. 

        • Will March 23, 2020 (5:00 pm)

          Although, the bridge in Minneapolis failed under increased load. So it happens, but you are correct, an over-sized load hit the Skagit bridge.

        • John H March 23, 2020 (5:02 pm)

          Luke T. 

          No, neglect caused the bridge to fail.   The bridge design was old and out-dated making it one simple failure away from collapsing and was designated as functionally obsolete (as opposed to  being a robust, modern design is structurally redundant):
          “Not long before the accident, the bridge had been evaluated as safe.
          Although not structurally deficient, it was considered “functionally
          obsolete”, meaning it did not meet current design standards. The
          bridge’s design was “fracture-critical,” meaning that it did not have
          redundant structural members to protect its structural integrity in the
          event of a failure of one of the bridge’s support members.”

          So, yes, a neglect to replace the aging (1955) bridge in a timely manner contributed to the accident.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-5_Skagit_River_Bridge_collapse

        • Jim March 23, 2020 (5:18 pm)

          The Skagit River bridge was already de-rated and considered a fracture critical bridge, as many in the state are. Meaning it’s structure, if undisturbed, can continue to handle the traffic, but barely. It was one small gusset plate in the upper right hand corner of the southbound portal of the structure that was struck.  

      • Rumbles March 23, 2020 (4:47 pm)

        @datamuse Come on!  How hard would it have been to Google that before making a completely inaccurate comment?!  Good grief, DON’T be part of the problem!https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-5_Skagit_River_Bridge_collapse

        Yes, the bridge was old, and needed work, but the damage by the truck was what caused it.

        • datamuse March 23, 2020 (7:21 pm)

          Considering how frequent high load strikes are on bridges in Washington State, frankly I consider the bridge’s design and its functionally obsolete designation to be factors in that incident..Obviously you disagree, but please don’t assume I haven’t even read the Wikipedia entry on the accident, for heaven’s sake..(That said, I agree it’s not the most relevant comparison to what’s going on with the WSB, which doesn’t have the overhead strike issue.)

    • Kassander March 23, 2020 (4:57 pm)

      With respect, I think it’s probably our lack of infrastructure funding. We don’t have a state income tax to rely on, and our sales tax is divided among so many priorities, it’s hard to really give anything the attention it needs. This stuff takes money, and Washington really doesn’t want to shell out.

      • Curt March 23, 2020 (5:34 pm)

        I pay $360 for tabs a year on a 5 year old sub $30,000 car and $180 on a $3000 motorcycle. Plus the fact our gas is taxed one of the highest in the country. People might vote for more taxes if we actually saw it doing something instead of just adding another however many hundreds (or thousands) to our already inflated property taxes 

        • Morgan March 23, 2020 (6:44 pm)

          and no income tax.

          • Jim March 23, 2020 (7:35 pm)

            Don’t  forget high property taxes (i.e. levies), over 10% sales tax, tolls, fees, and how many RTA’s, there isn’t a tax Seattle doesn’t love, and they are working on wealth, capital gains and income taxes. Don’t forget the feds 12-39% and the charges associated with our health care system, that may make you feel like you have insurance until you get the bills. Can’t wait to transform this country! Feel the bern

          • Sam-c March 23, 2020 (7:57 pm)

            Yes, this. No income tax. One of the problems here.

  • Meg March 23, 2020 (3:33 pm)

    Am I understanding this correctly? Anyone who is coming to or from West Seattle who isn’t a first responder, transit, or freight can’t use either the upper or lower bridges for what could be months?

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (7:05 pm)

      Yes.

      • Alan March 23, 2020 (8:14 pm)

        Probably years

  • Amy March 23, 2020 (3:34 pm)

    Will the bike lane on the low bridge be open? Thanks!

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (6:57 pm)

      Still waiting for that answer, sorry it’s taking so long

  • Local March 23, 2020 (3:35 pm)

    Could you please post some sources for this? Where can people go to find out more? 

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (3:40 pm)

      The source is an online media briefing we covered with the mayor, SDOT, etc. Sorry, thought that was pretty clear.

    • Dave March 23, 2020 (4:10 pm)

      From Dow Constantinehttps://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/constantine/news/release/2020/March/23-bridge-closure.aspx

  • newbie March 23, 2020 (3:35 pm)

    So we can’t use the high bridge or the low bridge? If people were still commuting regularly, this would be a total shit show. Jesus. 

    • Etip March 23, 2020 (3:42 pm)

      Some of us healthcare workers are still commuting every day…

      • Dawson March 23, 2020 (4:39 pm)

        Now you can sit in traffic in your Ferrari like the rest of us Etip. 

        • momosmom March 23, 2020 (5:14 pm)

          You think HealthCare workers make enough to own a Ferrari?! 

          • Sam-c March 23, 2020 (8:03 pm)

            Sorry,  but how are casual, or even seasoned readers supposed to know that dawson and etips know eachother? I too, thought dawsons’s comment was callous and uncalled for.

        • NH March 23, 2020 (5:18 pm)

          Nurses, nursing assistants, housekeepers are not sitting in Ferraris. What is wrong with you?

          • Dawson March 23, 2020 (5:47 pm)

            NH, Etip and I are friends. Maybe lighten up especially when you don’t know the individuals. 

          • Whybejerky March 23, 2020 (6:08 pm)

            @dawson- maybe you don’t need to tell NH to lighten up, after you purposely misrepresent yourself making a snarky jag. Why would you remand someone for unknowingly giving the reaction you are trying to elicit? 

          • Virginia March 23, 2020 (10:57 pm)

            Respect goes a long way.

          • Beth March 23, 2020 (6:04 pm)

            It was sarcasm. 

    • GT March 23, 2020 (3:45 pm)

      imagine 100K people travelling down a two-lane residential street to get to a four-lane draw bridge…

      • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (5:10 pm)

        We may not have to imagine!

      • FivePointer March 23, 2020 (5:55 pm)

        Soon enough, we’ll know.

      • Bill March 23, 2020 (9:19 pm)

        That brought me in to comment: What 4 lane draw bridge?  Ha Ha — biggest joke of all is that the original Spokane Street bascule bridges  – 2 at 2 lanes apiece were replaced with one TWO lane bridge!The olde bridges could go from fully open  and close down to traffic ready in less time than the new “wonder design” bridge could close the last 10 feet!

    • Jonathan March 23, 2020 (3:54 pm)

      Yeah, but I’ve heard from sources it could be closed anywhere from 12 – 18 months, which seems a little drastic. But as alluded to in the story: “He says it’ll be weeks before they know the type of repairs they need – but then the repairs could last months.” and “They take some time to design and construct.”

    • Elton March 23, 2020 (3:56 pm)

      A tiny silver lining for the COVID pandemic? Still, I so wish our biggest problem right now was an impending traffic issue getting in/out of West Seattle. 

    • Skeptic March 23, 2020 (4:03 pm)

      This is STILL going to be a total shit show. 

    • JustWow March 23, 2020 (4:20 pm)

      This is insane. What does this mean for folks near Lincoln park? Mr Zimbabwe really sucks at his job. How could his dept have let things get to such a critics like state?? Has Durkan, Lisa Herbold or others from West Seattle commented yet? 🤯

      • neighbor March 23, 2020 (6:11 pm)

        “This is insane. What does this mean for folks near Lincoln park?”Ummmm, exactly the same thing it means for folks *not* near Lincoln park? 

  • Blake Bortles March 23, 2020 (3:37 pm)

    Despite denials, the timing seems very suspect to me. Either taking advantage of reduced traffic or using this as some measure to blockade Alki from virus deniers.

  • MichaelP March 23, 2020 (3:39 pm)

    Welp, methinks they realized this is a good time to close it what with all the reduced traffic due to quarantines.

    • Alan March 23, 2020 (8:19 pm)

      If it takes years to solve the virus problem then that makes sense.

  • MichaelP March 23, 2020 (3:40 pm)

    Welp, methinks someone realized this is a good time to close it what with all the reduced traffic due to quarantines.

  • BKRDT March 23, 2020 (3:40 pm)

    Also wondering about bikes being able to use low bridge 

  • TJ March 23, 2020 (3:42 pm)

    April’s Fools day isn’t until next week. 

  • Ricky Sadler March 23, 2020 (3:42 pm)

    If Lisa Herbold were paying attention to issues in her district like documented cracking for several years and changes to federal load rating changes that affect the major arterial into and out of her district-  rather than worrying about taxing everything in sight, seems like this wouldn’t have gone unnoticed.  

    • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (5:15 pm)

      Not only taxing but worrying about everyone and everything (homeless rights over homeowner rights, police oversight, figuring out how to not enforce laws, etc, etc) else except what impacts the majority of people in her district.  Oh well, I didn’t vote for her so now I get to complain!

    • Bill March 23, 2020 (9:30 pm)

      This comment was made to Ricky Sadler’s comment – not Alki Guy’s

      What makes you think that Lisa is – or expected to be – a Structural Engineer?– esp a Bridge Structural Engineer vs a Building Structural Design Engineer — actually quite different specialties!  And last I heard she isn’t in charge of Seattle DOT or King County DOT – or WSDOT! What she knows and can act on is what she is told by the people who are tasked with knowing and UNDERSTANDING the issues involved!

      • Frank March 24, 2020 (12:19 am)

        Herbold is paid to listen to experts and be proactive.  The idea, at least in principle, of an effective Councilperson, is that they address the concerns of all of all of their constituents.  I don’t think anybody is expecting her to be a Structural Engineer.   She was silent in the immediate aftermath of this as well as the downtown shooting that had everyone infuriated.       It’s taken SDOT to build / re-pave three blocks of 35th almost 1 year now?   Let’s get Chinese construction workers to do the bridge in 3 weeks and double the quality of workpersonship.  

      • Bob Monement March 24, 2020 (2:45 pm)

        Oh yeah.  Mass transit is dead now that passengers must ride with 6 feet between them.

  • Apotheosis March 23, 2020 (3:42 pm)

    When it rains…

  • kyle March 23, 2020 (3:44 pm)

    The timing seems suspect to say the least… And no regular vehicle traffic on the lower bridge? Fun times. If staying indoors during this corona crisis didn’t make our houses feel like an islands before…now it really does. 

