TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Wednesday watch, day 2 of West Seattle Bridge closure

5:26 AM: As announced Monday – the high-rise West Seattle Bridge is closed.

Here’s the camera view::

SDOT says the low bridge’s restrictions – buses, emergency responders, freight, Harbor Island workers – will start today.

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 via the South Park Bridge (map).

Metro routes are affected, too – check yours here (and note the new Reduced Schedule also applies). Taking the Water Taxi? Here’s the schedule (and it, like Metro, is currently free). Let us know if there’s different info that would help you navigate – text or voice 206-293-6302.

101 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Wednesday watch, day 2 of West Seattle Bridge closure"

  • DEvODA March 25, 2020 (5:46 am)

    So far 20 busses running on Roxbury before 6am. We’re never going to get any sleep.

    • Alex March 25, 2020 (12:33 pm)

      Years ago I rented a 2nd floor apartment on a busy street on Capitol Hill.  I didn’t think to consider before I moved in that there was a metro bus stop right out my window at the street level, for a couple of routes that ran frequently, and at both very early hours and very late at night.  The first couple of nights I was saying to myself… how am I going to do this??  And had some bleary-eyed days.  I loved my apartment and location and the rent amount was nice.  After a couple or three weeks, I was pretty much used to it and got back to regular sleep cycles.  And I’m a very light sleeper and not one to fall asleep very quickly or easily.  I wake up if there’s the littlest sound, and the room has to be totally dark.  In time your ears and brain should be able to ignore that somewhat – mine did.  Also, if so inclined you might want to consider some of those soft squishy ear plugs.  Good luck!

  • West Seattle Coug March 25, 2020 (6:17 am)

    I don’t know when today they’re going to start enforcing the restrictions on the lower bridge, but ther SDOT camera sure shows a heavy flow of cars going across it right now. Good consistent message…

    • Derek March 25, 2020 (7:39 am)

      It’ll trickle down. Least of the problems right now. Need to know when the old bridge is getting repaired. Does SDOT even have a budget for this? Do they need to demo the bridge and rebuild completely? We need something!

    • Matt March 25, 2020 (7:50 am)

      Waiting for traffic enforcement? You’ll be here awhile. In normal times they can’t even enforce bus lanes, I’d imagine right now they are trying to avoid contact with anyone. 

    • Jort March 25, 2020 (9:11 am)

      After one week the mandatory permanent car impoundments will begin. Read the signs, follow the law, or lose your car, goodbye. 

      • WSB March 25, 2020 (10:11 am)

        Unfortunately this isn’t a good time for satire. People sadly are believing almost anything. So please tread lightly. Thank you.

      • Jethro Marx March 25, 2020 (10:43 am)

        Jort I really feel like you should look into jobs where you get to operate a car crusher.  Most of West Seattle could vouch for your dedication to the task.

  • Richard Maloney March 25, 2020 (6:54 am)

    Who else believes the City knew about this problem for years, and just now decided to do the closure because of light traffic?

    • Bob Lang March 25, 2020 (8:25 am)

      I think whoever was responsible for maintenance of the bridge just cost Seattle millions.  1984 is way to new for these problems.  I’m sure they’ll get a raise the way this city works

    • Gar March 25, 2020 (8:28 am)


    • tsurly March 25, 2020 (8:51 am)

      Baloney, loosen that tin foil hat.

    • Duwamesque March 25, 2020 (9:34 am)

      • Aaron March 25, 2020 (10:05 am)


    • flimflam March 25, 2020 (9:38 am)

      not sure i agree with “years”, but it sure seems like a mighty big coincidence.

    • KM March 25, 2020 (10:08 am)

      Probably, but they sure picked a good time to take care of it. Honestly, people would be complaining more if this happened during regular commutes, or before the tunnel was open, or the Columbia busway was complete, etc. If so, I think it’s fair to except more honest communication from SDOT.

  • DEVODA March 25, 2020 (7:13 am)

    I took photos of the busses. 2/3rds are returning to base which means they are circling the block since they don’t know where to park them over at Westwood. Reduced service means more busses on the road. There is one every 2-3 minutes.

