WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Councilmembers Herbold, Pedersen to tour with SDOT

10:59 AM: Just announced during the City Council‘s weekly “briefing” meeting, during which councilmembers provide various updates on their ongoing focuses: Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Alex Pedersen will be touring the West Seattle Bridge tomorrow with SDOT leaders. (Pedersen is the chair of the Transportation Committee.) Herbold also mentioned the SFD report due by week’s end – as noted in her Friday post. (She also noted that an extra ladder truck was stationed here during the Spokane Street Viaduct project; that was Ladder 13, based at Station 11 for more than a year in 2011-2012.)

1:29 PM: For those who’ve asked, yes, we immediately asked to cover the tour. SDOT says no but promises a media tour at some future time.

8:29 PM: That decision’s been reversed.

50 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Councilmembers Herbold, Pedersen to tour with SDOT"

  • Toni Reineke April 13, 2020 (12:49 pm)

    Hi WSB! A friend told me that when she walked out to where the bridge separated from land, she could actually see down to the ground through a pothole . Might you be able to get a photo from that angle? But please don’t fall in!

    • WSB April 13, 2020 (1:06 pm)

      It’s not safe for anyone to walk out on the bridge.

      • John H April 13, 2020 (1:34 pm)

        If it’s not safe to walk on the bridge, why is it safe to drive under the bridge?

        • Jim April 13, 2020 (3:36 pm)

          Railings are too low. Jersey barriers are made for cars not people. 

          • John H April 13, 2020 (4:20 pm)

            Makes sense 

        • rpo April 14, 2020 (10:34 am)

          In response to John H’s comment, only the main span over the river is having structural issues. There are no roads under that section.

    • dsa April 13, 2020 (3:00 pm)

      Toni, why didn’t your friend take a picture?  It seems like a vary dramatic pothole.  The roadway surface deck is like 9 inches thick.

    • JeffK April 14, 2020 (7:40 am)

      I call baloney.  The bridge is an enclosed box beam style.  If there were a pothole in the top one would only see down inside the bridge (the maintenance area where the photos of the color traces of the cracks were taken).

      • rpo April 14, 2020 (10:36 am)

        I don’t think the OP was referring to the main bridge which is where it is an enclosed box beam. I think they were referring to walking down Fauntleroy to where the first elevated section begins. That is just a normal girder/slab causeway type of bridge, and there are some nasty potholes on the downhill section right just before it crosses over Avalon.

        • Mel April 14, 2020 (8:44 pm)

          The OP should have taken the Viaduct walk before they demolished it. Plenty of views to the roadway below.

  • Doug April 13, 2020 (12:50 pm)

    Can you please tell me what comes of these tours….is any action taken? What are the results of these conversations? Is herbold secretly a structural engineer?

    • WSB April 13, 2020 (1:05 pm)

      These are not “tours” multiple … first one we’ve heard of. Perhaps a chance to report back firsthand on what SDOT is learning?

    • Aerial Observer April 13, 2020 (1:23 pm)

      CM Herbold is one of the persons we’ve elected to deal with issues involving city infrastructure, so I’m glad to see she’s going to take an informed look for herself at the challenges we face in repairing or replacing the bridge.

  • Jon Wright April 13, 2020 (1:25 pm)

    I feel sorry for anyone who would subject themselves to representing us in government:

    • If Lisa isn’t on the scene around the clock, fixing the bridge herself, she gets the “Why isn’t Lisa doing more to get the bridge back open?”
    • And now when she does go to get a firsthand look, she gets mocked for doing so because she isn’t an engineer.

    Aye yi yi!

    • KM April 13, 2020 (3:46 pm)

      Lol, no kidding. And then if Lisa doesn’t do exactly what they want “she wasn’t listening to the people!” 

    • dsa April 13, 2020 (4:59 pm)

      The 1980’s city council caused this problem.  They wanted a bridge high enough to clear the waterway to avoid *all* bridge openings, thus satisfying WS and safety demands.  In the coming days it will be discovered they, the council made a poor design choice.  Instead of relying on the engineers for leadership for the best possible design, the council choose a political design.

    • dsa April 13, 2020 (8:08 pm)

      It must have been the 1970’s, not 80’s city council that wanted the non opening high level bridge.  There were other options at the time.