    • Kelly March 23, 2020 (4:20 pm)

      I love living in West Seattle!  I rarely go north past exit 163!! However I use that bridge to get to or from work every day!! I fortunately will use marginal way routes! I would much rather survive the closing than be on that bridge if is collapsed!  This virus is a good time to care for the bridge!  Hopefully they will efficiently fix the bridge!  

      • Trickycoolj March 23, 2020 (5:32 pm)

        Which will be a joy and pleasure for those of us that work along Marginal Way and the Duwamish and don’t have reliable East west transit access to non-downtown employment centers. 

      • Patrick March 23, 2020 (6:11 pm)

        !!

      • KK March 23, 2020 (8:03 pm)

        Seattle has never ‘efficiently’ fixed anything. 

  • TM March 23, 2020 (3:44 pm)

    I guess that’s one way to ensure less crowds at Alki!

    • neighbor March 23, 2020 (4:00 pm)

      ^^^ This!

    • Taylor March 23, 2020 (4:13 pm)

       The silver lining I didn’t know we needed.  Until they issue a shelter in place.

    • jdrg March 23, 2020 (4:38 pm)

      Seriously, one positive way to look at this mess… ^^^ TM

    • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (5:16 pm)

      Was just joking with some friends about how I wish the bridge was closed on sunny days so Alki wouldn’t get so damn crowded.  Careful what you wish for!

    • Ernie March 23, 2020 (7:15 pm)

      It will be nice to bike, run, or walk along Alki with no crowds, but any restaurants and bars that survive the corvid-19 shutdown will probably not make it too far into summer without the crowds, so Alki as we know it is probably done…

  • WTF Seattle March 23, 2020 (3:44 pm)

    Unbelievable they’re just now seeing the urgency of this. I just can’t. 

  • Cool Rick March 23, 2020 (3:44 pm)

    This is a shocking level of incompetence on display. Our local government is unbelievably inept at times. This should be unacceptable.

    • Alan March 23, 2020 (8:21 pm)

      They’ve only been “watching” these cracks for several years>>>

  • kyle March 23, 2020 (3:45 pm)

    The timing seems suspect to say the least… And no regular vehicle traffic on the lower bridge? Fun times. If staying indoors during this corona crisis didn’t make our houses feel like an islands before…now it really does. 

  • JTM March 23, 2020 (3:45 pm)

    This is…insane. Granted, few people are commuting for the the foreseeable future, but this is major.

  • Joel Schoenberg March 23, 2020 (3:45 pm)

    What, the bridge is “ta-ta for now”? What does that mean?

  • Jeremy March 23, 2020 (3:45 pm)

    Hey SDOT, you’ll probably want to install that new left-turn routing at 16th & Holden A-fudging-SAP.

    • Sara March 23, 2020 (7:38 pm)

      And put a light in at Holden and Highland Park Way. That intersection is already scary and is always backed up at rush hour. It will only get worse now.

  • Dawson March 23, 2020 (3:46 pm)

    Alki and other popular areas for folks off the peninsula to visit ought to be much quieter. Silver lining?

  • bolo March 23, 2020 (3:46 pm)

    They should also closely inspect the westernmost section, where they had to replace the rubber footings a few years back. That section has been growing more wavy, and popping up quite a few (larger than) potholes in the concrete.

    Will this change the “highest and best use” land use designations for development purposes? Still full speed ahead for maximizing high density development on the WS peninsula?

  • Michael March 23, 2020 (3:46 pm)

    Tear it down and build a new one with integrated light rail?

  • sam-c March 23, 2020 (3:47 pm)

    Somewhere, Jort is chuckling with an especially evil laugh.

  • dsa March 23, 2020 (3:47 pm)

      Zimbabwe said: “… it was no one thing that led to this decision – but for
    example some of the vehicles and volumes on it are more than it was
    designed for.”    I have complained about overloading all of our bridges
    before.  The city council relaxed the rules for the garbage trucks
    several years ago.  This was done supposedly to save money on the newer
    contracts, yeah right.   The garbage trucks are overweight. 

    • Bill March 23, 2020 (9:40 pm)

      Probably also the “bouncing betty” articulated buses – which even if within weight limits – are impacting the bridge causing fatigue deterioration!

  • Gregory March 23, 2020 (3:47 pm)

    Wow!

    • Chris March 23, 2020 (5:20 pm)

      Additional water taxi ?

      • WSB March 23, 2020 (6:26 pm)

        County exec Constantine and councilmember McDermott say they’re working on that kind of thing.

        • Morgan March 23, 2020 (6:51 pm)

          Weekend and frequent shuttle service to Morgan Junction hopefully this time. Will need more of West Seattle covered by water taxi than ever before.what about a Fauntleroy launch for passenger only water taxi? Weekends too? Already goes to Vashon right?

        • East Coast Cynic March 23, 2020 (7:06 pm)

          And hopefully on enhanced transportation options like getting to the water taxi, i.e., more shuttle runs w/ more stops for them and metro sized shuttles to pick up an increased number of commuters.

  • Ray March 23, 2020 (3:48 pm)

    People inconvenienced daily by port traffic, this is the West Seattle I remember.

  • Mark Schletty March 23, 2020 (3:49 pm)

    SDOT has been noticing this getting worse for years and they now need weeks just to figure out how to fix it. What the hell have they been doing for those years. They should have known long ago what the fix would be. Every senior person at SDOT should be fired tomorrow. We don’t need them to fix it, they will only foul up any fix and drag it out way beyond any reasonable timeframe. All work done to fix this should be 24/7 until done, with major penalties for not finishing in contracted time.

    • Whenitrainsitpours March 23, 2020 (5:03 pm)

      I second this.  We need to hold the everyone accountable for their incredible lack of foresight at both state and city levels.  

    • WR March 23, 2020 (10:56 pm)

      This is the most accurate thing anyone has said. Wtf. 

  • Dakota March 23, 2020 (3:50 pm)

    I hope this illustrates the need to capitalize on other options – the water taxi has been a viable option for years – and could help a lot – however transit has NEVER had any sort of convenient or useful bus access to that location.

    • Jonathan March 23, 2020 (4:44 pm)

      Maybe NOW Metro might put a bus stop on Harbor island???

    • alki_2008 March 24, 2020 (10:50 am)

      However, it’s quite pricey for many people.  $5 or $5.75 for a regular fare, EACH way, is not something many people can afford.

  • Tim M March 23, 2020 (3:50 pm)

    Sorry, but we do not believe this is a coincidence. Until the city can show proof of the need to close the bridge, we believe this is just another excuse to limit mobility, thereby restricting social interaction. The further restriction of the low bridge to only emergency vehicles and the like just reinforces our position. Complete BS. 

    • Todd March 23, 2020 (4:39 pm)

      Seriously??  You are an idiot.

    • Michael March 23, 2020 (4:55 pm)

      You should take the tinfoil hat off.  You’re gonna need it to bake your potatoes for the next two years until we can get out of here.

    • Lisa March 23, 2020 (5:10 pm)

      I agree with you completely but we do live in an area of the country that wouldn’t know that removing their right to movement and assembly was a violation of civil liberties because they’re too worried about “climate change.”

      • Common sense March 23, 2020 (5:48 pm)

        Well Lisa,Part of that liberty is the right to be free from the disease and ill health of others.  Do you need martial law to enforce the rights of all?  Take the blinders off and work will all for a few months

    • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (5:19 pm)

      I second Todd.  You sound uniformed in your comment.  This isn’t a conspiracy, this is serious and lives and property are at stake.

    • KM March 23, 2020 (5:40 pm)

      Using “we” when sharing your conspiracies makes you sound more out of sorts.

    • Um, No! March 24, 2020 (6:51 am)

      I don’t think this is a conspiracy to limit traffic and mobility but anyone who thinks this announcement which cam only a couple hours before the Governor’s announcement is a coincidence is just naive.   SDOT is clearly taking advantage of the Stay At Home order.  While is a major suck for all,  at least it’s now during a time of very limited traffic.   For now at least.  This could become the traffic shit shows of traffic shit shows for West Seattle at some point.  

  • West Seattle Mayor March 23, 2020 (3:51 pm)

    Let’s just close off West Seattle.  Prob better to do that. I’l be running for Mayor on my Pot for Potholes program.  Report a pothole get a bag of weed.   Now all Free Parking and 1000$ fine for not picking up dog poop.  No tent camping or Rv’s and  Free Merlot on Fridays at all restaurants too!    

    • Jay March 23, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      You’ve got my vote!

    • Yma March 23, 2020 (4:55 pm)

      West Seattle Mayor- go away

    • rdub March 23, 2020 (5:09 pm)

      I originally figured I would advocate for West Seattle secession and then announce my own mayoral candidacy, but you clearly have the better platform. I support you and your pot for potholes program 100%!

    • Patrick March 23, 2020 (6:14 pm)

      Where can i donate to your campaign?

    • Over it March 23, 2020 (10:25 pm)

      Or you could just do like your current elected rep for WS and fire off an email or two.  “Don’t worry WS, I sent an email to tell them we are very unhappy about this bridge stuff”.  Maybe if the repairs get in the way of the encampments, they will change their minds.

    • Alki-holic March 24, 2020 (6:45 am)

      I will DM u a list of every pothole in WS😙💨

  • MP March 23, 2020 (3:51 pm)

    The bike path on the low bridge will remain open, correct?

  • Vic March 23, 2020 (3:54 pm)

    Good luck to all! At least we’re used to traffic chaos nowadays ;)

  • Drew March 23, 2020 (3:55 pm)

    So closing the bridge indefinitely on 4 hours notice.  Got it.  Who should get fired for this?

    • Alan March 23, 2020 (8:24 pm)

      All of them!

  • Sixbuck March 23, 2020 (3:57 pm)

    What are the odds that when the bridge re-opens it will have a toll?

    • MPE March 23, 2020 (4:17 pm)

      zero…

    • Canton March 23, 2020 (5:13 pm)

      Probably a good chance, after they create a LID.

    • WS since 92 March 23, 2020 (5:27 pm)

      I don’t think they will have this fixed in a few weeks, this is going to be measured in years. Inspection, design, materials, schedule contractors, start work, go over budget, delays due to (inset problem here), final inspection, opening. This isn’t a weekend project, or couple of week fix. This will be am issue until 2022 and beyond. 