  • Bex March 25, 2020 (7:37 am)

    This morning circa 7am there was a cop car stationed at the low bridge on-ramp, lights on, doing exactly nothing as numerous cars drove by. 😅

  • Derek March 25, 2020 (7:38 am)

    What is the schedule for fixing the WSB? This is already a traffic nightmare and I cannot imagine how it’s supposed to get better when we’re all squeezing in on 1st Ave S. bridge…

    • Greg March 25, 2020 (9:39 am)

      I agree wholeheartedly.  We need some transparency with WSB immediately.  Most of us rely heavily on WSB daily.  Without WSB, I would rather live in Burien!

    • West Seattle Coug March 25, 2020 (10:13 am)

      Ok folks, quit referring to it as WSB – that’s reserved for the Blog, which is totally transparent and the best thing we have going!!

      Let’s just call it “the Bridge” since we all know what we’re talking about.  The lower bridge is just that – the lower bridge. 

      • miws March 25, 2020 (11:03 am)

        W.S. Coug, +1 —Mike

      • Drew March 25, 2020 (11:16 am)

        Actually,  the official name of the West Sea high rise bridge is the Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge. I vote we start referring to the bridge simply as “Jeanette” :)

        • miws March 25, 2020 (11:47 am)

          Drew, +1 too. —Mike

  • What Restrictions March 25, 2020 (7:49 am)

    At 6:45am this morning, while waiting for the light to go to West Marginal Way, I observed at least 25 passenger cars headed towards the lower bridge from all directions.  If the lower bridge restrictions are in place they are being widely ignored by citizens and I didn’t see any signs of enforcement.

  • smittytheclown March 25, 2020 (7:57 am)

    Probably get grilled for this, but wondering why they can’t open the lower bridge to all traffic and use the upper for emergency response (fire, police, ambulance) only?  I can’t imagine one fire truck – let alone police car – would damage the bridge further.  (not an engineer!)

    • Jethro Marx March 25, 2020 (11:25 am)

      This is a pretty tired trope. Gun-free zones are not put in place to combat crime in the way you’re pretending. In the case of bars, average dudes legally carrying guns are more likely to do dumb stuff after a few drinks and some arguing. As for schools and playgrounds, accidental discharges happen, and when Dad leaves his fanny pack holster on a bench to play basketball his gun won’t kill someone, he will. I know you’ll say responsible gun owners blah blah blah but the last time they went to Olympia to show how responsibly they could open carry some jackass accidentally let off a round from his .308 and then said, “It is what it is…” Y’all don’t give us a lot of credibility. Oh and this has absolutely nothing to do with the bridge.

    • Jethro Marx March 25, 2020 (11:35 am)

      Whoops that was supposed to reply to Wolfgang.

  • NH March 25, 2020 (8:03 am)

    So far the 57 that is supposed to get to Admiral at 7:39 was cancelled, and the 56 that is supposed to arrive at 7:50 just didn’t show up. 62550 said it did, but it did not.

  • Cycleman March 25, 2020 (8:14 am)

    Thanks for the heads up about no signs of enforcement!! I have to go to Bellevue today and didn’t want to take the long way around. 

    • Yaiko Iizuka March 25, 2020 (1:57 pm)

      Bulls–t!!! West Seattle lower Bridge. This is insane. I am still working because I am essential worker and I have to take the long way to get to Beacon Hill from California Ave., instead take the lower bridge, there is not ambulances and buses riding all the time. I have seen cars taking that way. We all essential workers should have permission to take that road. We have proof and letter to confirm it. Right now is taking me 30 to 40 minutes instead 10 to get my work or home. Please take this into consideration. This is a Emergency!!!!

  • Derek March 25, 2020 (8:17 am)

    Who cares about enforcement? Can we get a schedule on the bridge completion?

