UPDATE: West Seattle low bridge trouble, and reminder of scheduled closure

5:25 PM: The low bridge is completely out of service at the moment, so even the transit and other traffic that would normally use it must detour. Avoid the area.

5:35 PM: The problem is described only as a “technical issue.” We don’t know if it’s related to the maintenance needs that will be addressed in prescheduled closures 8 pm-5 am tonight, 6 pm-3 am tomorrow and (if needed) Sunday night.

6:12 PM: Just got to the low bridge – it’s open again.

7:28 PM: It closed again for several minutes for what SDOT described via Twitter as a “test closure.” Now we’re getting close to the SCHEDULED 8 pm closure, so please keep that in mind.

33 Replies to "UPDATE: West Seattle low bridge trouble, and reminder of scheduled closure"

  • Dm May 29, 2020 (5:35 pm)

    There is a sizable police presence under the West Seattle Bridge as well…I’m on the 120 and we’re detouring down to the First Ave drawbridge,  then to West Marginal, then Delridge. It’s taking a mite longer than usual.

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (5:48 pm)

      Someone else mentioned that and I have no idea what it’s about. We’re heading over to see if we can find out anything further.

  • flimflam May 29, 2020 (5:37 pm)

    oh boy…

  • AlkiJames May 29, 2020 (5:46 pm)

    Picture I saw from a friend involved a car on the RR tracks over towards the marina exit, south and east side of low bridge and about 8 cop cars

  • 120rider May 29, 2020 (6:11 pm)

    the “technical issue” story is b.s. there were a fleet of police cars down below with search dogs combing the banks of the duwamish. I’ll be very interested to hear the real story.

  • Pdxmark May 29, 2020 (6:17 pm)


  • Mamasuze May 29, 2020 (6:49 pm)

    I am wondering about the SUPER heavy trucks going over the lower bridge….. it doesn’t make sense that the gi-normous trucks loaded to the gills with re-bar have the freedom to overload that small bridge that already has problems….

    • bolo May 29, 2020 (7:21 pm)

      Not only the SUPER heavy trucks you mention, but the buses. I am on the bridge way more often now (biking it) and each time I have been near the gap (where the bridge sections meet up where it opens/closes) when a bus passes over, the swing section bounces up 5 inches. To put that in perspective, a common stair is 6 inches.

      • Michael May 29, 2020 (10:25 pm)

        Five inches seems like a lot of deflection. What happens to oncoming traffic?  My car doesn’t even have 5” of suspension travel.  Do you frequently ride your bike up stairs or are you carrying it over the gap?

        • bolo May 30, 2020 (8:45 pm)

          What happens to oncoming traffic? I guess if they hit the edge there as it deflects up it is like going up over a curb.

          For me on the bike, luckily I haven’t had to jump it (yet) because the times I’ve seen it happen, a bus has rolled over the gap, the edge popped up and down again (happens quickly) just before I crossed it. Makes me yell a scared “Woah!” and tense up involuntarily, just like when surprise encountering any potentially catastrophic road obstruction.

  • 120rider May 29, 2020 (7:14 pm)

    it’s happening again…just got another alert…..Metro Transit Alert Update – Expect possible transit service delays on SW Spokane St, due to a closure of the lower Spokane Bridge.  that just came in at 711pm.

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (7:27 pm)

      Per SDOT via Twitter, that was a “test closure” – and now we’re close to the scheduled closure that starts at 8 pm anyway.

      • 120rider May 29, 2020 (7:33 pm)

        yes it was a test <snark> i walked from the east side of the lower bridge after being on my feet all day, in scrubs, in bicycle territory, to the delridge library.  haven’t we been tested enough? jussayin.

        • Diane May 29, 2020 (9:18 pm)

          omg, what a shame, so sorry to hear that; you must be exhausted; prayers for you to have a healing restful night 

  • AlexC May 29, 2020 (7:26 pm)

    I don’t think the 6:12 reopening is right cause the C line in front of us and my 21 were both told NO after 6:20. Took an hour and 20 minutes to go what usually takes 30.

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (7:57 pm)

      I have no way of knowing what Metro was telling its drivers but at 6:12 pm we were AT the low bridge (in the Marginal Place circle that has access to the foot/bike trail), eyes on it, traffic moving across it, and that’s why I wrote that.

    • Pdx77 May 29, 2020 (8:04 pm)

      I was watching the traffic camera video feed and the bridge was open at that time.  However, it’s very likely the drivers didn’t know that and were still using the detour route. 

  • Don Brubeck May 29, 2020 (8:49 pm)

    The low  bridge was built for freight. That’s why it is where it is, and why it leads to Harbor Island and to Terminal 5.  Those “super heavy” trucks carrying rebar made in West Seattle at Nucor are carrying legal load limits with enough axles and wheels to spread the load out.  Lots of Metro buses are “over legal”, putting quite a bit more concentrated load on the roads and bridges.  Spokane Street and the bridge are part of Seattle’s “Heavy Haul Network” of streets serving the port and SODO industry. Seattle exists as a city because of that deep water port and the intermodal freight yards that serve our whole region. We need those trucks running over that bridge. And bikes and buses.