      • Alan March 23, 2020 (8:25 pm)

        Yes, and try to sell your w. Seattle house before them.

    • Chad Russell Bundy March 23, 2020 (6:03 pm)

      100%

    • k March 23, 2020 (6:04 pm)

      Yup, that was my first thought/question too.

  • Trickycoolj March 23, 2020 (3:57 pm)

    Great. Hope there aren’t any time sensitive medical emergencies… oh wait. 

  • neighbor March 23, 2020 (3:58 pm)

    Can someone, preferably a structural engineer, help me feel better about “shoring” and “fiber wrap” as a fix for what is clearly a pretty scary condition?

    • ENGINEER March 23, 2020 (4:14 pm)

      Shoring is temporary structural support. It is used to reduce loading on the structure while a permanent solution is designed and implemented. Fiber wrapping (think fancy duct tape) is a common retrofit/rehabilitation method for adding strength to concrete structures.

      • Morgan March 23, 2020 (6:49 pm)

        That wasn’t anymore reassuring than if you had written use actual duct tape.Infrastructure recovery package 2021…new bridge. Just don’t take ten years and a billion dollars, if that were possible.

      • neighbor March 23, 2020 (7:15 pm)

        So, basically, a splint and duct tape. Hmm. Thank you for explaining, but I’m not feeling any better about it than I was before!

    • Also John March 24, 2020 (11:19 am)

      You can also picture fiber wrapping to be similar to fiberglass wrapping, only far stronger.    I had to retrofit a sewer lift station several years back.  My work was to design the pumps, piping, valves, HVAC, etc.    A structural engineer had to do a seismic upgrade to the existing CMU building.  The SE elected to fiber wrap the CMU walls.  

  • Alki resident March 23, 2020 (4:00 pm)

    I just can’t believe Im reading this. What a shit show this will be and cars will be racing through side streets to get to their destination.

  • TT March 23, 2020 (4:01 pm)

    Totally unacceptable, they have know this for much longer, shame on you Seattle. You parade your propaganda, while endangering the 100k people that travel this bridge everyday. #bull****

  • JUSTME March 23, 2020 (4:02 pm)

    Sigh.  For those of us who work in hospitals and still have to go to work everyday, this is going to be a nightmare.  There are so few cars on the road at the moment (and probably less after the announcement tonight), not letting healthcare workers use the lower bridge for their commute is frustrating.  

    • Cookie March 23, 2020 (4:16 pm)

      What announcement?

      • Anna March 23, 2020 (4:39 pm)

        Inslee outlining new guidelines at 5:30 tonight.

      • EM March 23, 2020 (5:00 pm)

        I think JUSTME might be referring to Governor Inslee’s Press Conference tonight at 5:30.https://www.tvw.org/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

      • Holly March 23, 2020 (5:05 pm)

        Inslee is doing a press confy at 5:30. Not clear what the announcement will be but potentially more restrictions.

      • Joshua's Mom March 23, 2020 (5:07 pm)

        The Governor will be making an announcement at 5:30pm PDT regarding COVID19 updates 

      • AJ March 23, 2020 (5:10 pm)

        @Cookie – Governor Inslee is holding a briefing at 5:30 pm. 

      • JES March 23, 2020 (5:44 pm)

        The Governor’s announcement of the stay at home order….

    • Yup March 23, 2020 (5:00 pm)

      100% was thinking the same thing.

  • Trickycoolj March 23, 2020 (4:03 pm)

    Also what about businesses on Harbor Island in the shadow of the bridges? 

  • JES March 23, 2020 (4:06 pm)

    I can’t believe this is real. How is this real? How did they let this happen?? 

  • LK March 23, 2020 (4:06 pm)

    This is outrageous…low bridge is not even an option.  No proactive measures, they’re waiting until the 11th hour to make these now critical repairs.  It takes a lot to stir up anger in me, and I’m seething. 

  • wsbiker March 23, 2020 (4:08 pm)

    @CHEMIST: I don’t see why it wouldn’t. If the lower bridge is safe enough for buses, there shouldn’t be a persistent issue with falling debris or anything. 

    • wsrn March 23, 2020 (4:28 pm)

      I imagine it’s more for volume control & keeping traffic flowing for emergency vehicles & transit. Makes sense really.  Nothing like a traffic jam when your patient is coding in an ambulance.

    • mok4315 March 23, 2020 (4:28 pm)

      I think they’re closing the lower bridge so that freight and emergency can get through. If you don’t close it to regular traffic, the lower bridge would be bumper to bumper. Much as I hate it because my company operates out of the Harbor Island Marina, it makes sense to prioritize the supply chain and first responders. Much like this COVID thing. 

  • Cranky Westie March 23, 2020 (4:08 pm)

    Okay. Now it really is the end of the world. Thanks.

  • quinkygirl March 23, 2020 (4:09 pm)

    Holy crap!!!I have a critical job northside. Just … wow.

    • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (5:33 pm)

      Sorry you have to deal with this issue. Thank yo u for doing your essential job.

  • Sam Z March 23, 2020 (4:12 pm)

    Sam Z strikes again!

    • JayDee March 23, 2020 (4:37 pm)

      Surprise! Really? Why didn’t they already have a plan to deal with it sooner? Can you imagine Highland Park and Roxbury during a commute?

    • S Kubly March 23, 2020 (5:20 pm)

      Hey, let’s give credit where credit is due!

      • Sam-c March 23, 2020 (8:15 pm)

        Lol, ‘S Kubly!’

  • Joe Z March 23, 2020 (4:13 pm)

    If they have to construct a big retrofit, why not do something similar to I-90 and replace 2 of the center lanes with light rail tracks?? It would save the expense of building another bridge.

    • Dakota March 23, 2020 (4:47 pm)

      It also makes you wonder – if they knew this was coming since years ago – why didn’t they prioritize the light rail connections to West Seattle??       North I-5 isn’t in danger of collapsing on anybody.

      • Bill March 23, 2020 (9:51 pm)

         North I-5 isn’t in danger of collapsing on anybody.”That was the common opinion re Spokane St Bridge up until this morning!

    • Michael March 23, 2020 (4:56 pm)

      I don’t think light rail can climb that kind of incline.  Monorail had a shot but not light rail.

  • Doug March 23, 2020 (4:13 pm)

    does anyone have an extra boat i can borrow? 

    • Canton March 23, 2020 (5:48 pm)

      Got a 10 ft Livingston with a slow leak. ;)

  • ddd March 23, 2020 (4:16 pm)

    (sarcasm) Well, it’s a good thing the city keeps putting off improving the intersection of Highland Park Way and Holden. Because I’m sure no one will reroute to HPW now that they can’t use the bridges.

    • HoldonWhat March 23, 2020 (4:57 pm)

      Right? I live on Holden and can see that intersection from my kitchen (and hear all the crashes and near crashes). Don’t know what they can do on such short notice, but that intersection is a death trap.

      • KM March 23, 2020 (5:45 pm)

        I’m so sorry. I always think about what a disaster that area must be for residents during rush hours especially. I hope this doesn’t get out of hand for you and your neighbors. 

  • Bob Tanzania March 23, 2020 (4:18 pm)

    This will be to Mayor Durkan what the 2008 snowpocalypse was to Mayor Greg Nickels.

    • Sam-c March 23, 2020 (8:17 pm)

      It should be

  • AS March 23, 2020 (4:18 pm)

    What the!!?? My husband works on Harbor Island, any guidance on that!?

    • Drock March 23, 2020 (4:44 pm)

      Bicycle or walk over the bridge, I presume the bike path will stay open

    • Ice March 23, 2020 (5:17 pm)

      It might sound kind of ridiculous if you’ve never bike commuted before, but biking would probably be the fastest way. I can get to harbor island from Highpoint in about 15 minutes on a bike, which is close to the same as a car.

  • Kyle March 23, 2020 (4:19 pm)

    Wow. It’s the city’s busiest road. How do you let it get to this point? SDOT should have engineers working overtime around the clock on the fix. This shouldn’t be fixed at their normal pace of business.

  • Lola Peters March 23, 2020 (4:19 pm)

    Question: What’s the plan for medical response for the next few weeks? We *will* have C-19 cases, how will they get to an evacuation/treatment site? Also, thank you Tracy & Jim… what would we do without you?

    • Michael March 23, 2020 (4:58 pm)

      They will take the low bridge.

      • Lola Peters March 23, 2020 (6:36 pm)

        We’re lucky to have several FD ladder companies with EMTs on the peninsula, and they would have priority to get across the lower bridge. I worry more about someone whose fever spikes and they/their family realize they need to get to treatment. They can do the assessment online, but then how do they get to a hospital or treatment center? Do they go to Swedish or Highline? If they/their family drive themselves to Swedish, will they be stopped on the lower bridge thus endangering law enforcement as well as whoever else they have to deal with?

    • Ice March 23, 2020 (5:20 pm)

      I am not an expert so check with your doctor, But I think the way covid-19 comes up and hits you isn’t as urgent or time sensitive as something like a heart attack or stroke. They are also keeping the lower bridge for emergency personnel only, so I imagine it wouldn’t be that much slower.

      • NA March 23, 2020 (7:46 pm)

        That’s not what the kirkland life care center reported.  They said it turned on a dime.

  • 22blades March 23, 2020 (4:20 pm)

    Uber Boats!!!🚢⛴🛥🚤🚣🏻‍♂️

    • 12epees March 23, 2020 (5:46 pm)

      ^This! 😂

  • Robin Sinner March 23, 2020 (4:21 pm)

    Can grocery delivery drivers use the  low bridge? 

  • Dmann March 23, 2020 (4:21 pm)

    And to think we already been thru the 5/years of detour while waiting for it to open when it was built.  The taxes that have been going up  and up for the 20% of Seattle  that live on this side of the bridge, will increase more now for the repair job.  Or, when everyone moves out it will make the buy outs for the light rail cheaper.

  • A-Red March 23, 2020 (4:22 pm)

    So first responders take the low bridge? For the sake of the person they’re coming to visit, I hope those responders don’t have to wait for the swing bridge…

  • West Seattle Coug March 23, 2020 (4:23 pm)

    For us oldtimers who remember when the only option was the low bridge and one span was damaged beyond repair, and it was one lane each way… crazy, but we got through it. 