    • WAC March 25, 2020 (6:52 pm)

      I keep seeing your angry comments about transparency, schedule, why they shut it down so fast, and ignorant speculation about having to demo the span. What would telling you a schedule change? It will be weeks until the problem and potential fixes are fully designed, and likely months before its completed. If DOT told you 6 months, 6 weeks, or 6 years, why would it matter? It’s going to be a long time. Calm down and stop armchair engineering. 

      • WAV March 25, 2020 (8:45 pm)

        WAC- It actually helps psychologically to have an estimated date for completion.  While Homo Sapiens are amazingly flexible, knowing there is an end date (i.e. a light at the end of the tunnel) to difficult times helps us to cope.

  • Wolfgang March 25, 2020 (8:32 am)

    Everyone seems to be astonished that non-emergency personnel would be disregarding the new rules put in place and driving across the lower bridge even in front of law enforcement officers. This is exactly how criminals feel about your Gun Free Zone signs.

  • tk March 25, 2020 (8:39 am)

    West Seattle has its own “BRIDGE-GATE”—Only 4 hours notice to indefinitely shut down the busiest trafficked road in Seattle (100,000 vehicles daily). Compare that to the regular inspections & reports that we received for years before the 99Viaduct was finally closed down.SDOT has some explaining to do, and must be held accountable for this fiasco!

  • TJ March 25, 2020 (8:43 am)

    The lower bridge might as well be open to all vehicles if it is not going to be enforced. After all, we have people saying they should be entitled to use it because of their job. People are foolish if they are expecting people to honor this without enforcement. And in regards to the high bridge, it could be months before it’s reopened. It will not need to be “torn down”. But they need to fast track the work 24/7 to get it done, and people need to lose their jobs over this debacle. You want to see the difference between private business and government, look to this as I predict not one person will lose their job. The Seattle way 

  • junctioneer March 25, 2020 (8:47 am)

    I realize this probably isn’t on anyone’s minds, but I’m guessing/hoping for things like trips to the ER or maternity one can still take the lower bridge without repercussions, even though wouldn’t be traveling in an emergency vehicle. Also curious if delivery vehicles are included in “freight”–e.g. amazon contract delivery. Makes sense, but also probably means enforcement is up to individual conscience.

  • Anne March 25, 2020 (8:47 am)

    Situation sure seems  mixed up right now  At first we heard only transit, freight, emergency vehicles were going to be allowed over low bridge-those would be easily recognized -that  changed( rightly so) to allow personal vehicles of those that work on Harbor Island-so how to determine legit harbor island employees car from someone just ignoring rule?  Can’t see police stopping every personal car-so at some point would think something  must be put in place to identify those cars. Seeing as how this just came about-I’m willing to give SDOT some grace here-but they really need to figure this out. Another thought-regarding Highland Park Way-some kind of traffic control is going to be needed there-& for as long as situation with bridge lasts.  If only something had been done before-folks have been pleading for changes there for years-now look at this mess. 

    • person March 25, 2020 (1:37 pm)

      Well if they’re supposed to go to work on Harbor Island then anyone who keeps on going past might get stopped if a cop is waiting there on the other side, they might not always be there but anyone trying it will be taking a chance.

  • Pigeon Point RN March 25, 2020 (8:50 am)

    WSB–can you help clarify what Metro is official doing on the busses?  Several of my busses the past few days have had the front area (where the sideways/disabled seats are) cordoned off, so that all passengers are in the back half of the bus.  The busses are full enough that some have had every seat full and people standing (while the front is physically cordoned off).  I understand the entering/exiting from the rear door, but there is nothing online about not being able to spread out and be socially distant while on the bus.  I spoke with a Metro supervisor yesterday who said they had trialed this but stopped because there are too many riders to safely keep everyone in the back of the bus, but it is still happening today and a call to Metro was unable to resolve what their actual policy is now.

  • Tsurly March 25, 2020 (9:49 am)

    Normal bike commute today.

    • West Seattle Lurker March 25, 2020 (10:11 am)

      Was it though? Lot less crowded than usual for me. Did you start biking recently? 

