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

7:29 AM: The high-rise West Seattle Bridge remains closed for the 16th consecutive morning.

The low bridge is reserved for transit, freight, emergency response, and Harbor Island access – spot enforcement started Monday, and there’s new signage and lane striping to reinforce the restrictions.

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 . Use the lookup to see which trips are canceled.

The Water Taxi’s schedule is reduced too – 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 happening this week – striping in the full project zone, too.


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.

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

  • AlexC April 8, 2020 (7:39 am)

    There is a cop by the low bridge directing traffic. Not sure if they are trying to do it to keep cars off the low bridge or if it’s because yet again the bridge is drawn during rush hour so there is no where for the vehicles to go from the light.

    • cpk April 8, 2020 (9:50 am)

      They were there yesterday morning and evening as well. I think this is the “ImPoSSiBle EnforCEmEnT” that everyone here has been barking about.

    • tsurly April 8, 2020 (10:15 am)

      There were SEVEN cops in total, four at the Chelan intersection and three on the east side of the low bridge, when I rolled through on my bike just before 0900. Its appalling that we have to waste that many resources because some jerks think the rules don’t apply to them 

      • WS Transit Rider April 8, 2020 (2:01 pm)

        Tsurly – One hundred percent agree. Some of us take transit only because we cannot afford a car in this city.

  • WS Transit Rider April 8, 2020 (8:32 am)

    Police in full force directing traffic on lower level bridge. Finally and thank you SPD!

  • mok4315 April 8, 2020 (9:46 am)

    I work on Harbor Island, and two of my co-workers were turned away by police yesterday while trying to drive over the low bridge. Has SDOT changed it’s stance on letting Harbor Island workers through? 

    • WSB April 8, 2020 (10:20 am)

      Though they originally said Harbor Island access, the FAQ added to the bridge project page last week
      has nothing about it. So it appears it’s freight, transit, emergency ONLY. Most likely just no way to separate out because so very many private-car drivers ignored the restrictions.

      • mok4315 April 8, 2020 (5:50 pm)

        Cool, thanks for the link WSB!

    • AB83 April 8, 2020 (10:45 am)

      What time was it were do you work on the island our employer gave us a paper that proves we work on the island i work at Vigor shipyard maybe your employer can do the same for you 

      • mok4315 April 8, 2020 (5:47 pm)

        AB83, I work for Global Diving. In fact, we work with you guys often :) Our boats are at the Marina on the south side of the island, by Arrow. It must’ve been between 1200 and 1500 that they tried to head down, when we were finishing up the fire clean-up. They explained all this to enforcement, but no luck. I’ll try to bring up the letter thing with the bosses. 

  • Adam April 8, 2020 (10:05 am)

    3 weeks since emergency closure, many months after crackers were found to be serious enough for lane closures, and we still don’t know WHY it’s happening, HOW it started or, any answers.  COVID or not, this is completely unacceptable.  

    • WSJ April 8, 2020 (10:49 am)

      Are you an engineer? No? Then how can you possibly know what the right timeframe is for diagnosing a problem with a bridge? 

      • Jon Wright April 8, 2020 (11:25 am)

        I’m still waiting for a cure for cancer. Can’t believe those dummies are taking so long!

        • Good One April 8, 2020 (11:31 am)

          Lol!  Thanks for the laugh. 

        • WSJ April 8, 2020 (11:57 am)

          We’ve given these doctors long enough, it’s time to fire them and bring in someone from outside to get some fresh eyes on curing cancer. Medical incompetence is out of control. 

          • CAM April 8, 2020 (2:54 pm)

            I just dumped a bunch of spam from my inbox telling me about hot oil cures for covid. I’m regretting that now because I’d bet they’d be right on this cancer thing. 

      • 2013 April 8, 2020 (9:02 pm)

        2013…. they first discovered cracks in 2013.  Seems to me they had plenty of time to get a handle on this. 

    • Kevin P Townsend April 8, 2020 (11:09 am)

      I AGREE

    • smittytheclown April 8, 2020 (1:33 pm)

      Agree.  This is an emergency.  I’d like to see some freaking activity.

