TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Thursday watch, day 3 of West Seattle Bridge closure

5:31 AM: The high-level West Seattle Bridge remains closed until further notice. Here’s our latest report, from a Wednesday night SDOT interview.

Here’s the camera view::

Next, the low bridge – SDOT says police will be stationed by it during “peak periods” but there will not be “checkpoints” – they ask that you not use it unless you’re transit, freight, emergency response, or working on Harbor Island.

You can use the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) instead – that’s also how to get to I-5.

Or, you can cross the Duwamish River on the South Park Bridge (map).

Metro routes are affected, too – check yours here (and remember the new Reduced Schedule also applies). Taking the Water Taxi? Here’s the schedule (the WT, like Metro, is currently free). Let us know what you’re seeing on your alternate commute – comment, or text (not while at the wheel!) 206-293-6302.

42 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Thursday watch, day 3 of West Seattle Bridge closure"

  • Anne March 26, 2020 (5:48 am)

    Why post police if they’re not going to do anything? If just to observe-isn’t there a camera for that,? Why waste resource just sitting there?  Maybe they’ll be a deterrent-but how? — an unauthorized car sees police & makes a u-turn in traffic?

    • Wsj March 26, 2020 (11:46 am)

      Having police there is not about enforcement or trying to catch people, it’s in the event of something blocking the bridge or so much traffic occurring that it prevents emergency access. This is also a big reason for the restriction in the first place. With only two lanes, having a blocked road means that an ambulance getting to/from Alki/Admiral could be stopped. So far traffic has been very light, but it only takes one badly timed stall, accident, or busy time to block the road, which could prevent someone from getting aid. 

  • NW March 26, 2020 (6:37 am)

    Since the high bridge has closed I’ve gone back to riding my bicycle was driving again recently due to the virus outbreak and not taking the route 50 to Sodo. It is important to point out related to transit carrying passengers that on the east end at the foot of the low bridge are railroad tracks buses must stop completely before crossing them don’t tailgate the bus. DONT TAILGATE BUSES AT THE FOOT OF THE BRIDGE POTENTIAL ACCIDENT BECAUSE OF RAILROAD TRACKS THAT BUSES MUST STOP AT BEFORE CROSSING. 

  • TWST March 26, 2020 (7:43 am)

    Interested to hear from those out there commuting using alternate routes out of WS, both from drivers and those trying new modes of transportation (bus/bike/water taxi). Please share how it’s going?

    • Derek March 26, 2020 (9:50 am)

      Going terribly. Even during COVID-19, my commute from Admiral to Capitol Hill is around 45 minutes. Just unacceptable. What will it be when things go back to normal?

      • Rick March 26, 2020 (10:49 am)

        What was “normal” around here?

        • Question Authority March 26, 2020 (12:14 pm)

          The good old “normal” was before Amazon and all the population increase it has brought.  Of course nobody wants to talk about the growth over the last 10-15 years in West Seattle that inevitably added to the bridge wear and tear on top of it either.  Sorry, but the truth hurts and I speak as a born and raised local.

        • Nino March 26, 2020 (12:14 pm)

          Are you going through Beacon Hill?  5 N to Olive Way exit can be really slow but I’ve found going through Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill can save you 15 minutes easily.

    • JWinWS March 26, 2020 (1:21 pm)

      Pre-Covid, I was a C-line rider and it took me about an hour from Morgan Junction to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Started driving last week. Via WS bridge and I-5, it was 20 minutes door to door. Today, I went down Highland park hill to 1st Avenue S bridge, Michigan to I-5 and it was 30 minutes door to door. All comparisons are leaving Morgan Junction at 7:15 a.m. BTW, there was no back-up turning left from Holden to Highland Park

    • Meg March 26, 2020 (5:28 pm)

      My work is requiring me to drive right now to avoid any exposure on transit. It’s been taking 45 min from from Alaska Junction to SLU. Before bridge closing and with the COVID effect, the trip was taking 15 min.  With full traffic and taking transit, it’s typically 1 hr. I can’t imagine what it will be once we all go back to work. #heavenhelpus 

      • TWST March 26, 2020 (8:56 pm)

        Thanks all for sharing :)

        I agree with Nino about Beacon Hill… it can be a great alternative to I-5 when there is a back up. 

        From Beacon Hill you can connect to 12th Ave, Rainier, or even MLK and then up to Capitol Hill from there. 

        For those heading to the Eastside, you can cross Beacon Hill and get on I-90 from Rainier.

        Good luck everyone!

      • TWST March 27, 2020 (5:14 am)

        Thanks for sharing all.