      • NickH April 14, 2020 (7:41 am)

        I’m glad someone gets this. Everytime I present post-tensioning concrete schedules (or just simple deformed mild steel reinforcement plans!) to my board of directors, they always mess it up and try to change things Just last week, they were trying to change a pier design, and didn’t even consider p-delta. Can you believe that?!

  • Parswell April 13, 2020 (1:38 pm)

    I was pulled over today at the low bridge.  The SPD officers are not wearing masks!  2-feet away from my face talking to me and NO MASK!  When asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask, the SPD officer said “I don’t want to.  Do you want me to write you a citation or a warning?”  Outrageous.  We are all trying to stay safe and the SPD doesn’t care enough to wear a mask.  Hey SPD, get a clue and WEAR MASKS!

    • Joe Z April 13, 2020 (1:49 pm)

      Maybe if you obeyed the law you wouldn’t have to worry about SPD officers coming up to your window!

      • Mel April 14, 2020 (8:47 pm)

        If coronavirus infection was the penalty for breaking the law, maybe more people would not break the law.

    • Rumbles April 13, 2020 (1:56 pm)

      Don’t drive over the low bridge and that won’t happen to you.  Choice is yours.  

    • West Seattle Hipster April 13, 2020 (2:01 pm)

      Should be mandatory for our public servants to wear masks when taking to people in person.

      • Rumbles April 13, 2020 (2:44 pm)

        The same mandatory for no private vehicles on the low bridge?

    • Jon Wright April 13, 2020 (2:07 pm)

      Follow the rules and then you get to have an opinion.

    • Question Authority April 13, 2020 (2:11 pm)

      You openly admit to violating the rules about who can cross the Low Bridge and you have the gall to complain about a whether or not a police officer is wearing a mask as he writes you a ticket that you caused yourself.  Wow!

    • CAM April 13, 2020 (2:12 pm)

      The only reason you were that close to him is because you broke the law. Maybe follow the rules and you wouldn’t need to encounter masked/unmasked people that close up?

      • Carrie April 13, 2020 (9:44 pm)

        If I were the cop, I’d be wearing a mask. He’s exposing himself to germs and then risking exposing his fellow policeman as well. 

        • CAM April 14, 2020 (12:10 am)

          There are innumerable reasons a person may choose not to wear a mask and in some cases may feel like it makes them less safe doing so. I’m not sure how I’d weigh the risks as a police officer in terms of wearing a mask vs my personal safety and the potential risk for violence that may result from my covering my face. The commenter wasn’t concerned with the officer’s lack of access to PPE. Rather it was a complaint that other people should mask up to protect them. Everyone should have access to PPE that wants it but we should not be requiring people who aren’t performing medical procedures to wear it unless we are mandating that for everyone. 

          • WSB April 14, 2020 (12:15 am)

            Just a note …
            SPD officers ARE using PPE in some situations. Listening to police-radio dispatches for many hours each day, I hear certain dispatches described as “PPE advised.”

    • Respect... April 13, 2020 (2:15 pm)

      Sounds like you weren’t supposed to be driving there in the first place if the officer was issuing you a warning or citation. Then, you decided to tell a member of law enforcement that they weren’t following an extremely loose recommendation from the federal government. Don’t disrespect law enforcement who are trying to do their jobs. You weren’t supposed to be there- the officer shouldn’t have to address you in the first place. Whether or not they are wearing a mask couldn’t be a more moot point. 

    • AM April 13, 2020 (2:21 pm)

      Curious about why you were traveling on the lower bridge? Assuming you’re not exempt, you could have spared yourself and the officer the exposure by avoiding it?

    • sw April 13, 2020 (3:10 pm)

      If only there were a way you could have avoided getting that ticket.  OH WAIT.

    • Boop April 13, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      Serves you right getting a ticket!!

      It’s funny, I have a college friend who is a cop.   He said when people whine about getting a ticket they clearly deserve, he relishes handing the ticket for their signature and saying, “Press hard, three copies!”

    • 22blades April 13, 2020 (5:09 pm)

       Outrageous.  We are all trying to stay safe and the SPD doesn’t care enough to wear a mask.  Hey SPD, get a clue and WEAR MASKS!” Outrageous. We are all trying to stay safe and the public doesn’t care enough to stay off the bridge. Hey Low Span Car, get a clue and STAY OFF THE BRIDGE!