      • tsurly March 25, 2020 (11:12 am)

        To be more specific “normal for the new normal.” So yes, far less people than there were a month or so ago, but normal in the sense of it being fast without interruption, as it was before people started staying home. 

  • Josh March 25, 2020 (9:55 am)

    So is Roxbury going to be the new de facto route downtown?

    • LG March 25, 2020 (9:20 pm)

      Holden and Highland Park will get a bulk of the drivers as well as W Marginal Way. Those who live further south will either do the first one or Roxbury to either 599 or South Park. 

  • James March 25, 2020 (10:16 am)

    SDOT clearly knew there was a problem, but were they already planning a solution?   They need to be more transparent in this process.  Will the bridge be completely offline for months or years?  Will the bridge be available for limited amounts of traffic during certain times of day (e.g. two of the four lanes of traffic, etc.)?  Could it still be online for vehicles under a certain weight?  I feel for the people who just listed their West Seattle home or the people who just recently closed on a new West Seattle home.  I, for one, have already been impacted by this as a prospective lessee to my apartment backed out of a lease as a result of SDOT’s lack of transparency and bridge uncertainty.  West Seattle is a heavily populated area and significant tax base to the city – we deserve better.

    • LiouxLioux March 25, 2020 (12:18 pm)

      Right? Did they scout the streets that were going to be used as alternative routes and make sure they were in tip-top shape for the new, extra traffic? Make sure all the signage was up and accurate? Re-time signaling for the extra/changed volume? I’m going to guess NO on all of the above. 

  • WS Steve March 25, 2020 (10:20 am)

    If a car travels across the low bridge and continues across Harbor Island without stopping police should be able to stop them, once they start enforcement. It won’t be that hard to distinguish people who work there from those who go all the way across in either direction.

  • Don’t forget to breathe March 25, 2020 (10:37 am)

    It’s the first day, of course there will be rule breakers at the start. Police are likely gauging how big of an issue this will be and will take more action soon. They are probably in the process of figuring out how to best enforce the usage rules.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they install cameras and figure out a way to issue tickets that way at some point.

    Is there any other way for people to get to Harbor Island, or do they have to use the low bridge? Maybe that’s some of the traffic people people are seeing…?

  • Mj March 25, 2020 (10:40 am)

    At least some people have way overstocked on TP, and now the poop has hit the fan.

    Seriously the closure of the WSB is huge issue and for the next few weeks should manageable, long term it is not.  Hopefully they can ascertain a fix and do the work at night, weekends.  Regarding alternative routes the fact is there are no good options! All routes will be congested and slow once people get the green light to go back to work.

    Metro should add midday bus service to Admiral area, the Water Taxi frequency would need to be enhanced.  And with nicer weather fair weather bike riders can ride to work.

    Regarding the use of the low level bridge it seams that Doctors and RN’s should be provided a placard/pass to use this corridor since they are critical personnel.

    • Jenn March 25, 2020 (11:35 am)

      Unfortunately,  alot of us work on the East side where the water taxi and bike riding is not possible.   In my case I work in Bellevue and have a class I take after work 3 days a week and taking a bus would not get me there in time so what then?  I’m sure there are many many others in the same boat as me.  

      • Get creative March 25, 2020 (1:26 pm)

        Could you take the water taxi downtown, walk a few blocks to a bus that goes to a Bellevue park-and-ride, have your car at the P&R lot so you can drive to work and your class from there? Then you could reverse the trip on the way home?

        Lots of people have creative commutes, involving multi forms of transportation, even without the inconvenience of the bridge being closed.

        Get creative, I bet there is a way you’ll make it work, stressful though it seems at first. Good luck :)

        • Jenn March 25, 2020 (1:53 pm)

          I would not be comfortable leaving my car at a park and ride.  I don’t believe you are allowed to leave it there overnight either not to mention it would probably take 2 hours to get to work doing it that way.  :(  I can’t believe the city did not give us warning like they did the viaduct.  Not fair.  I wouldn’t have signed another lease at my apartment in West Seattle had I known.   