    • Jonathan March 23, 2020 (4:46 pm)

      Maybe NOW Metro might put a bus stop on Harbor island???

    • KT March 23, 2020 (4:47 pm)

      And what was the population of West Seattle then!

    • Que March 23, 2020 (4:56 pm)

      However, there were way fewer people living out here then… 

  • Doug G March 23, 2020 (4:23 pm)

    i sure hope critical infrastructure is deemed essential following inslee’s soon to come lockdown announcement at 5 30 PM

  • KB March 23, 2020 (4:23 pm)

    It’s okay.  We will be inconvenienced but we will survive.  When you have Lemons, make Lemonade.   I am not surprised at this as the bridge was built around 1990 and who would hae thought prices of a place to live would have made people seek out our hidden jewel, which was once thought to be ‘so far’.  There are other ways out of WS and we will all get through this.

    • J.Niceman March 23, 2020 (4:37 pm)

      KB,You are an idiot, and a moron.J. Niceman

    • Admiral March 23, 2020 (4:55 pm)

      Agreed. Thank you for demonstrating some perspective.

    • Catey March 24, 2020 (9:14 am)

      Nope. We have the right to expect and demand competence from our city planners and protest when we don’t get it.

  • WestSeattleRob March 23, 2020 (4:24 pm)

    Magnolia residents must be really peeved…  Their bridge is about to fall down and can’t get it fixed.

    • KM March 23, 2020 (5:48 pm)

      They have a smaller population and other, non-drawbridges to use. They’re fine.

  • Louise March 23, 2020 (4:25 pm)

    How can they do this without any warning?Is there a community information session scheduled about this?There are a million unanswered questions. Are there any plans for increasing water taxi service?  Will water taxi remain free over the duration of bridge closure?  we will need increased shuttle services to and from water taxi? And increased parking at the dock.  Can bikes still cross low bridge? How are we going to get all of our critical staff that live in West Seattle out to their places of work???This is a disaster. 

  • Jon Wright March 23, 2020 (4:25 pm)

    I tend to give SDOT the benefit of the doubt, but allowing a critical piece of transportation infrastructure to degrade to the point of “I’m grateful they found this before something bad happened” seems like negligence to the point we need to march on City Hall with torches and pitchforks. So the deal is that there has been cracking for years and they thought it wasn’t a big deal but oops, turns out it was? Aye yi yi!

    • J. Lardizabal March 23, 2020 (4:41 pm)

      We could march on City Hall, but we’d have to take the long way around :)

      • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (5:52 pm)

        And we would have to maintain social distancing 😁

    • Josephus Nice March 23, 2020 (4:42 pm)

      Agree with this entirely.

  • Len March 23, 2020 (4:26 pm)

    Shocking level of incompetence in this city’s government.   Totally inexcusable.   Zimbabwe should be fired immediately.   Put this on the fast track, this is going to cause tremendous economic damage to West Seattle when we can ill afford it.   How are businesses going to get their deliveries?   How will healthcare workers get to their jobs?    Stunning.

  • perplexed March 23, 2020 (4:27 pm)

    So, what is the route to get over the water? I am having a hard time determining how to get downtown now with my car. 

    • Michael March 23, 2020 (5:01 pm)

      1st Ave S bridge is your best bet by car.  But honestly if you can just take a bus downtown.

    • Just a dude March 23, 2020 (5:04 pm)

      South on W. Marginal Way, left onto Highland Park Way where you will go under 99 and after a short bit can get onto 99 northbound to head north.

    • Joel March 23, 2020 (5:05 pm)

      There is no way to take your car over water. You will need to use the 1st ave bridge further south. Your route will depend on your location.

    • LS March 23, 2020 (7:44 pm)

      Or, depending on where you live, N. Delridge (or under bridge, Avalon) to W. Marginal Way to Michigan to 99.    There is no good option.

  • WPJO March 23, 2020 (4:27 pm)

    The grocery store shelves were already getting empty when delivery trucks could come to West Seattle. What now?

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (4:32 pm)

      Freight will be allowed on the low bridge.

      • Matt P March 23, 2020 (5:54 pm)

        Or up 99.

  • perplexed March 23, 2020 (4:27 pm)

    So, what is the route to get over the water? I am having a hard time determining how to get downtown now in my car. 

    • JAT March 23, 2020 (8:21 pm)

      Multiple posts, Perplexed. Is that because yr Q is so important, or some other reason?  Why do you need to take your car downtown – specifically downtown?There’s nothing downtown you can’t do by bus.  If you’d said: how do I drive to eastern Washington to see my grandma, or how do I go skiing, I’d have said: you shouldn’t be doing those things at all…   (ski areas are closed…)But you said downtown.  Twice.  You don’t need your car downtown.

      • alki_2008 March 24, 2020 (11:03 am)

        Unless you want to avoid taking public transit, which are not the cleanest, especially right now. I’ve been avoiding the bus and driving my own vehicle downtown for months after some unhygeinic and overcrowded moments in the bus. And when things return to normal, the buses will be even more crowded than they already are.

  • Josephus Niceman March 23, 2020 (4:30 pm)

    This is absolutely unacceptable. In light of the current crisis we’re dealing with, that Inslee is bungling his way through and putting Washingtonians lives at risk by NOT issuing a shelter-in-place order we now have to deal with THIS? Hey, Sam Zimbabwe, what’s wrong with this picture? That deck will be NEEDED for emergency traffic AT A MINIMUM over the “next several weeks” and for the “coming months”. I’m sorry but this is ATROCIOUS, and a BUNGLED attempt at best, at local government. SHAME ON YOU Sam Zimbabwe, SHAME SHAME SHAME. This bridge is NEEDED now more than ever and the FACT you’ve let West Seattle residents INCLUDING ME drive on a potentially fatal “bridge” this long ENRAGES me and fills me with such furious contempt for local government that I want to unleash a deafening scream-roar of contemptuous unhappiness, to be heard both north and south on the I-5 corridor for many miles. I am disgusted by this, and by WA DOT in general, and especially “Sam Zimbabwe” for laying this f**king bulls**t on us NOW. SHAME!

    • R March 23, 2020 (11:09 pm)

      Fire.  Sam.   NOW!

  • JAS March 23, 2020 (4:30 pm)

    Will they close or limit the lower bridge closures to boats during this time? I work in healthcare, I don’t have the ability to telework.

    • Elisha March 23, 2020 (7:17 pm)

      My fiancé works at upper Queen Anne Safeway, this is ridiculous that he can’t use the lower bridge to get across and make it easier on gas and such!!! Wth 

  • Sherry March 23, 2020 (4:31 pm)

    Guess TFN IS TOTAL F——— Nightmare

  • EricC March 23, 2020 (4:32 pm)

    Everyone should prepare for housing prices to collapse over here. Imagine average downtown commute going from 20 mins to 45 over night

    • Catey March 24, 2020 (9:18 am)

      I guess if you’re planning on moving within a few months, yes. Otherwise, what will it matter?

  • grateful March 23, 2020 (4:32 pm)

    Dear Patrick and Tracy,  Thank you for your timely reporting.  I appreciate the fact I know this now and can plan for it.  You two rock!

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (6:38 pm)

      Thank you for the kind words.

  • WSobserver March 23, 2020 (4:33 pm)

    I’ve been rushed  by taxi and a visiting relative to Harborview hospital not less than five times in the last 2 weeks for a just diagnosed cancer. Have submitted an application to Metro for Access bus service, but those applications take time to process. Visiting relative leaving this week.How will I get to Harborview now if need be? We don’t have a car. I’m shell-shocked by this, stranded.

  • KayK March 23, 2020 (4:35 pm)

    If you are using “one of the other ways out of WS” please slow down and don’t shortcut through residential side streets!Too bad the HPWay/Holden roundabout has been put off for so many years – could have helped to have that. 

  • DMann March 23, 2020 (4:36 pm)

    And to think we waited for 5 years of detours waiting for the bridge in the first place.  Now how long for this mess to get fixed?   They subdivided most of our single family lots for increased taxes.  Now when everyone moves out will our taxes go down.  Maybe it’s just a way to move people to all these new elevated rail stations that have planned apartments .  Like up at Northgate Mall and down by Angle Lake and the airport. Guess when they go to buy my house for light rail from West Seattle to White Center and Burien I’ll get less money

  • Gatewood March 23, 2020 (4:36 pm)

    Welcome to clown world folks – you are living in it.  This is the new normal from our beloved overclass.  Back in the day they lorded over us but were competent.  Not any more.   This could take a year easily to rectify – the engineering alone will take a month or more, fabrication several more months, and then good luck shoring up a bridge that’s maybe a hundred fifty feet tall.  That will not go quickly nor will installation of whatever massive retrofit structural additions they come up with.Not one person will have so much as a reprimand filed for making our lives hell.  Oopsie!  Don’t forget to pay your taxes!

  • Todd March 23, 2020 (4:37 pm)

    Wish they could leave one lane open in each direction on the high rise during the repairs. 

  • Lisa March 23, 2020 (4:37 pm)

    I would like to know also about getting downtown and back by driving. Work is paying for my parking so I don’t have to take the bus and now my bus route is cancelled until further notice so that’s not even an option. 

  • Mike March 23, 2020 (4:38 pm)

    Serious? Wow so much going on.

  • hammerhead March 23, 2020 (4:40 pm)

    So if I have to go to Capital hill.  I can NOT use the Spokane bridge(lower ) I have to drive all the way down to the 1st ave bridge?  is that what I am understanding. 

  • SMDH March 23, 2020 (4:40 pm)

    The incompetence of this city’s government continues to amaze me. It would be funny if I didn’t live here. 

  • Mark Schletty March 23, 2020 (4:41 pm)

    Why can buses use the lower bridge but not cars? Especially now, with almost no one on the buses and most people getting around in cars to avoid the virus. Makes no sense in the short run.

    • Jort March 23, 2020 (5:06 pm)

      Because one bus takes up the space of 200 cars, and there’s a limitation on the amount of space available on the bridge. This is not complicated and actually makes lots of sense. At a time like this, it is socially responsible to prioritize buses, since they are the most efficient use of the available space. Time to take the bus! (Or get on your bike, trust me, you’ll like it.)