    • Alki resident April 13, 2020 (5:44 pm)

      Hey come hang out with me, I won’t be wearing a mask either. 

  • Gina April 13, 2020 (2:44 pm)

    It is safe , but not encouraged, to walk on the Fauntleroy expressway from 35th& Avalon up to where it joins with Spokane around Orleans St. Ground level until that point.

  • Parswell April 13, 2020 (4:39 pm)

    fyi – Bloggers.  My company is an essential business.  We are helping stop the spread.  SPD did not let me cross the bridge to perform my duties to help all of us.  SPD is not helping by NOT wearing masks.  Take a step back and think about it before you fire off that witty reply…OK that should be long enough, go ahead I can take it.

    • 22blades April 13, 2020 (5:14 pm)

      I am in an “essential business” too but there’s no provision (or entitlement) that allows me to use the bridge.

    • KM April 13, 2020 (5:42 pm)

      Which essential business are you that’s allowed to use the low bridge: transit, freight, or first responder?

      • flimflam April 13, 2020 (6:42 pm)


  • Sam April 13, 2020 (5:15 pm)

    Parswell, I am sorry you’ve had to deal with the tsk-tsking from the “Karens” and “Chads.” If your business is indeed essential, you have my support. I’m guessing that cops can’t always determine whether a vehicle is being used for essential businesses. Use of the lower bridge is restricted to transit, freight, emergency vehicles, and access to Harbor Island. IF your business falls into one of those categories, you did nothing wrong. On the other hand, it is worrisome that our police officers aren’t wearing some kind of mask – it’s bad for their sake and for whomever they pull over, guilty or not. These are stressful times for all of us – I’ll try not to get bitchy!

  • AB April 13, 2020 (5:38 pm)

    Did you ever think maybe there isn’t enough PPE to go around for all of SPD? My husband is a first responder and they have to use them sparingly. Sorry you were bothered when you shouldn’t have been on the low bridge to begin with. Being an essential business doesn’t make you exempt. Doctors in their personal vehicles also cannot use the low bridge.

  • sw April 13, 2020 (5:51 pm)

    Lots of “essential businesses” are not allowed to use the lower bridge.  Yes, the mask thing…   but there is an air of entitlement in your posts.  Even if you once mentioned “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have driven over the low bridge” you might get a better response.  We all need to do our part where we can.

  • HS April 13, 2020 (7:23 pm)

    I’m sharing a great suggestion from the West Seattle Connect group on Facebook. Add a stop for the water taxi at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal. I think that is such a good idea.

    • songstorm April 14, 2020 (7:10 am)

      That’s a fantastic idea & I hope it is logistically feasible.  I would much prefer to take the water taxi to  downtown but living south of Morgan Junction, it’s not so easy to get up to Seacrest Park.  If the Spirit of Kingston can be pressed into service so all 3 boats are operating, hopefully they could add a leg out to the Fauntleroy ferry dock without overly impacting the standard sailings.  I also saw a suggestion a while back to extend the water taxi shuttle routes down to Morgan Junction which would also be helpful.

  • WSB April 13, 2020 (8:06 pm)

    A bit more news from CM Herbold tonight – she just spoke with the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council and among many other things I’ll write up a bit later from covering the meeting (by phone), she said that SDOT has asked to brief the council again next Monday (4/20), a week earlier than tentatively planned, so we could get some news then if not sooner – TR

  • Deb April 13, 2020 (8:51 pm)

    I’m very relieved that SDOT reversed its ‘no press’ decision. I understand the tour it will be a ground-level briefing, not on the bridge itself. We’ll all look forward to the WSB report. 

    • WSB April 13, 2020 (8:58 pm)

      Yes, I was originally somewhat wondering about the logistics of an in-bridge visit, media or no media.

  • mark sahs April 14, 2020 (8:03 am)

    Would everyone stop looking to lay the blame on everyone from the 1980 city council, to SDOT to this city council.  Just fix the the bridge with the best people in the world working on it  – and there will be NO ONE to blame.  In term of the police and the lower bridge – if you do not belong on it – stay off or get a very expensive ticket.  If the police start handing them out, it will get the message out very quickly.  Warnings do no good.  When the commute gets to be 2 1/2 hours long – which it will – people will risk tickets to get to work or wherever.

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