        I agree with Nino about Beacon Hill… it can be a good alternate route to Capitol Hill and save time when there is heavy traffic on I-5. From Beacon Hill, you can connect to 12th Ave, Rainier, or even MLK and then up to Capitol Hill from there.

        For those commuting to the Eastside, you can also cross over Beacon and get to I-90 from Rainier.

  • Lola March 26, 2020 (8:35 am)

    I have gotten my route down, just wish the early morning risers who like to walk and jog would keep to the sidewalks and not walk down the middle of the street.  It is hard enough that we now have to find our new routes to be able to get to work, but to now have to try and not hit the people walking.  Please try to be mindful that if you do not have to be in the middle of the street stick to the sidewalks as intended. Thank you

    • newnative March 26, 2020 (9:04 am)

      I have walked into the street to avoid packs of people congregating on the sidewalks. We’re supposed to maintain 6 feet away from people, so there are some that think it’s okay to block an entire sidewalk and then watch to see what you will do. 

    • MiisK March 26, 2020 (9:08 am)


    • sw March 26, 2020 (9:24 am)

      I have noticed a LOT of people who are insisting to walk in the street – even if no one is near them. Some sort of misguided social distancing attempt perhaps?  Please stick to the sidewalks, folks.

      • K March 26, 2020 (10:06 am)

        Oh trust me, it’s been an issue even before “social distancing”. People running in the middle of the street even when it’s dark out. Very dangerous

      • Azimuth March 26, 2020 (12:31 pm)

        The street running is about weighing the risk of getting hit by a car vs the higher likelihood of tripping on a sidewalk crack. 

    • Jenn March 26, 2020 (9:35 am)

      Where do you work?  It’s going to be very difficult for people who work up north or in the east side.

  • MkyMoose March 26, 2020 (8:39 am)

    Perhaps this is an opportunity to combine ST3 funding with city money and build a bridge that can accommodate light rail and vehicle traffic, if nothing else as a backup to this mess and the impending closure of the low bridge for structural repairs? I’m sure logic will not prevail…

    • Anne March 26, 2020 (9:17 am)

      I thought we were building light  rail on bridge -or are you thinking tear down bridge & start over?  Obviously plans to go forward with current  light rail project have come to a screeching halt until bridge can be repaired-if it can be repaired to be strong enough to support light rail?????If cracks first appeared in 2013 & have been monitored-but have gotten worse -knowing that —how could  WS Light Rail plan have been moving forward????? 

      • WSB March 26, 2020 (9:47 am)

        The light-rail plan has always been to build a separate NEW bridge for trains to/from West Seattle, NOT ever to run it on any existing WS bridge. So this does NOT affect that, so far. (What DOES potentially affect WS light rail is I-976, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

    • sna March 26, 2020 (9:52 am)

      I’ve heard this idea floated a few times.  It’s a very dubious assumption that rebuilding with a combined vehicle + light rail bridge would be less expensive than a repair/rebuild of the existing bridge plus a new light rail bridge.  Putting in a combined rail plus car bridge would likely require massive changes to several on/off ramps which gets really pricey.  Probably more pricey than rebuilding the center span of the existing bridge. 

  • DC March 26, 2020 (8:54 am)

    And maybe we can get a bus route to the water taxi, rather than the little cupcake bus. 

    • Trickycoolj March 26, 2020 (12:55 pm)

      Yes, High Point to Water Taxi would be nice.  Seems silly to have to use a car to park at the marina to use the water taxi.

  • Christina March 26, 2020 (9:24 am)

    The First Avenue South bridge has been undergoing intermittent closures for maintenance/repairs. Additionally: Regular maintenance on the 1st Avenue South Bridge occurs the first Thursday of every month and may include openings of the drawspans. The maintenance work begins at 3:30 a.m. and ends by 6 a.m. Drivers may experience slight delays.That’s next Thursday.  Any word on whether these closures will be differed until the high rise bridge is back in service or will we be further detoured over night for that work?

  • Aaron March 26, 2020 (10:09 am)

    I work swing shift, and need to drive to work. With the current Corona traffic, the bridge closure has added about 10-15 minutes to my commute. The biggest time delay is the Highland Park way intersection, mostly with people who have apparently just learned to drive and are unable to navigate the messy turn. While waiting my turn to go left, every day I see 2 or 3 drivers nail the curb line in the downhill lane. I hope someday that intersection gets a roundabout.On my way home after midnight, I only saw 4 or 5 cars the entire way, so no real traffic problems at all. When or if our society ever gets back to where we were before, it will be terrible. 

