TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Monday watch, third week of West Seattle Bridge closure

5:35 AM: The high-rise West Seattle Bridge remains closed for the 14th consecutive morning.

The low bridge is reserved for transit, freight, emergency response, and Harbor Island access – too many continue to ignore that, so SDOT told us in last week’s interview, they’re working on an enforcement plan and better signage.

For general traffic, the main route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – that’s also how to get to I-5, cutting across Georgetown.

Or you can use the South Park Bridge (map).

Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed to see if a bridge is opening for marine traffic.


As first reported here, Metro‘s schedule is reduced further. Use the lookup to see which trips are canceled.

The Water Taxi’s schedule is reduced starting today – 2 morning departures and 2 evening returns – and its shuttles are no longer operating.


Work on the last section of Avalon to be paved, west of 35th SW, is likely to start tonight.


SDOT’s traffic map
Our traffic-cams page

Let us know what you’re seeing if you’re still commuting – comment, or text (not if you’re at the wheel!) 206-293-6302.

33 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Monday watch, third week of West Seattle Bridge closure"

  • Lucy April 6, 2020 (7:17 am)

    Has there been any update regarding how the inspection of it is going? 

    • James April 6, 2020 (10:46 am)

      Last council meeting said they are a “month out” for any updates or schedule. Pencil in a year or two with how fast SDOT moves. 

  • AlexC April 6, 2020 (7:44 am)

    Another morning with the draw bridge open during rush hour and backing up all traffic. There has to be a way legal to limit when the draw bridge can be opened. I hope they sort that out before we get back to normal rush hours.

    • Jasper April 6, 2020 (10:34 am)

      Other bridges, like the Fremont bridge, ARE restricted!  Why not this one?????

    • WSJ April 6, 2020 (12:08 pm)

      There really isn’t the coast guard/feds control waterways, and marine traffic has priority over municipal roads. The city can ask nicely, but aside from that, not much else. 

    • Michael Freeman April 6, 2020 (12:31 pm)

      This happen to me also,  I have to leave now a hour earlier in the morning to get to my job on time. I can’t be late. Yes, I’m thankful to be still working. I don’t cheat. If I took the lower bridge I could get to my job in a minute. They should limit the times they open the bridge to the evenings and early mornings.

  • Commuter513 April 6, 2020 (7:55 am)

    On my commute in, I saw a police car right after the intersection, on Spokane, heading toward the low bridge.  Not sure if it was checking traffic or responding to an accident. It seemed like cars and trucks were getting backed up a bit.  

  • Matt April 6, 2020 (7:57 am)

    No, people disobey signage and abuse usage of the low bridge without enforcement?  Who would have thought that would happen? (Sarcasm)By making rules that you don’t enforce your only hurting the people who do follow the rules. I hope SPD can come up with a way to aggressively ticket the entitled people using the low bridge. 

  • Question Authority April 6, 2020 (8:51 am)

    This BLOG has a substantial following of West Seattle residents who read all the bridge updates, to bad a large percentage of them selectivly skip the restrictions part of each story.  All the violators should have their vehicle hit with fluorescent orange paintball pellets so we can pick the self-righteous and stupid out among us.

  • Say WA April 6, 2020 (8:52 am)

    Will there be road repairs on those arterials that will be used heavily once stay at home is lifted?  

  • Rumbles April 6, 2020 (8:53 am)

    Only way to stop the regular cars crossing the low bridge is to issue tickets.  Signs are a good idea, as it will eliminate the “I didn’t know” excuse.  Sure hope they don’t wait until an emergency vehicle gets stuck in traffic there.  

    • AMD April 6, 2020 (9:17 am)

      Right now I think they’re trying to find alternatives to ticketing since writing a ticket involves an officer getting in close proximity to and exchanging items with a bunch of random people throughout the day.  Starting with no-contact means of enforcement is best for the health of the officers.  The last thing we need is a bunch of police with coronavirus, staying home and leaving the city with a reduced police force (or worse, spreading coronavirus).  Maybe ticketing will make sense when the crisis has passed.

      • Question Authority April 6, 2020 (9:43 am)

        A LEO no contact method would be, witness the violation, take a picture of the plate and send them a ticket.  At the current rate of violations it would help fund the repair to the high bridge in short order.

        • AMD April 6, 2020 (10:40 am)

          What you’re describing (thankfully) isn’t legal.  Traffic enforcement cameras have so many restrictions and regulations for a reason.  If it was that easy to give people tickets for things, they would have started doing it ages ago, pandemic or not.  Do you think cops pull cars over because they enjoy hearing made-up stories about how the driver’s girlfriend’s cousin’s brother-in-law needed a kidney?

          • Question Authority April 6, 2020 (11:37 am)

            I was thinking more along the lines of an in-person photograph by the cop who asks you what you’re doing on the low bridge.