      • hammerhead March 23, 2020 (5:44 pm)

        I own a house cleaning business and rescue animals so i can not use a bike

      • Bill March 23, 2020 (10:04 pm)

        200 passenger bus?? — nuff said!

    • Keep it moving March 23, 2020 (5:17 pm)

      It’s to prevent that remaining critical roadway from jamming, so emergency vehicles, supply chain freight, etc can get through. 

  • wetone March 23, 2020 (4:41 pm)

    Lower bridge is not 100% either. Most all bridges and elevated structures in Seattle are in poor shape. All are known  issues that keep getting pushed back as our city officials spend $$$$ elsewhere. Magnolia Bridge, 4th ave by Costco where it has one lane reduction just a couple examples. The list is long and conditions no different than road surfaces throughout area. This is what happens with poor leadership……. as many have said it’s going to be a real sh** show. I just hope lower bridge holds up to the task and city needs to stop all new building in WS now…… 

  • Heidi Weispfenning March 23, 2020 (4:42 pm)

    I was a teenager living on Vashon when “the ship hit the span” in 1978 and we had to take the 1st Ave S route while they built the high and low bridges. West Seattle and Vashon were a lot quieter then and not as many people had to commute to town. Too much deferred maintenance on the high bridge, or shoddy construction in the first place?

    • Helpermonkey March 23, 2020 (6:03 pm)

      Heidi, can I assume by your name you’re related to Vashon’s Doc Weispfenning? Every time I get sick I can still hear his voice in my head: “Flush fluids!” 

  • Jasper March 23, 2020 (4:42 pm)

    Get ready for “A Nightmare On Holden Street”, coming soon to a roundabout near you.

  • HS March 23, 2020 (4:43 pm)

    Please construct the light rail with the repairs. 

    • JeffK March 23, 2020 (5:11 pm)

      ^This!

  • Herrmann March 23, 2020 (4:44 pm)

    What’s BERTHA up to these days?

  • WS is an island March 23, 2020 (4:45 pm)

    So let me guess, the city is going to suggest knocking it down and putting in a 5 billion dollar tunnel?  :)

  • Paul Ramon March 23, 2020 (4:48 pm)

    It’s time to repent. 

  • Chris March 23, 2020 (4:48 pm)

    Hospital workers should get a pass or permit to use the lower bridge. 

    • Shipwrecked_and_Comatose March 23, 2020 (5:46 pm)

      Yes! Maybe my Harborview ID will be enough. My coworkers and I are working overtime to get all y’all tested for SARS-Cov-2. Maybe if I show ’em my ID and my lab coat?

  • Onion March 23, 2020 (4:49 pm)

    Good news, people. The repairs are being managed by the same management that turned Avalon and 35th into a never ending nightmare.

  • Dana March 23, 2020 (4:49 pm)

    Been noticing cracks for years?  Clearly nothing was done for years otherwise we wouldn’t be in this position. You’ve basically admitted you were given several years notice and still SDOT fails.

  • Kristina March 23, 2020 (4:53 pm)

    I guess the silver lining is that I really like it here, because it seems I am not going to be able to leave!Right now, I’m teaching high school (Bellevue) online from my basement. If this is still happening in September I cannot imagine the commute times…oy. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. ;-)

  • Arbor Heights Guy March 23, 2020 (4:53 pm)

    Elections have consequences, people—this is the City Council “Representation”, City Administration and SDOT you get from the leaderless Mayor’s that we’ve had over the years.

    • KM March 23, 2020 (5:52 pm)

      The council is not appointed or managed by the mayor, FWIW.

  • Amrit March 23, 2020 (4:54 pm)

    Well at least maybe the crowds on Alki will be thinner. Sorry to people who have to cross the bridge to keep our city going. Every two days I feel like this escalates much quicker. Wow.

  • Admiral March 23, 2020 (4:54 pm)

    Yes, this will be a hassle, but in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, this feels like a minor inconvenience. People need to get a grip and keep things in perspective. People are dying daily. Relax.

    • WR March 23, 2020 (11:16 pm)

      My wife not being able to get to Swedish to save lives is not an inconvenience!

  • Doner March 23, 2020 (4:55 pm)

    Wow. So many civil engineers in this thread…

    • Bob Tanzania March 23, 2020 (5:11 pm)

      Wow. So many voters on this thread. 

  • VF March 23, 2020 (4:55 pm)

    Can we temporarily close the ferry traffic?  They have options….Tacoma for Vashon, and driving around for Southworth. And it opened in 1984.

    • Drew March 23, 2020 (6:19 pm)

      Yes!  Thanks for this.  Vashon/Southworth boats should be routed to Colman Dock asap. 

  • kkt March 23, 2020 (4:57 pm)

    It’s not that old a bridge.  It shouldn’t be falling apart yet.

  • Friend O'Dinghus March 23, 2020 (5:03 pm)

    I’m thinking that reduction to one lane on southbound West Marginal Way will need to be removed as fast as possible. It’s a problem now waiting to happen with the high bridge closed until further notice.

  • Sunuva March 23, 2020 (5:04 pm)

    Can they also set up barbed wire fences to keep the zombie hordes off our peninsula? We have the high point, just need the barriers to be shored up. ;)

  • Mj March 23, 2020 (5:06 pm)

    Wow, at least traffic is light.  However it should never have gotten to this point.  Regarding the low level bridge it seams Doctors and RN’s, critical work force personnel, should be able to use it.

  • Steve March 23, 2020 (5:07 pm)

    Thank gawd I’m unemployed.

  • Eb Crawford March 23, 2020 (5:08 pm)

    Shouldn’t they have already been designing and manufacturing the fix if they know about it for a while? Once again proving their incompitance.

    • Gatewood March 23, 2020 (5:20 pm)

      Why yes.  Yes they should.  They might have even effected a repair during overnight closures for instance back when that was possible.

  • TwoWheels March 23, 2020 (5:10 pm)

    I wonder if two wheeled vehicles (bikes, motorcycles, vespas) will be allowed on the low bridge? At the very least I would think bikes would be ok.

  • water taxi March 23, 2020 (5:10 pm)

    Water Taxi going to get a lot busier these days!

  • CH March 23, 2020 (5:14 pm)

    1. Reprioritize mass transit options for west seattle NOW, including rapid ride and express buses.

    2. Keep the 1st ave draw bridge down and open for cars and buses during rush hour 6-10am and 4-7pm. Do not raise draw bridge during those hours.

  • John March 23, 2020 (5:14 pm)

    Only 36 years old. Makes you wonder about some of the older bridges. 

  • Gatewood March 23, 2020 (5:15 pm)

    I like how the mayor opens with effusive thanks and praise to SDOT for their wonderful and truly heroic efforts at not doing their job with any competence.   If I was mayor I’d be a little bit pissed off at our SDOT heroes right about now.  Nope.  No one is even made a bit uncomfortable much less fired.  Clown World, honk honk!

  • LJ March 23, 2020 (5:15 pm)

     Why can’t the high-rise bridge still have one lane open In both directions ?   Just ban all buses and heavy trucks from the bridge until the repairs are completed.

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (6:02 pm)

      That’s addressed above. It wouldn’t really help. 80 percent of the bridge’s load is … itself.

  • WSRes March 23, 2020 (5:16 pm)

    Does SDOT state if commuting first responders are allowed to pass over the low bridge? Tried calling and the line dropped 3x. 

  • anonyme March 23, 2020 (5:17 pm)

    If Seattle isn’t the worst managed city in the country, it’s right there near the top.

  • Tsurly March 23, 2020 (5:17 pm)

    Bike commuting for the past 20 years has been perfect training for this moment.

    • LT March 23, 2020 (6:01 pm)

      Are they allowed?

      • Tsurly March 23, 2020 (6:57 pm)

        Yes.

  • Bob Tanzania March 23, 2020 (5:20 pm)

    Time to dust of the freighter Chavez.  Anyone know where it is?

  • Social distancing March 23, 2020 (5:21 pm)

    We have to stay six feet apart. We CANNOT be nose to nose on buses or water taxis right now! This is not a joke. Those that work in healthcare–who need to get across the bridge–can not risk public transportation at this time. This is horrible.

    • 98116zip March 23, 2020 (8:04 pm)

      As a healthcare worker this is my concern as well. I take the water taxi usually but haven’t since the outbreak to prevent either the potential of spreading anything to others or getting anything and then bringing it back to the hospital. Social distancing will not be an option if the majority of us are having to take public transportation now 

  • John Kandola March 23, 2020 (5:22 pm)

    Will I be able to use the West Seattle bridge to get to the harbor island exit ? 

  • Yeahright102 March 23, 2020 (5:22 pm)

    So when does Ladder 13 come back into service at Station 11.  With the bridge closed we will need a second ladder company on this side of the water.   When the on ramps were closed to the bridge a few years ago, we had a second ladder company.  @WSB, can you inquire with SFD?   Might seem like a minor point but with the increased load on the first responders we need additional fire, rescue, and EMS resources and the longer response times this needs to be considered (the situation gets to be even more critical if the coast guard is not going to restrict swing bridge operations which I don’t think they did will since they didn’t during viadoom (which was planned for).

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (6:32 pm)

      Great question. We’ll be pursuing many questions in the days ahead so appreciate points of curiosity. Answers are running slow but I think communications people were somewhat blindsided too.

  • Eddie March 23, 2020 (5:25 pm)

    This thread of comments will most probably win the most commented or quickest to 200 comments or some such.God bless us all.

    • TWST March 23, 2020 (8:05 pm)

      Omg yes, I feel like I’ve been reading these comments forever, it’s never ending!

      Many good questions and points though, and some appreciated humor too ;)

      I hope some consider biking as an option if the lower bridge and trail are open. I realize this may not be accessible for many, but if you can, the exercise is good for respiratory health!

  • Rocky Bullwinkle March 23, 2020 (5:26 pm)

    Oy vey. Do you know where the cracks were found? I ask because I hope they’ll be able to keep portion of bridge to and from 99 open. 

  • John Smith March 23, 2020 (5:29 pm)

    The City of Seattle relies on levies now for things that used to be normal city responsibilies (street repaving, for example). It should not be a surprise that the City spends taxpayer revenue inefficiently, such that all of a sudden, 36 years after the “new” bridge opened, this is what happens.