    • Trickycoolj March 26, 2020 (12:58 pm)

      I have commuted that intersection for 8 years. The morning rush folks know what they’re doing. Some of us sit for a little longer to make that left for sure for sure safely because it’s so hard to tell what lane uphill traffic is in.  You can always spot the newbies on the weekend who turn fully around the curb separator into the far lane nearly hitting someone.  Used to be some plastic pylons but they were sheered off in a matter of days.

  • WTF March 26, 2020 (10:53 am)

    This was all too convenient a situation.Does the City really think we are that dumb? 

  • tk March 26, 2020 (11:15 am)

    WSB- I also remember looking at a plan at an in person SDOT-type community meeting to add train service to the middle of the WS high rise bridge, and thinking that it was not made clear if we would lose 1-2 lanes of traffic to squeeze it in. Maybe it was for the Monorail? There were multiple plans floated, with changes & cutbacks with each plan on how many stations, etc.

    • WSB March 26, 2020 (12:08 pm)

      From Wikipedia, with supporting citations: “A monorail extension to West Seattle in the early 2000s was planned to use the West Seattle Bridge, with elevated columns over the center barrier. The plan was later scaled down to a single-track guideway over the bridge and abandoned entirely in 2005 over cost concern.”

  • sw March 26, 2020 (11:18 am)

    Does the Army Corps of Engineers have any sort of temporary bascule bridge that could be deployed somewhere over the Duwamish?  Are there places we could add stationary bridges over the Duwamish on a temporary basis?  That’s the key – getting over the river, which could happen anywhere between Elliot Bay and Tukwila where there are roads that could connect.  Adding temporary bridge crossings would at least help a bit with the flow, as fixing the high bridge is going to be months in the works.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident March 26, 2020 (12:20 pm)

    Hmmm….The West Seattle Bridge is closed. The Spokane St. Bridge (the Lower bridge) is open only for transit and emergency vehicles.
    ALL others must use the First Ave S. Bridge or the new South Park Bridge.
    And GUESS what happens tomorrow???
    The King County Court Judge issues the FINAL ruling on $30.00 Auto Registration Fees. 
    Cracks that have been there for YEARS, have gotten WORSE in the week of the FINAL ruling.
    As the saying goes…There is something smelly in Denmark, and it ain’t the cheese!!! 

    • Ice March 26, 2020 (1:07 pm)

      You know it’s pretty normal for bridges to have some amount of cracking right?

    • wscommuter March 26, 2020 (1:54 pm)

      You might want to run down to  QFC before they run out of Reynolds Wrap.  Tin foil hats wear out.  

      • Ex-Westwood Resident March 26, 2020 (2:46 pm)

        Is it that hard to believe they made the announcement THIS week, instead of waiting until the following Monday so it might not influence the ruling?
        Hoping that the Judge will see just how much the DOTs NEED the money for “repairs” and rule AGAINST the voters.
        Knowing that SDOT/WADOT and EVERY one in Seattle City Gov’t is vehemently opposed to the $30.00 Registration fee? 
        I think someone has their head buried in the sand

        • Jethro Marx March 26, 2020 (3:34 pm)

          Engineers assess the bridge in terms of condition, load, and environment. Judges rule based on standing, law, and precedence. Your scenarios are based on the internet and crappy novels. $30 tabs are based on what a fraudulent watch salesman and petty thief thought would look good on a t-shirt. Fun plot, though!

          • tsurly March 26, 2020 (5:47 pm)

            I’ve really enjoyed your commentary on here today.

        • wscommuter March 26, 2020 (4:44 pm)

          Yes, really.  You are a paranoid fool.  Sorry to be harsh, but just right now with so much actual stuff for us to deal with, your stupid ranting (love the all-caps … so informative) is not worth respectful dialogue.  

  • 120rider March 26, 2020 (3:01 pm)

    am still seeing people on the 120 who refuse to social distance.   I’m begging you, stay away from me and everyone else.  i work at a hospital and ride metro every day.  I could be a carrier and not even know it.  please stay away.  do not sit next to anyone.  hospital workers are trying so hard to not get infected. you are not helping you or us by not staying away. if there are no single seats, stand.  it wont kill you to stand, but it may kill you to sit or stand next to someone. 

  • Mj March 26, 2020 (5:49 pm)

    NW interesting comment on busses stopping at RR tracks.  I have never seen a train on these tracks, I have used the corridor off and on for 30+ years and if busses are stopping I believe that a waiver can be attained to negate the need to stop at this location.

  • Things to do asap March 28, 2020 (10:21 pm)

    Immediately suspend all new residential construction and permits in West Seattle until a bridge with 50 years of remaining life is operational.Reduce WSeattle tax assessments immediately to the reduced property values, rather than continue with 3-year rolling avg.Increase bus service-all routes every 10 minutes from 6a- 9p.

Sorry, comment time is over.