          • Winniegirl March 25, 2020 (2:43 pm)

            I’m in the same situation. I work in Redmond and my start time is 5am. There’s no way that I’m leaving my house at 3am to get to work. Not that I would be able to find transit to get me there at that time anyway. 

          • Get creative March 25, 2020 (3:45 pm)

            I would think commuting that early shouldn’t be a problem driving one of the alternate routes out of West Seattle, hoping for you.

            There are other ways to drive out of West Seattle… I understand the emergency bridge closure is an inconvenience during a stressful time, but this isn’t an impossible situation.

        • Matt P March 25, 2020 (2:06 pm)

          I’m a bus commuter, but that trip you just described is nightmarish.  You have to hope the water taxi isn’t full or actually running on time to make your connection and then hope that connect works.  Plus you have to get to the water taxi in the first place.  Total trip time will be over an hour each way.

          • Get creative March 25, 2020 (2:52 pm)

            Not suggesting it’s an ideal or first choice, just offering a different perspective. Where there is a will there is a way, and when we’re feeling inconvenienced things can seem harder than they actually are.

            I have taken various combinations of biking, bus, light rail, water taxi, and/or a regular ferry to get somewhere. I guess I’m used to a longer commute. I know this doesn’t work for everyone’s circumstances, but some creative alternative might work for you.

            Maybe WSF will create a ferry route from Fauntleroy to downtown, and that could help. It’s early in the situation, I’m hopeful there will be some helpful workarounds coming.

            This closure isn’t easy, especially during an already trying time, but I hope people can find solutions and rise to the challenges. I’m sure community leaders are working hard to come up with solutions, and welcome our suggestions too.

            Bottom line, let’s rally together and look for solutions, and try not to panic!

            ‘The best way not to panic, is not to panic’

  • AB83 March 25, 2020 (10:45 am)

     harbor island workers get to use the lower bridge 👍🏻

  • Charity March 25, 2020 (10:47 am)

    I guess I’m just wondering why it matters? Everyone should BE STAYING HOME!!!!!!! SMH

    • AB83 March 25, 2020 (10:53 am)

      It matters because some of us Are still required to go to work

    • thatonecommenter March 25, 2020 (11:23 am)

      1. Everyone can’t stay home, especially if they are working in essential industries that can’t be performed from home (that’s a lot more people than you’d think). 2. This is a problem that’s going to extend beyond Coronavirus WFH recommendations by several months. 

    • JW March 25, 2020 (3:48 pm)

      Charity – Some of us have to go to work to take care of people who are sick… You’re welcome.

    • Jensen March 25, 2020 (7:50 pm)

      I’m driving to work to take care of unit that is strictly COVID patients. Most of us are out there because we have to be. We aren’t having fun with this, Charity. 

  • tk March 25, 2020 (10:53 am)

    West Seattle has its own “BRIDGE-GATE”—Only 4 hours notice to
    indefinitely shut down the busiest trafficked road in Seattle (100,000
    vehicles daily). Compare that to the regular inspections & reports that we received for years before the 99Viaduct was finally closed down.SDOT has some explaining to do,  and must be held accountable for this fiasco!

  • Mj March 25, 2020 (11:01 am)

    Charity – really so you want Doctors, RN’s and other critical people to stay at home?  

  • Cranky Westie March 25, 2020 (11:47 am)

    Let me try this conspiracy on for size: Bridge has been deteriorating for many years due to lack of maintenance or design flaw or both. The cost to fix a systemic, interior, 160 feet in the air, structural failure is catastrophic. How to get a new bridge? Declare a shut down during the lightest traffic load the bridge is likely to see in many years,  and ponder what to do. Meanwhile Sound Transit is tearing their hair out trying to find a way across the Duwamish. A light rail bridge North of the WS bridge threatens the financial security of the port with massive shut downs and rerouting. Transit bridge South of the WS bridge, Pigeon Hill is geologically unstable and will require many homes to be destroyed. If only there were another way…where we could have everything…Abracadabra! Presto! What if we replace the old bridge with a combine rail/car bridge, with Sound Transit eating much of the cost? Possibly the bridge goes back online while plans are made, but the desperate for bridge  public sees the dramatic need now, much as we saw how the viaduct was in imminent need of replacement (for like, 50 years) and still drove on it. All we need is for the ghost of Rolf Neslund to appear and confirm it. 

