(West Seattle Bridge cracks, from sdotblog.seattle.gov)
Two weeks after the sudden safety shutdown of the West Seattle Bridge, SDOT has just gone public with inspection reports chronicling the history of the bridge’s cracks, which as previously explained, were first noticed in 2013. The 14 reports are linked on the project website, and in a new SDOT Blog post which says in part:
… What we believe the reports show is our careful, proactive monitoring effort that put into place the systems necessary to make sure we could act quickly to preserve life and safety. Additionally, they show that during our frequent inspections of the West Seattle Bridge over the past several years, there was no indication that the bridge was unsafe for ordinary use or that preventative maintenance plans would impact normal use of the bridge until very, very recently.
Documents shared with the public today include:
Memo from consultant in 2019 suggested sealing cracks with epoxy and further monitoring of cracks
Memo from consultant on 2/21/20 suggested the bridge should be reduced to two lanes each way and repairs initiated before end of year 2020
Memo from consultant on 3/20/20 that indicates a further review of 2019 inspection report data suggests immediate closure …
We’ve just begun reading the reports – starting with the most-recent one (March 20th, three days before the bridge was closed), which says in part:
Since our initial recommendation, our biggest concern has become the extent and rate of
cracking near the quarter points of the main span could lead to collapse in the near future if
strengthening is not implemented quickly.
The 2013 details on the cracks is also of note, carrying the observation, “The cracking does influence long term durability …” We’ll add more highlights later..
Meantime, no update yet on the timeline for determining what short-term repairs are needed before long-term repairs can be done, but we’ve asked for one.