  • WS Commuter March 23, 2020 (5:30 pm)

    I hope they temporarily remove that lane narrowing in from of the Duwamish Tribal Center.  It will be dangerous with a lot of traffic on W Marginal

  • Brandon March 23, 2020 (5:30 pm)

    Makes you wonder when the Magnolia Bridge will crumble into Interbay. 

  • JKK March 23, 2020 (5:32 pm)

    We were all worried about the WRONG bridge!!!!…  everyone had their eyes on the 99!!…. This virus may have actually saved some lives here in Seattle.  SO many mornings and evenings, that bridge it packed to the brim with cars parked like a parking lot…   everyone stay safe out there… is it December yet?….. sigh…..  

  • WSdudeman March 23, 2020 (5:33 pm)

    Just keep the fingers crossed we don’t have a seismic event in the near future. Damn.Seattle, your leadership and priorities never cease to amaze me. 

  • Hannah G. March 23, 2020 (5:34 pm)

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist by nature, but something sure smells fishy about this. It seems to me that if you wanted an easy way to force a large chunk of a generally willful population of Seattle citizens to stay home you could close the bridge due to an imminent safety issue. The airline industry does this all the time, cancelling  undersold (unprofitable) flights due to a “safety” issue as who is going to argue with that.

  • wscommuter March 23, 2020 (5:35 pm)

    While I’m no defender of SDOT, the physical problem on the bridge announced today  pertains to issues from it’s initial design and/or construction, 36-40 years ago (construction was completed and it opened  in 1984 and was designed years before that) and there’s no one we can sue about that now.   I accept that there is a life-safety issue that has to be addressed (I’m sure we’ll get more details from the civil engineers who have studied this situation).  I do want to know how long  SDOT has been aware of this issue and why it wasn’t made public until this sudden  crisis-like closing.   And I do want to know who outside of SDOT knew about this and failed to tell us sooner.  The mayor?  Councilmember Herbold?  I just want to know and I think we’re entitled to know  that now.  

    • wetone March 23, 2020 (6:21 pm)

      2014

  • Mike March 23, 2020 (5:43 pm)

    SDOT is a rogue agency that decides what we need and ignores neighborhood input. We needed 2 bike lanes on Avalon Way and a zig zag street  with parked cars in the middle of the street?  It took 9 months to complete that disaster while SDOT knew that the  WS bridge was crumbling, Replace Mr. Zimbabwe with the author of Pot for Potholes. Now! 

    • David March 23, 2020 (6:50 pm)

      This is a great point. The single busiest roadway in and out of West Seattle is deemed unsafe and the authorities knew about it for quite some time, and they prioritized the Avalon Way project over a cracking and dangerous bridge? What I’ve just typed cannot be true. Seems…insane.

      • Chemist March 23, 2020 (9:43 pm)

        Avalon way has bike lanes.  The high bridge does not, yet.

  • Brin March 23, 2020 (5:45 pm)

    My first concern was about ambulances. So, at least, for now, my worry is assuaged.  Maybe.Per DOT, Buses, freight and emergency vehicles will be rerouted off the high-rise portion of the bridge to surface streets in West Seattle and SODO connecting with the Spokane Street Bridge, which also called the “low bridge.” —————————-Now, I realize this may anger some people, but there’s no denying that traffic congestion on the WS Bridge has gotten worse and worse over the past few years. And it just might be related to all the condos being built here. And these aren’t for low-income people, who need housing the most. Bigger population + most people commute + most people commute over the bridge = more congestion, more air pollution in our area, AND greater strain on the bridge.

  • Mj March 23, 2020 (5:52 pm)

    The City has neglected basic maintenance to pay for other stuff.  A mass PW’s spending after this is likely to be needed to get the economy restarted.  

  • OP March 23, 2020 (5:54 pm)

    How did no one ask why the lower bridge is closed to traffic?

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (6:15 pm)

      It’s not closed to traffic. It’s for the use of emergency, freight, and transit. That’s going to keep it busy enough, I’d think.

  • MrB March 23, 2020 (5:57 pm)

    Council Member Herbold blew one million taxpayer dollars litigating to save the Showbox.  Her focus should have been on our roads, bridges and infrastructure.  Astonishing lack of leadership.   

  • KD March 23, 2020 (5:58 pm)

    All of us in Highland Park, in particular the two streets that are used as race-roadways and too high of speed for crowded residential streets whenever accidents have closed or slowed the WSBridge before.. we KNOW the hell of practically all north half of WS drivers come over to Highland Park Way to get to 1st. So. Bridge. Awwwwww Crap!! 😡

    • LS March 23, 2020 (6:31 pm)

      Agree!  The HPW intersection of 9th SW and SW Holden is already a nightmare much of the time.   I’m avoiding that area altogether now, but don’t envy anyone who lives closer to that than I do.   The 1st Ave bridge will be crazy, even with the reduced traffic now.    There is no easy path from most of West Seattle to there either, so 35th, Delridge, Sylvan Way, California will all be overused now, let alone when the coronavirus thing starts to improve and people need to get downtown or anywhere except West Seattle.  Hopefully, for now people will be shopping in W. Seattle and not venturing out.

    • Gatewood March 23, 2020 (6:49 pm)

      Whenever the bridge is down the people along the detours get boxed in by a crush of traffic.   They have to leave their neighborhood just to get in line to inch back through their neighborhood.   I take pity on you all.  You have cheered me up knowing that I’m not as screwed as others.  Sorry, honestly, for what we are about to do to your neighborhoods.

  • AMD March 23, 2020 (6:10 pm)

    I had been wondering what the second-biggest story of the year would be, come the WSB 2020 wrap-up…

  • Steve March 23, 2020 (6:13 pm)

    This is why we need Jetpacks.

    • HS March 23, 2020 (11:37 pm)

      Totally! And zip lines!

  • WSDudeman March 23, 2020 (6:17 pm)

    Seattle’s leadership (past and present since it didn’t happen overnight) and the misdirected priorities never cease to amaze me. 

  • Scott March 23, 2020 (6:18 pm)

    C line and other double buses have torn up the streets in West Seattle and now the bridge.

    • James March 23, 2020 (6:34 pm)

      LOL buses are the least of the problem….

  • Beth March 23, 2020 (6:20 pm)

    WASHINGTON has infrastructure problems. Roads and bridges and their upkeep are not free. Vehicle licenses are one way to fund highways, roads and bridges. Income taxes are another. $30 per car is not enough to keep things in usable condition. 

    • Michael March 24, 2020 (2:16 am)

      My car is more than 10 years old and tabs cost over $300.00 a year.

  • Drew March 23, 2020 (6:22 pm)

    I didn’t vote for Herbold either time, this demonstrates why. Too bad about Durkan, I kind of liked her, but she should be a one-term mayor after this. Completely inexcusable management. 

    • WSCommuter2 March 23, 2020 (10:06 pm)

      Agree – I didn’t vote for her either time and Durkan just lost my vote the next go around.  Lisa Herbold and Joe McDermott should both be recalled if there are provisions for it.   This is beyond insane.  You don’t give a few hours notice for blocking access for 80,000+ citizens of WS to the rest of the city.  Trying to bury this with C-19 is the real icing on the cake demonstrating their contempt.  I had to go to the hospital the other day for a minor emergency- how are we supposed to do that?  Do we call ourselves first aid self-responders in that scenario?

  • M March 23, 2020 (6:26 pm)

    How will our Amazon Fresh orders make it to us from SODO? 

    • NoLongerPatsFanPNW March 23, 2020 (6:45 pm)

      About as good as they’re doing now.  Can’t get a time slot to save my soul.  Instacart out a week for Costco.  Can’t wait to see what this does to all that.

  • Beth March 23, 2020 (6:26 pm)

    WASHINGTON has infrastructure problems. Roads and bridges, and their upkeep, are not free. Vehicle licenses are one way to fund highways, roads and bridges. Income taxes are another. $30 per car is not enough to keep things in usable condition. Until sufficient funding is procured, we need elected officials who can ensure that City Departments prioritize essential projects. 

    • Ice March 23, 2020 (6:42 pm)

      The reality is that infrastructure costs more to maintain than it does to build. maintenance is not cheap.

    • Frustrated March 25, 2020 (7:47 am)

      It’s not about lack of money.   The people who never saw this coming are the same people spending $150M+ on a downtown streetcar that no one will ride.   Please don’t try to make the argument that we don’t have enough tax money to keep our bridges safe.   Our problem is that we have elected officials who are only interested in creating a liberal utopia and don’t have any interest in the blocking and tackling to keep our city running.   We need new leadership plain and simple.

  • becca March 23, 2020 (6:30 pm)

    I am a nurse who works downtown and takes the bus everyday- is the 57 bus still operating? how will I get to work? The metro site does not have any new information 

  • Also John March 23, 2020 (6:31 pm)

    TFN?     
    What does it mean?
    Tax File Number
    Typical Friday Night
    ????

    • songstorm March 23, 2020 (7:30 pm)

      Til Further Notice.  Though I liked the earlier commenter’s adjustment to Total F******* Nightmare.

    • Citizen Sane March 23, 2020 (7:38 pm)

      ‘Til Further NoticeIt should be ‘UFN’

    • JAT March 23, 2020 (8:49 pm)

      I have this acronym  problem too -srsly.but when I type it in the google search bar I almost always say:oh yeah, duh…

  • James March 23, 2020 (6:32 pm)

    Guy on Reddit says he works at Metro and they said “realistically closed for a year or two” LOL so glad I get to watch my property value tank

    • Ice March 23, 2020 (6:41 pm)

      Sounds like a reliable source.

      • James March 23, 2020 (7:00 pm)

        He seemed legit. I put it around a year. They will have to rebuild a 5 lane bridge. 

    • Gatewood March 23, 2020 (6:56 pm)

      6 months would be a miracle.  A year is realistic.  Two years is possible.  They let the post tension cables rust.  I work in commercial construction.  Post tension cable slabs are common.  If you damage one the world crashes in around you.  They are very difficult – impossible really – to repair.  Additional structure is required to pick up the load.  We’re talking a thousand tons of steel hoisted 150 feet into the air.  Even with the fearless and relentless iron workers in the local Union that will take a looooong time.  