    • Dmann March 25, 2020 (4:42 pm)

      And it’s taken how long for them just to put the train track across the Lake Washington on a replacement bridge for the one that sunk.Ten years the replacement combo bridge still gets Sound Transit to the Junction as they have already planning 😎

  • Jack March 25, 2020 (12:01 pm)

    Can we get an update on the bridge schedule please?????

    • WSB March 25, 2020 (12:41 pm)

      I have asked SDOT repeatedly. We’re also going out multiple times a day just to LOOK at the bridge vicinity.

  • Aerial Observer March 25, 2020 (12:25 pm)

    At least this came at a good time. My employer has “essential” status, and our CEO told us to plan for this Covid-19 pandemic to last until September. Everyone at our firm who can work from home will do so until this passes. I was a regular commuter on the West Seattle Bridge, and now I’m one less person on your alternate route. Stay home if you can, and stay safe if you can’t. We’ll all go back outside someday.(For everyone yelling at SDOT: we can sort that out later. It’ll take *much* longer to rebuild the bridge if we fire everyone at SDOT first.)

    • Derek March 25, 2020 (1:25 pm)

      Supposed to end by Easter…

      • Jethro Marx March 25, 2020 (3:13 pm)

        That’s what the Pharisees said about this whole “Jesus situation.”

      • Sehome March 27, 2020 (8:54 pm)

        Easter.. of what year?

  • Ty March 25, 2020 (12:29 pm)

    I usually use the bus, but Metro axed the #125 due to low ridership!  Yes, the college is closed, but many of us still LIVE here.  Metro says use the #120, which is at least a 10-block walk downhill, but coming back, it’s all uphill! The #128 was also changed and turns at Austin to Delridge!  We’re just STUCK on Pigeon Hill!  I have an important medical appointment tomorrow that I have to go to…wish me luck!

  • LyndaB March 25, 2020 (12:30 pm)

    When I drove the detour to I-5, going north bound there was no signage before the exit that said the bridge was closed.  Seems more delays in communication.   Hope it gets up to speed.

  • sam-c March 25, 2020 (12:31 pm)

    It matters because the Covid19 response/ precautions will end WAY before the West Seattle bridge is repaired/ addressed.  Everyone will be able to go back to ‘normal’ except all of West Seattle.

  • ProbablyYourNeighbor March 25, 2020 (12:38 pm)

    Not associated with SDOT or WSDOT at all and I’m operating on the same publicly available information as everyone else here, but as someone with substantial experience in civil engineering that has worked on projects involving concrete repair, I thought chiming in might be helpful.

    For those asking when the bridge will reopen or why SDOT hasn’t announced anything, all information indicates that this was not an expected issue (only so much can be planned for), and so they’ll be out comprehensively assessing damage and trying to determine the cause right now. Without that information, it’s impossible to say when it’ll be safe to reopen the bridge and providing an estimate, either too optimistic or too conservative, would be grossly irresponsible. 

    The basic steps here are,
    -Assess damage and determine cause
    -Design repairs and, if needed, mitigation strategy
    -Procure needed materials and contractors
    -Build/fix the thing

    Each of those steps, on projects that aren’t critical infrastructure, usually take months. We are also extremely lucky to have SDOT out there doing regular inspections- the alternative is having infrastructure fail beyond repair or catastrophically, which is vastly more expensive and often has human cost.

    Lastly, for the people asking about opening the high bridge to limited traffic, one of the useful pieces of information in the initial announcement that might not be apparent- the majority of the load on the bridge is the roadway/structure itself. While they work to figure out what’s causing the unexpected cracking, that means keeping the load to an absolute minimum so it doesn’t accelerate.