  • Mj April 8, 2020 (10:14 am)

    Still no TP at the Admiral Safeway, as of Tuesday evening, and the #!;:# is hitting the fan.  And the issue grows significantly when people go back to work presuming their employer is not in bankruptcy court.  The full capacity of the low level bridge needs to be used.  Busses need to be exempted from stopping at the never used RR tracks.  Maybe allow motorcycles to use the low level bridge, mopeds absolutely need to have access since they are limited to the type of street they are allowed to drive on.  And allow highly trained, 4 years or more of higher education, medical personnel to use the bridge.

    • KM April 8, 2020 (10:44 am)

      MJ, did you seriously suggest drivers with higher education in the medical field get to use a roadway that would be restricted for their peers? 

    • Hank L April 8, 2020 (10:55 am)

      So you’re proposing that cops review drivers’ educational credentials? Is this a joke?

    • FYI April 8, 2020 (12:29 pm)

      FYI – There was still TP at the junction Safeway at 11:30am today. 

    • T April 8, 2020 (1:50 pm)

      Safeway and rite aid had plenty of TP as of 1:00 today

    • EL Markey April 8, 2020 (4:24 pm)

      I know it’s pure hell to get put of WS, but the Northgate Target has TP, paper towels, etc. en masse. Also, the Dollar Tree stores are open and the Southcenter one has TP (as of April 8 @ 2pm). There was no sign on the limit of 4-packs. The good news: there’s hardly any traffic so it makes the trip way easier. Prices are high at the NG Target, but, well, it’s a pandemic so I paid it. Regular grocery stores don’t seem to have any.

    • Grocery shopper April 8, 2020 (5:17 pm)

      PCC had paper products the last time I shopped there. PCC is one block from Admiral Safeway. 

  • soarringcam April 8, 2020 (10:40 am)

    A alternative plan for Light Rail was suggested.That plan was to built a Light Rail Transit center just south of Salty’s  closer to Jack Block Park.At that location parking would not be a problem and west seattle residents could park and ride the light rail to any city location.Now considering the state of the west seattle bridge, this idea is looking much better.Oh but its too late now. 

    • Joe Z April 8, 2020 (11:27 am)

      Park and rides are for suburban hellscapes, not for West Seattle. If you want to drive to a transit station then move to Federal Way

      • WSB April 8, 2020 (12:53 pm)

        However, it should be noted, we HAVE park-n-ride lots. Under the west end of the bridge, along Roxbury near Holy Family, also near Arrowhead Gardens….

        • Joe Z April 8, 2020 (1:34 pm)

          True–in fact you could the street in front of my house a park-n-ride since commuters park there during the day and catch the C-line downtown. While this does draw complaints from some I consider it appropriate utilization of an available resource.

    • Lagartija Nick April 8, 2020 (1:36 pm)

      The only person who keeps bringing up the ridiculous idea of putting the light rail station at Jack Block Park is you, Cam.

      • Ws4L April 8, 2020 (6:01 pm)

        We need to build the Sonics new aren at terminal 5 with a light rail station and a park and ride at jack block park that’s a great idea west Seattle super Sonics 

      • sna April 8, 2020 (6:51 pm)

        Technically i think it would be possible to run heavy rail from Jack Block Park to the area by stadiums with the rail track that exists today.  Probably makes no sense though since it just duplicates the water taxi points. 

  • Kevin P Townsend April 8, 2020 (11:05 am)

    Good morning!! Rant alert!! Lol   I live on N. Delridge and work at Cherry Hill so I’m still driving to work. We were using the lower bridge until a few days ago. This morning we went down towards white center and around through Georgetown back to 5 north and it’s a pain in the rear. I can’t imagine how it’s gonna be when everything is back to normal. It’s very frustrating and going to get worse. I guess my question is…Why has the bridge been closed for three weeks and I haven’t seen one person working on it??  And I’ve heard this could take years, is that correct??  I get the bridge is unsafe but this isn’t going to work with 100,000 trying to get in and out of West Seattle. Thoughts??  Thanks!!Kevin T. 