      • Dmann March 23, 2020 (10:31 pm)

        What about rollers for the rebar plant at the end of the bridge to run endless no joint rebar all the way across the bridge like cables right straight out of the fire. Then more concrete. With a couple more support towers up from Harbor Island???

      • sna March 23, 2020 (10:32 pm)

        I’ve watched a few YouTube videos on precast girder construction, so I feel educated enough to assert that in this type of construction, the cables may not be fully encased  in the concrete.  :) There may be “anchors” in the precast construction where the cables connect that are cracking.  We just have no details.  When the aurora bridge needed emergency repairs they provided more documentation and pictures than here. 

        For instance, are the cracks on the outside? Or only visible in the interior of the girders? Looking at the construction photos, those support girders are hallow

      • Mr B March 24, 2020 (12:00 am)

        This person speaks truth to rust, and I’m so pissed that this is happening.   Born here, raised here, built and completed a career here, but I’m gonna die someplace else.  I’m sooooo over Seattle.

  • Rocky Bullwinkle March 23, 2020 (6:32 pm)

    Gotta…build a temporary bridge across the Duwamish run car ferry from Fauntleroy to downtownThis may be a good time to sell car boats!

  • Wendell March 23, 2020 (6:44 pm)

    I often wondered what a few decades of parking-lot-commutes was doing to the bridge. Now I know.

  • NoLongerPatsFanPNW March 23, 2020 (6:47 pm)

    I’d feel better if we had an emergency medical facility on this side of the bridge, regardless of the lower bridge being reserved.  And how about setting up a community farm and let’s just become self sufficient? Just kidding.  Sort of.

  • hawkbit March 23, 2020 (7:08 pm)

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Disaster March 23, 2020 (7:19 pm)

    This is worse than coronavirus.   Shame Shame Shame greedy corrupt politicians 

  • Drew March 23, 2020 (7:32 pm)

    Source at King County Metro says 12-18 months out of service. 

  • Alki resident March 23, 2020 (7:33 pm)

    It’s time Vashon ferry riders go directly to downtown instead of West Seattle. 

    • TWST March 23, 2020 (8:21 pm)

      Vashonites are our neighbors. Many shop, work, or have family or friends in WS. And, likewise, some from WS have connections to Vashon.

      Maybe it would make sense for there to be a split ferry service schedule alternating a route to WS with a route to downtown…?

  • WLT March 23, 2020 (7:33 pm)

    There were problems with post tension cables in one of our downtown high-rises a few years ago. The solution was to demolish the building…..Hmmm

    • Dmann March 23, 2020 (10:24 pm)

      Yes the Carpenters Union sat on that block and they demolished that and built the high rise and then demolished it for the problems with the steel rusting under the coating that was supposed to protect the steel from the rust. All covered by insurance. Now there is no insurance policy for the bridge.

  • Mr B March 23, 2020 (7:33 pm)

    Oh no!   The bridge has Crackoma Virus.

    • Beth March 23, 2020 (8:27 pm)

      Thank you for that. 

  • Citizen Sane March 23, 2020 (7:37 pm)

    Well, that’s Seattle government for you: our infrastructure is in a shambles, but we’ll make darn sure we call you by your preferred pronoun!

    • James March 23, 2020 (8:02 pm)

      Come on man…. last thing to whine about right now 

  • LyndaB March 23, 2020 (7:56 pm)

    I think this just might be the biggest comment thread to date! Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Ball of Fur. Happy Kitty, Sleepy Kitty, Purr Purr Purr.I work at UW.  I better sleep early.  Zzzz.

  • Savannah Fuda March 23, 2020 (7:57 pm)

    Can I go on the lower bridge starting Thursday as a first responder, working at a grocery store? 

  • Seaweed March 23, 2020 (8:06 pm)

    GO EMPIRE!  We are going to need a much bigger war.

  • Veter March 23, 2020 (8:17 pm)

    Wow, they spent all that money building fancy tunnels but no one thought to fix this bridge all these years???  What incompetence!

    • wscommuter March 23, 2020 (8:49 pm)

      @Veter … WSDOT built the tunnel.  SDOT owns/is responsible for the W. Seattle bridge.  Two different agencies – no connection.  Please deal in facts and not ignorance.  

  • Char March 23, 2020 (8:25 pm)

    Wondering if we’ll be able to cut across Spokane Street just to access West Marginal?  Doesn’t sound like it – but here’s hoping. Frankly, our transportation infrastructure has been deteriorating, the bridge handles way too much traffic, and it’s probably one structural crack too many that resulted in this immediate emergency closure. 

  • Eric March 23, 2020 (8:29 pm)

    When they designed the bridge in the 80’s did they not think traffic would increase?

  • Don Brubeck March 23, 2020 (8:31 pm)

    The
    Spokane Street Bridge is closed to most non-freight vehicles, but open to foot and
    bike traffic. If you are an essential worker, or doing an essential trip, and can manage it on a bike, this would be a great time to try.  Not saying everyone can. But if you can, biking to downtown is a 30 to 40 minute trip from most places in West
    Seattle. We have several routes mapped for bike commuters on our
    Resources page. https://westseattlebikeconnections.org/resources/

    • Elton March 23, 2020 (9:00 pm)

      I’m really wishing I had my hand me down bike fitted for me before this pandemic. Why did I wait for the summer?! :PIs this the most comments on a wsb post ever? 

      • WSB March 23, 2020 (9:19 pm)

        No, we had a 500-something post re: a power outage a few years back.

  • Rb March 23, 2020 (8:34 pm)

    Make west Seattle an island  ferry traffic  only think vashon.. Nantucket.. Balboa….would make it more charming???Lots of luck glad I am gone from there…FUBAR.

  • JAT March 23, 2020 (8:40 pm)

    The reactionary comments here really disappoint me:

    – taxes keep going up and this is what we get?!?

    -gov’t is incompetent and corrupt!!!

    -how am I going to possibly manage, my situation is unique?

    -(insert politician name here) has failed to act!!!

    Look, I remember the first time I drove over the high bridge, home one summer from college going out to Fauntleroy (and back) to buy a 1963 Lambretta – totally not high bridge safe on the trip back, and I remember learning to say “ooooh” in the tone of the grate of the old bridge before it was rammed by a thence murdered freighter captain.

    Stuff happens. It’s not a personal or political slight.

    Perhaps we rugged individualists would be better off if we each built our own bridges on land we homesteaded with lumber we milled ourselves;Or maybe governmental transportation agencies should be held to a perfect standard and that would easily fit into a budget we could all agree on.

    sorry for your personal inconvenience, but it’s not a plot against you personally…

    pull together, people, this is the second most important thing going on in West Seattle this week!

    • Drew March 24, 2020 (1:16 pm)

      The busiest road in the city gets closed for 12-18 months on 4 hours notice, for deterioration that’s obviously been going on for years but with no plan of repair and no information provided to the public.  And when we’re upset you call us reactionary??  Give me a break. 

  • JustCurious March 23, 2020 (8:48 pm)

    Wow! Almost 350 responses. Wondering if this breaks any blog records?

  • Graham March 23, 2020 (9:50 pm)

    What did Lisa Herbold know and when did she know it? She should have been ringing the alarm bells about issues with the bridge, and ensuring that residents would not be caught off guard by an “unexpected” closure. Ensuring the functioning and safety of the West Seattle Bridge should have been a top priority. The busiest street in Seattle is vital to her district, and she seems as surprised as the rest of us. Alternative plans should have been well figured out and communicated years ago. Has there never been contingency planning for the bridge should anything have ever happened? This problem is being exacerbated by the political malpractice of our council member. (And I voted for her!) Herbold needs to get a new set of priorities and focus on what makes this community function and valuable.

  • Rocketgurl March 23, 2020 (10:05 pm)

    So let me get this straight… they canceled our light rail plans (not once, but twice), designated West Seattle as a high density neighborhood, made commuting to Seattle worse both with the delays building the 99 tunnel and the new roadway design which ultimately has made traffic worse for us than the old 99 structure. Now they have deemed our bridge unsafe and closed it with four hours of warning, given us zero notice that this was even a possibility and have no significant plans or infrastructure in place for the foreseeable future?  Utterly speechless.

  • ArbyWS March 23, 2020 (10:16 pm)

    How much of this is due to the perpetual backup of buses and cars from tunnel construction and then the poorly thought through bus only lane on 99?

  • WSlite March 23, 2020 (10:17 pm)

    As if everyone doesn’t have enough to stress about right now, this happens…dang, this year has hardly begun and already just plain sucks. And it sounds like City has known about infrastructure issues a while, what’s with the last minute shutdown decision? That effects sooo many people! At least let regular commuters use the lower bridge too. Geeeez! Well, stay safe fellow West Seattleites and take care of yourselves. Hopefully year 2021 will be MUCH better than this year. I’m over this year, lol!

  • Sockeye March 23, 2020 (10:23 pm)

    What an amazing, lively thread – thank you WSB and all the
    contributors – the comments are my favorite aspect of online reporting.  
    With that said,
    after reading all 352 comments, and assuming they represent a large percentage of
    West Seattleites, only two people raised suspicion about the nefarious timing
    of this closure.  Well, here’s #3 – Welcome to medical martial law everyone – what rights you had left have been removed.  Good luck.

  • DLC March 23, 2020 (10:44 pm)

    Did the bridge engineers go to Boeing after they finished designing the bridge, working on the 737 MAX?

  • John H. March 23, 2020 (10:54 pm)

    Adversity is apparently the new norm.   Suck it up folks, work together and we’ll get through this.

    • WSRes March 23, 2020 (11:37 pm)

      Well said. 

  • 1994 March 23, 2020 (11:20 pm)

    The Aurora Bridge was opened in 1932 and still going strong.  I remember driving over the newly  built WS bridge shortly after it opened.Closing the WS bridge, the primary connection for WS to the rest of Seattle,  at this time of a virus pandemic does have an odd smack to it.  The SDOT must have known about concrete cracking for years. Or do the cracks just magically appear in no time?

  • Josh March 23, 2020 (11:21 pm)

    If they already need to spend months on repairs and construction, could they add in tracks for lightrail at the same time? I’d love it if we got ahead of that if possible… Might as well make the most of the situation!