    • Commuter513 March 25, 2020 (1:25 pm)

      The issue is they admitted that they’ve known about these cracks for some time but they did nothing to mitigate a full closure. They easily could have shut the bridge down at night and done repairs or done something to reduce the damage like limiting the weight of vehicles or closing it during certain times so the bridge could have lasted longer. The photos of the cracks show its pretty extensive damage. That doesn’t just happen overnight without a major disaster like an earthquake. This is definitely a case of people not paying attention. And now they’re sending people over a bridge that has already been listed as needing repairs. Its like robbing Peter to pay Paul. If they’re not careful, they’ll do serious damage to the 1st Ave bridge too. Then we’ll all be screwed. 

      • CAM March 25, 2020 (1:42 pm)

        They literally said they’ve been attempting to repair it but it kept getting worse. 

      • wscommuter March 25, 2020 (3:34 pm)

        @Commuter513 … unless you’re a civil engineer with an expertise in bridge design and construction, your sweeping claims are just ignorant ranting.  When you say the City could have “easily  could have shut the bridge down at night and done repairs or done something to reduce the damage like limiting the weight of vehicles or closing it during certain times so the bridge could have lasted longeryou reveal that you have no idea what you’re talking about.  Deal in facts please.  News accounts have stated that vehicle weight does not affect the condition of the bridge.  Likewise, the fairy dust you’re spinning about preventing cars at certain times to make the bridge “last longer” … you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.  This is a serious engineering problem that requires serious engineering judgment.  We’re all frustrated and want the bridge fixed.  But adding to the discourse with ignorance is no contribution at all.  

      • ProbablyYourNeighbor March 25, 2020 (3:36 pm)

        I suppose this is where having experience with the material in question results in us reading the same thing and coming away with different meanings. Cracking in concrete is not unusual or by any means always a sign of an underlying structural problem (please go look at your garage floor or the foundation of the building you live in, do those cracks mean it’s structurally unsound?).

        “The cracking is in the concrete, he says. They’ve been noticing cracking for several years…” Nowhere in the original statement that I can find does it say that they’ve been trying to repair it, just that they’ve been carefully monitoring for years (a good thing) and the deterioration recently reached the criteria for needing to do something. I understand your concern that something should’ve been done sooner, but we can’t fix things that aren’t broken. Heck, talking about the 1st Ave bridge, we can barely fix things that are broken.

        • CAM March 25, 2020 (3:57 pm)

          It wasn’t referenced in the WSB, see the following: “The agency had been inspecting, and trying to seal off, cracks that allowed air and water to penetrate  to the internal steel, Donahue said. Left alone, that would lead to corrosion and long-term weakness in the concrete. But despite city attempts to close the cracks, deterioration continued, officials said.” via,

          • WSB March 25, 2020 (4:29 pm)

            Everything is in the video of the event in our original story, which is the same briefing Mike was part of, so we have all that too. Sorry, I can only type so fast, and that’s why we recorded it, so everyone would have access to every single word. Link to our original story is above.

          • CAM March 25, 2020 (4:34 pm)

            WSB- Sorry if that sounded like a criticism, it wasn’t intended to be. I’ve just read so many comments saying the city had done nothing and that’s patently untrue. Maybe what they did was insufficient but it wasn’t nothing. 

          • ProbablyYourNeighbor March 25, 2020 (6:23 pm)

            Cam- thanks for sharing the link, there is…a lot to keep up with these days. It’d be interesting to know the means and methods used, and when the attempted sealing happened. And yeah, makes even less sense of the argument that the city wasn’t paying attention or taking adequate steps. Given that the next step (where we are now) required closing the bridge to traffic, trying to mitigate the issue and slow the deterioration first makes a lot of sense.

  • Derek March 25, 2020 (1:21 pm)

    Does the bridge become SDOT’s new priority or what? I need to sell my home if my commute to a downtown that’s only 2 miles as the crow flies is now an hour to an hour and a half. Rather live in Tacoma at that rate. 