    • WSB April 8, 2020 (11:21 am)

      No one is working because, as we have reported many times in the past two weeks – the bridge has been closed for 15 1/2 days, not three weeks – they have to determine what is causing the problem, before they can design the short term fix to make it safe for a long term fix (IF one is even possible). Whether it’s going to take years, they don’t know. Months at the very least. The city has an FAQ on the project page if you don’t want to read through our coverage (next story mere hours away)

    • Jon Wright April 8, 2020 (11:31 am)

      Maybe SDOT could hire a big crew from the Millionair Club and have them milling around on the bridge every day wearing safety vests and sweeping and doing other things that look vaguely like construction stuff. If that shut down the “I don’t see anybody working on the bridge!” trope once and for all it would definitely be worth it. 

      • KM April 8, 2020 (1:17 pm)

        Followed up with: “Y r their so many construction ppl standing around on the Bridge, they ned to work fastr get this fixed NOW!!!?      I bet they are overpaid to, cushy guvmit jobs ask scott kublie and the city CLOWNcul.”

  • AK April 8, 2020 (11:49 am)

    Enforcement solution for low bridge is simple, add a toll.  If it is worth $5-10 for passenger car to cross then let them. This would encourage carpooling, riding transit, bike, etc and allow the bridge to be used at times of need, if you have an emergency and need to leave or return to West Seattle in a timely manner. Also would probably save $1,000/hour in traffic enforcement cost. 

  • Mj April 8, 2020 (11:52 am)

    Hank L – the hospitals could provide appropriate decals identifying their critical highly trained personnel.  

  • I. Ponder April 8, 2020 (11:55 am)

    If I worked on Harbor Island I’d commute by bicycle or e-assist bike. Both can use the bike/pedestrian lane. Simple commute. If you live further out than what’s practical, park car on or near Harbor Ave and bicycle the rest of the way to Harbor Island.

  • IslandLife April 8, 2020 (12:00 pm)

    Q13 reported last night that the bridge cracks appeared in 2013 or 2014 and have been a problem since then. No one can explain why they were not dealt with even though reports show that they were deep cracks that needed attention and even a consultants report suggested action. It would be interesting to use FOIA to get to the bottom of who knew what and when. It took me an extra hour to get out to Seattle proper yesterday to deliver some medical supplies to older friends who can’t leave their houses. I can only imagine how long it will take with full traffic. SDOT/Lisa Herbold should be providing regular updates and thinking of better transportation solutions but all you get from her are vague answers and finger pointing. It’s almost as if Herbold doesn’t understand or care about the impact to residents.  

    • WSB April 8, 2020 (12:30 pm)

      We have reported that multiple times. They have said it from day 1. Any regional report you see today is based on the same thing we reported yesterday:

    • Vic April 8, 2020 (1:13 pm)

      Where are you driving from that took you an extra hour?? I drove from my home to Kirkland at 8am Thursday morning last week and it took a grand total of 39 minutes. I live in Gatewood and took 35th to Roxbury, 509 N to Michigan St then to I-5 N, I-90 E, and then I-405 N. Just curious how it took you that long…

      • CAM April 8, 2020 (2:58 pm)

        Agreed, coming from the north the other day, it added 21 minutes to my trip to get to the junction from 1-5 coming through Georgetown. It’s not fun but it’s not killing anyone. 

      • Agreed April 8, 2020 (4:05 pm)

        I’m wondering if this person took the lower bridge and got stuck during an opening? I live by Morgan junction and it took me under 40 minutes at 7am on Monday to get to Shorline using highland park way and 1st ave bridge. Tuesday it took about 37 minutes to get all the way to Edmonds leaving at 9am and using the same route. I’m sure it will suck once more traffic is utilizing these routes, but it shouldn’t be taking an hour to get anywhere in the Seattle area from West Seattle under current conditions. 