    • Alistair May 30, 2020 (7:53 am)

      Thanks for the informed, rational comment, Don. 

    • PEvans May 30, 2020 (8:55 am)

      Don Brubeck – I know nothing of weight limits, so an uninformed question: some articles (eg https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/are-buses-too-heavy-in-seattle-traffic-lab-qa/) seem to state that buses fall well within the weight limits, and a RapidRide bus on three axles is about 40% the weight of a max GVW semi on five axles.  Can you explain further?

      • Don Brubeck May 31, 2020 (8:48 pm)

        PEVANS, I believe that it is shorter 2-axle hybrid buses that put the heavier loads on the road.  The Breda articulated buses that ran in the tunnel were also very heavy, but have been phased out.  Those 3-axle buses had both diesel and electric trolley propulsion.  Perhaps someone from Metro reading this could provide a source for current fleet vehicle weights and loads. 

    • GVWR May 30, 2020 (10:00 am)

      @Don,Faith in humanity restored. 

  • Angela S. May 29, 2020 (11:09 pm)

    So here is what I know about the cop situation. A guy tried to carjack someone and then went running at some point. They must’ve thought he was armed because I was at that park below the bridge hanging when came running by me chasing after him pointing either a taser or a gun. He was arrested but lost eyesight of him right by the water where he may have had opportunity to ditch something. There were at least 8-10 cop cars though between the scene and his arrest site. Seemed excessive 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (11:53 pm)

      Any idea where the original incident happened? With that location, it could have started somewhere east or south (outside WS)- which would explain why we didn’t hear anything and why nothing resembling that kind of call is showing in Tweets by Beat …

    • Get your facts straight May 30, 2020 (2:15 am)

      Angela SThat was NOT what happened – but way to go lying on the internet & inserting your opinion of the appropriate level of response. 

      • RH May 30, 2020 (8:40 am)

        So what did happen?

  • Glen Swangren May 30, 2020 (5:10 am)

    I use to live up the hill on 31st ave S.W. off of Brandon just north of high point.  Sorry to hear about the bridge.   How about the close the waterway and put a floating bridge across?  That would create a firestorm however maybe the best all around solution for everyone. 

    • Mark47n June 1, 2020 (10:42 am)

      It’s been said before and seems to require being repeated; you cannot close the Duwamish waterway, it doesn’t fall under Seattle jurisdiction but federal jurisdiction as a Navigable Waterway.  Freight to Alaska,  Crane derricks, freighters, barges and more use that waterway everyday even if you don’t see it.  What you really mean is that it’s the best solution for yourself.

  • Mads May 30, 2020 (8:35 am)

    I was waiting to get on to the low bridge at about 5pm or a little after. There was one officer directing traffic away from the bridge to Harbor Island. A few cars ahead of me, a white car kept driving toward the bridge (slowly). He drove toward the officer, who stood in the lane as he approached and gestured at the driver more forcefully. The car kept going, the officer went around the right side, lost his footing, and stumbled a bit. He didn’t go down. I saw him call for backup. By the time I’d turned around on Harbor Island (like three minutes) the car was abandoned on the tracks and the police were in full hot-pursuit mode. It wasn’t a roadblock, just a bridge closure. They weren’t looking for a carjacker, at least that’s not why traffic was being diverted. 

    • Donald May 30, 2020 (3:54 pm)

      We saw the whole thing from the bike lane. Car charged up the open bridge and drove thru the gates.  SPD chased him up to the end but the perp drove past the officer who had drawn his weapon. The Perp turned right at the bottom of the bridge and tried to do a U turn over the tracks but they stopped him dead. Perp spent a couple minutes retrieving stuff from the car before leaving on foot with officer in pursuit.

  • Brad May 31, 2020 (2:47 pm)

    Hi all, new to this forum. Just wondering your thoughts of opening the Upper Bridge to Motorcycles and Motor scooters. This would give people an option to get out of their cars and reduce the congestion. Of course a study would need to be done to consider this viable. We all know the powers to be wouldn’t concider such an option its to logical. If it’s not viable the low bridge should be closed. If  lightweight vehicle passage is to much for the bridge. I personally think it would help a lot. Yes I own a motorcycle, which I have to park and get Into my car and add to the problem due to the congestion that is at a minimum currently.

    • bolo May 31, 2020 (11:48 pm)

      Personally I would love the high bridge opened up again to all traffic. Wouldn’t that be great?

      However, recent inspections have revealed accelerated cracking, to the point to where the bridge is in danger of collapse even under its own weight.

      Currently, they are monitoring and measuring the cracking to see if they need to evacuate from the fall zone below.

      Do you want to be the one riding their scooter across when it collapses? 250+ foot fall.

    • J June 1, 2020 (11:17 am)

      Another option would be for motorcyclists and scooter riders to use the low bridge because we can easily move out of the way of emergency vehicles if needed and don’t cause any additional congestion for transit and essential workers. I’ve also been driving my car versus riding because sitting in the stop and go detour traffic has made riding too uncomfortable for me. 

Sorry, comment time is over.