  • 1994 March 23, 2020 (11:40 pm)

    Zimbabwe says it was no one thing that led to this decision – but for example some of the vehicles and volumes on it are more than it was designed for.”Some vehicles? What type of vehicles? Metro buses by chance? Someone else mentions garbage trucks. Or as another person wrote wondering about the impact of the bridge turning into a parking lot because traffic can’t move along…

  • Gunner March 24, 2020 (12:15 am)

    Friends,

    As folks know the West Seattle Bridge is closed leaving just 2 ways off the peninsular to Seattle. Some of you might be having to go over to 1st Ave bridge via Highland Park Way. If this was normal traffic time you would be backed up on SW Holden St from at least 16th SW, but maybe not right now.

    What ever the case, do not cut through Highland Park side streets, it is not any faster then waiting to make the left. You are more likely to get T-boned on the side streets, more likely to hit a pedestrian, more likely to hit a parked car… all things those are awful and expensive in so many ways.

    Yes, we know that intersection is the worst, yes, we have been asking for something to change there since 1947. No, it’s probably not going get fixed before the bridge reopens.

    Yes, speeding up or down the hill of Highland Park Way is also not okay, nor is pedestrians having to play chicken with you, because we have no crosswalks where the bus stops are at Highland Park Way and SW Holden.So practice social distancing and repress the urge to cut through any of the streets off SW Holden.

    For more info check out https://hpacinfo.wordpress.com

    Thanks
    Gunner
    Chair of HPAC

  • MM March 24, 2020 (12:18 am)

    Interesting times.  Wonder what things will  look like in July or August.   How many lives will be lost from the virus. How many businesses will still be alive in West Seattle.  What phase will the whole bridge fiasco be in. Will there be traffic yet on the traffic cams.  How many condos and homes will be for sale in ws real estate inventory.  How will crime trends change. How will people act/behave after the Pandemic. Today is way bigger than the bridge issue. 

    • Bucket 'o Beef March 25, 2020 (9:26 am)

      We’ll all be dead from the virus so it wont matter. At least SDOT is probably hoping that so they wont have to do anything about it.

  • What? March 24, 2020 (12:35 am)

    So. The lower bridge isnt actually closed for a valid reason – but to “avoid confusion”. The only thing Im confusef about right now is why the lower brige is closed. I work downtown. I still have to go to my essential-services job twice a week. Im now trying to figure out how to get to work and have it not take an hour. I dont think theres 

    • WSB March 24, 2020 (1:04 am)

      The low bridge is NOT closed – it’s restricted to emergency, freight, and buses. The confusion avoidance is regarding the Spokane St. Viaduct, which is the east half of the high bridge – from approximately the 99 overpass eastward.

  • Cat March 24, 2020 (4:07 am)

    Can we PLEASE turn the upper bridge into a bike lane now!?!

  • Anonymous Coward March 24, 2020 (6:17 am)

    Is this how we get everyone to support tearing down the existing bridge and making room for the light rail bridge between it and Pigeon Point?  Just stop maintaining the existing bridge until it’s no longer structurally sound?

  • Sparky March 24, 2020 (7:32 am)

    It didn’t even take a drunk tugboat captain to take this one down ;-) 

  • steve March 24, 2020 (7:49 am)

      I just went and looked at it.  It looks good to me.

  • T Rex March 24, 2020 (10:29 am)

    There are two bridges to get you across the water people, the 1st South Bridge and the South Park Bridge. If you work downtown, you can skip over onto Airport  Way and get into downtown that way as well.  I’m lucky and work right below West Seattle and don’t have to cross the bridge but I will be expecting tighter traffic in the future. See if you can change your hours and go in extra early or extra late to see if that helps our soon to be traffic nightmare. Anything we can all do to pitch in will help. 

  • Larry March 24, 2020 (3:11 pm)

    Bigger and older bridge. The SF Bay Bridge was Fixed in 1 Month after 1989 Quake. The Bay Bridge was older and bigger this 53 year old bridge was Fixed quickly! It sounds like we could be waiting for a longer period of time just to find out what is needed to repair the WSB. C’mon SDOT get with it! WS is the largest neighborhood in King County. Do we have better technology now versus 1989? Better Materials? Let’s get this Fixed before more major infrastructure breaks down. I do appreciate the closing before any tragedy but, it sounds like they’ve know about it it for a while so… Thanks! Now get busy!!

    • James March 24, 2020 (6:21 pm)

      Bay Area has way more money than Seattle and a lot more traffic than WSB. This will be at least a year long project if not longer. And there’s no budget planned for it at all. 

  • BikenBanker March 24, 2020 (3:41 pm)

    Yet another lifetime W Seattleite in total disbelief. Just when we are seeing the light of day with the Avalon/35th project due for completion in November (2019!), this. The City leaders need to take action now in two ways-1) immediately halt the new apartment/condo construction and permitting for the foreseeable future and 2) authorize the National Guard to deploy a temporary bridge(s) in the Duwamish area for additional access. 80,000 daily commuters cannot be siphoned off to 1st Ave South bridge or water taxis. I’m an optimist but a realist-this will be a long-term problem. Thanks to those before me, my other opinions were already voiced!  

    • GIS Steve March 24, 2020 (5:14 pm)

      Why should multifamily construction be halted? Apartments and condos are a more efficient use of space and better for the planet. If people didn’t want to live in them, they would stop building them. It seems to me that most of the traffic across the bridge comes from single family home dwellers. Here are some details:

      According to King County GIS data –

      Total number of single family homes in West Seattle*: 31,197 (area: 20,532,526 sq meters = 7.92 sq miles)

      Total number of bedrooms in those single family homes: 95,414

      Total number of multifamily home buildings: 894 (area: 1,584,238 sq meters = 0.61 sq miles)

      Total number of multifamily home units in those buildings: 16,121

      3551 multifamily home units built since 2000

      2691 SFHs built since 2000

      Doesn’t seem like a huge difference to me. Why should single family homes have hegemony over West Seattle? Let people live where they want to live. If more people lived in apartments there would be more room for parks and other amenities. The problem is driving, and car culture, not that other people exist and you don’t want them to live near you.

      *defined as zip codes 98116,98136,98126,98146, and 98106.

  • Simmerdownfolks March 24, 2020 (4:17 pm)

    “Chinese construction workers”?  o_0

  • Detour2021 March 24, 2020 (7:37 pm)

    In a worst case scenario if the center span need total replacement, I’m sure SDOT is thinking that the bridge could be rebuilt to include Light Rail. Applying the cost  of a new lower Light Rail Bridge that is in planning, apply that savings to upgrading the center span.(maybe even a new Jack Block Transit Center) ha ha

  • Detour2021 March 24, 2020 (8:13 pm)

    West Seattle Residents should get a free “GOOD TO PASS” for the tunnel.Call the Major, get her off the couch.

    • Bucket 'o Beef March 25, 2020 (9:20 am)

      How is that going to benefit anyone? We need to get across the water to use this.

  • Tim McGuire March 24, 2020 (8:24 pm)

    I shot some pictures in 2009 that made me a little nervous and I know nothing about bridge engineering. I wonder if it’s these cracks and or others they are worried about…?

  • russ March 24, 2020 (8:39 pm)

    Apparently not an “essential” bridge….  Maybe if it sold pot it would have been allowed to remain open.

  • RD March 24, 2020 (10:41 pm)

    Today 3/24/20  2;30 PM I went down to the low level bridge approach.  I Parked in the Chelan restaurant parking lot and observed  many cars east and westbound going over the low level bridge, not just busses and commercial vehicles and trucks.  Did SDOT change the car restriction or is this just Seattlites ignoring the SDOT personal car restriction?

    • WSB March 24, 2020 (10:51 pm)

      See our other story. The low-bridge restrictions, SDOT says, are now supposed to kick in tomorrow.

  • environment March 25, 2020 (12:31 am)

    I am the only one who feels THIS  IS   INTERESTING    TIMING  THAT   TIES  RIGHT  IN  WITH  OUR  MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS  MADE   BY  GOV.  INSLEE  with regard to Corona virus?   We are getting close to a police state,  in my opinion.  We lose our jobs and income – but hey the city employees can work on the bridge that SUDDENLY has to be closed off to us?  Seems like we are losing our freedom and becoming a police state in the ugliest way.  Can’t get together to complain: we are not allowed to do so.  Look at the statistics:  This is a normal flu season with a normal amount of cases and normal amount of deaths.  WHY  ARE  WE  BEING  IMPRISONED ?   Our economy, ability to earn a living, ability to move around freely is being taken away!   how much do we put up with? Are we now going to have to have a ‘pass’ to even drive out of west Seattle?  Stop the lies!

  • Bucket 'o Beef March 25, 2020 (9:15 am)

    Look I dont know about everyone else here but it is clear to me that Seattle’s priorities once again are not in maintaining and updating infrastructure that benefits everyone, but only a few. The city has spent the past decade focusing only on building new bike lanes while eliminating general purpose traffic lanes. I’ve had to battle the city council and SDOT and threaten legal action unless they repaired Admiral Way because I almost wrecked my motorcycle twice due to potholes. They finally did come out and repair, only after those threats, but its clear to me that putting a priority on aging infrastructure that everyone uses is not going to happen.

  • Deb March 25, 2020 (3:13 pm)

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is that the WS bridge closure  will be viewed as merely a West Seattle problem by those Seattle City Council/King County Council/Kitsap County Council/local Mayoral members who don’t reside in West Seattle.  That concerns me. I fear there are a lot of people who would fight back against timely WS bridge repairs because of the excessive costs. ‘There are other ways to get in and out of West Seattle, right??’ We know differently, but they won’t care. sigh…

    • WSB March 25, 2020 (3:26 pm)

      Well, so far we have at least four of the nine paying attention. The two citywides both live in WS. There’s Lisa. And transportation chair Alex P. put out a news release after the announcement even before SDOT did.

  • WS resident April 4, 2020 (9:08 am)

    HOLY SH*T I’m just now finding out about this !!! Excuse my lateness I’ve been sick with the ABSOLUTE WORST cough, fever and lung congestion in my ever loving life. I’m mostly past it now. I turned off the news for 3 weeks, glad to be back.hopefully they can fix the bridge before the stay at home order is lifted so we can all take the bridge again soon, as I’m this summer.

Sorry, comment time is over.