    • tsurly March 25, 2020 (2:20 pm)

      If you are commuting downtown there are many reasonable alternatives to driving, like the bus, water taxi, or bicycle. Change is hard, but it is doable.

      • Derek March 25, 2020 (2:23 pm)

        I am disabled so, no that’s not an option. I am talking to real estate agents already. If the closure is a year or longer, see ya West Seattle! And I rely on my car for my job. 

        • J March 25, 2020 (6:46 pm)

          Is there any way you could adjust your work hours to avoid the bulk of the commute?  Hope you don’t have to move!

          It sounds like this won’t work for you, but just fyi for all, the water taxi’s are designated as ‘accessible.’ From the king county transportation website:

           “The Water Taxi’s docks, passenger waiting areas, and vessels are accessible. If you need assistance boarding the vessel, please inform a crew member, or press the ADA assistance call button.”

    • Trickycoolj March 25, 2020 (2:30 pm)

      Same. Prior to the pandemic we were considering a move but keep putting off the idea when we consider our 5 mile commutes to harbor island and the Duwamish respectively would be an hour plus where we could afford to buy in the suburbs… at this rate if it’s going to take an hour to get to either office, then we might as well live in the suburbs in detached housing without shared walls and a yard and closet space.

  • Chris March 25, 2020 (2:30 pm)

    Three or four years ago they closed the ramp from north I5 and the signage wasn’t out. If you missed the exit you had to go downtown and circle back. Also, during that time they should’ve discovered these cracks

  • RPH High Point March 25, 2020 (2:48 pm)

    I took the 21 from High Point to 1st & Spokane at 12:30, which took maybe 5 minutes longer than usual, and I got to see that there were no usage restrictions  posted anywhere on the low bridge. The bus waited for one light cycle. Returning an hour later, the eastbound traffic was backed up to Nucor, mostly SOV’s.  Also, from the bus stopped on the bridge, I looked up and saw what I assume are the cracks. There were less than 10 people on each bus.

  • Dunno March 25, 2020 (2:58 pm)

    Bike is good idea if you do’t have to go far, but other ways you mentioned are a very good way to spread the virus!  The longer you’re on, the greater the chance.   It’s been found to stay on surfaces for longer that 14 days.

  • Deb March 25, 2020 (4:01 pm)

       to PROBABLYYOURNEIGHBOR –  Thank you so much for your technical and thoughtful comments. I appreciate your observations along with your list of ‘basic steps’. Of course, the WS bridge is ‘critical infrastructure’ to all of West Seattleites. Do you think that it is perceived as such beyond WS?  Thank you again. 

    • ProbablyYourNeighbor March 25, 2020 (6:48 pm)

      You’re welcome, happy to provide a little insight :) Informally, I think it’s pretty well understood. From the article Cam posted, SDOT’s Director said “There would never be a time we would want to close the West Seattle high-pass bridge, because it is a critical corridor that carries more traffic than any other street in the city.” and he is apparently a resident of West Seattle (hi neighbor!).

      The reason that I mentioned critical infrastructure an informal sense is that most cities, Seattle included, have tools to accelerate parts of those basic steps (the parts that can be sped up, anyhow) as needs be. I know the feeling isn’t universal here, but I’m confident that the city is going as fast as is prudent, and is possible right now, with this problem.

  • Z. March 25, 2020 (4:38 pm)

    Bus rider here. Saw tons of cars crossing on lower bridge now on way home taking the 21. What are they doing to enforce restrictions?

    • WSB March 25, 2020 (5:12 pm)

      Nothing as of our last check at midday. I may get my first SDOT interview this evening and that is one topline question.

  • Sparticus March 25, 2020 (6:18 pm)

    I remember driving over the high bridge the day it opened. Seems like yesterday. Yeah, a bridge should last longer than that!

  • WSB March 25, 2020 (6:52 pm)

    Updates. Still more questions but this is a start.

  • Patrick March 25, 2020 (9:58 pm)

    Ride your bike to work

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