  • sam-c April 8, 2020 (12:30 pm)

    Tracy,   Do you have any contacts at Kiro 7?  Their morning news ‘copy’ (or whatever you call it) about the West Seattle Bridge goes something like, “The West Seattle Bridge has been closed for X days due to structural cracking, and SDOT has determined that it is unsafe.  It is open for transit, freight and emergency vehicles though.”  They are conflating both bridges and it’s driving me crazy.  I guess there are some people in Seattle that think there is only one bridge to West Seattle at that location.  (Strangely enough, they don’t have Tracy Taylor delivering this info, it’s the newscasters.)I tried tweeting at them, but don’t know if that worked.

    • WSB April 8, 2020 (12:46 pm)

      No I don’t. Just my standard caveat, don’t trust local info from a non-local source. Please email their tipline address to correct them.

      • sam-c April 8, 2020 (2:49 pm)

        Ok thanks, will do (yes, I  rely on WSB for most of my local news. I just like to have TV news on  in the background, makes me feel less lonely.  And I’m also concerned that other people will hear what Kiro 7 reports and take it as fact)

  • NameFieldEntry April 8, 2020 (12:37 pm)

    For those who are curious, here’s a list of all the bridge failures in Washington state.

  • Joe Z April 8, 2020 (1:36 pm)

    Day 16 of no traffic noise in my backyard. Woke up to the sound of birds this morning. Wondering if the turkey will make its way down the hill at some point.

    • WSB April 8, 2020 (2:19 pm)

      It’s on Genesee Hill today so not currently headed in that direction.

  • dood April 8, 2020 (2:37 pm)

    What would be great is a reasonable estimate of how long a trip will take without the bridge (and after the COVID orders).  For instance, will it take 30 minutes to get from Admiral to I-5?  1 hour?Just how bad will a normal morning commute become?  Not even possible?I wouldn’t be able to  guess or model this.  Would be interested in a discussion around it.(Was there a time (in the last 10 years) that the bridge was shut down and we would have such data?)

  • AN April 8, 2020 (3:17 pm)

    They are turning away essential workers that are doing environmental work at the Jim Clark marina.Crew had to drive all the way around to get onto Harbor Island for crucial fuel cleanup and it took an hour to go around. They need to issue passes. I sent an email into M Linkenmeyer at SDOT this morning and am awaiting a reply. We also keep our boats down on Harbor Island. 

  • Mkl April 8, 2020 (3:17 pm)

    On 4/7 we drove past the lowered bridge entrance on the way to the west marginal way re-route. There was a great team of SPD officers patrolling. While we were stopped at the red light we asked one of the officers about access to harbor island since one of us works there and he said it was still ok. If someone was turned away today it  may be that the messaging to the SPD isn’t completely clear yet and enforcement is varying a little bit, or could be that they’re having to tighten up. If you work on harbor island I’d bring proof of employment with you and ask someone at your office to contact SDOT for the latest plan. 

  • breeze April 8, 2020 (4:33 pm)

    Is it my civic duty to use the detour at 2AM going from Bellevue to North Admiral? Seems like a waste of gas and time to go around, but I also like to follow the rules. I wish they would formally open up the low bridge to all traffic at off hours of the day.

    • The Klaptain April 8, 2020 (6:41 pm)

      Has anything public come out about, if you really do need to get to Harbor Island for work from W Seattle?  Or anything public/official about allowing middle of the night transits across swing bridge?

  • hammerhead April 8, 2020 (5:14 pm)

    So yes there is traffic issues (South I-5) it was backed up.  This was about 2;30-3.  I was thinking why.  oh yeah the West seattle bridge is closed.  This is just going to be HOT mess, when and if things go back to normal.  It is terrifying.Then leaving West Seattle from Admiral, I thought yeah I will see how going down West Marginal way uh yeah once I was able to turn around I did.  As it was backed up to Avalon.  Again there is just NO WAY that will work.  You can not open all those parking spots under the bridge for a road to drive down. all the pillars holding up that bridge..My god can you imagine any 1 of these bridges opened during anytime of the day.  God no way.I cut around a different directions but it too was backed up.  So next time I will either just go down 4th OR further south the south park bridge.  I can also take airport road but got talk about back tracking.  I live in Burien.There is just no way this is going to reasonable.  One would think DOT or who ever would be working on that bridge right now

Sorry, comment time is over.