        • East Coast Cynic April 6, 2020 (10:50 am)

          Yes, something along the lines of the camera that photographs plates of speeders in the school zone on Roxbury.  If you don’t want to tie up cops and traffic by pulling over SOV cheaters entering the low bridge, use such a camera.

          • AMD April 6, 2020 (12:23 pm)

            But NO one is allowed to speed in school zones.  People who work on Harbor Island are allowed to use the bridge.  There is literally no way to know if cars on the bridge are allowed to be there or not without talking to the people.  Standing 6′ away to get your “in-person” photograph means the cop would have to be in the middle of a lane of traffic and yelling to whoever’s driving, or they’d be taking photos and ticketing people without actually knowing if those people were allowed on the bridge or not.  And before you guys commit any more brain cells to the “The only way to stop minor infractions is punishment” thing we have going here, forcing everyone who works on Harbor Island to register their car in a database so the cops can tell who belongs there and who doesn’t is a complete waste of resources and means everyone has to drive the same car all the time.  At some point, you have to accept that less-stringent enforcement than you so desire is genuinely the lesser of the evils.

          • Jon Wright April 6, 2020 (1:42 pm)

            Either that, or you determine that the needs of the entirety of West Seattle (ensuring the flow of commerical goods, transit riders, and emergency vehicles) outweigh the needs of people who live in West Seattle and work on Harbor Island and you prohibit any private vehicles from using the low bridge. Perhaps Metro could create a new shuttle route to Harbor Island to mitigate the impact to the workers there?

          • Question Authority April 6, 2020 (2:41 pm)

            Why is it no one ever looks at a map, all of Harbor Island is accessible without having to cross the Low Bridge span by using existing East and West side roadways for access.  Workers on the island can take the detour like the rest of us, or turn to work before crossing if from the Westside.

          • Eli April 7, 2020 (12:16 pm)

            Would you rather HI workers clog up the alternate routes? They are using the turnoff that’s maybe one-tenth of a mile past the bridge, so to make them drive an extra 15 minutes (from admiral) seems absurd. It’s better for everyone, given the bad situation, for them to be allowed to use it. 

          • Derf April 6, 2020 (11:08 pm)

            I think most people are aware of maps and how to navigate, don’t be so self righteous.  I live in west Seattle and start work on Harbor Island at 6am when nobody is on the road.  There’s probably not all that many people who live  in WS and work on HI anyways.  Don’t wish it bad for some just because you have to go around.

  • Smittytheclown April 6, 2020 (8:56 am)

    The bridge cam has shifted a bit.  Has their been any activity on the bridge or are they just monitoring the growth of the cracks?  Seems like it would be all hands on deck during this low traffic opportunity. 

  • Michael Lawrence April 6, 2020 (9:28 am)

    Could “Good to Go” be used? A $50 toll (waived for allowed usage) via either mailed bill or chip. And lots of signage!

    • WSB April 6, 2020 (9:37 am)

      That’s a state program and this is a city road.

  • drahcir April 6, 2020 (9:31 am)

    “Life isn’t difficult, people make life difficult” – drahcir

  • Mj April 6, 2020 (9:45 am)

    MichaelI’m with you, yes Good to Go is a State system, but the ORCA card works for multi jurisdictions, thus it seams the GtoG should be able to do the same thing.  The question is how long would it take to install the system?MJ

  • Joe Z April 6, 2020 (10:21 am)

    They are out there this morning with lots of red paint turning everything that leads to the low bridge into  “BUS ONLY” lanes. The “I didn’t know” excuse isn’t going to work anymore. 

    • WSB April 6, 2020 (10:29 am)

      Thanks for the update. I was just sending SDOT a round of followups. There is already no excuse for “I didn’t know,” though – it’s been two weeks.

  • James April 6, 2020 (10:56 am)

    What is the schedule for the repairs???This can’t be asked enough. Need answers!

    • WSB April 6, 2020 (11:09 am)

      See our Thursday story. Or if you don’t have time to read it, they don’t know yet because they have to
      (a) understand what’s causing the cracks (which have continued post-closure)
      so they can
      (b) devise a temporary plan to make it safe
      (c) permanent repairs.

  • James April 6, 2020 (11:59 am)

    To all the little neighborhood cops mad that people are using the lower bridge…can you just relax? It’s not that big of a deal and it’s getting corrected. We have bigger concerns here! Like…WHEN IS THE BRIDGE REOPENING?

    • East Coast Cynic April 6, 2020 (12:47 pm)

      It’s being corrected, but you can bet dollars to doughnuts that it will be a year plus at the least before the bridge is repaired to usability, so the correction to the SOV cheating better be one that has a dramatic impact cause we are going to be in this pickle for a long time.

    • Jon Wright April 6, 2020 (1:49 pm)

      My reason for concern and a sense of urgency now is that this interval (after high bridge closure, before the stay-at-home edict ends) is a golden opportunity for the city to figure this out. I would like to see enforcement of low bridge rules in place and tested so when real traffic volumes return, things on the low bridge run as smoothly as possible.

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