TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday watch, 8th week of West Seattle Bridge closure

6:03 AM: Good morning – the 52nd morning without the high-rise West Seattle Bridge. If you are heading out – here are the cameras for the 5-way intersection and the restricted-access low bridge (where SPD enforcement continues):

Since the main detour route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map), we check it next, including the Michigan exit that takes you through Georgetown to I-5:

The other major bridge across the river is the South Park Bridge (map) – this camera shows you the approach:

Both bridges open for marine traffic; check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed for info about openings.

NEW CAMERAS: SDOT has added 6 more cameras, along 35th and Roxbury. Here are two of them:



You can see any and all local traffic cams, including the new ones in West Seattle, here.


Metro – Reduced schedule; reduced capacity; check here for next departure

Water TaxiReduced schedule continues

During the stay-home order, we’re not live-monitoring traffic, so please let us know what you’re seeing – comment or text (but not if you’re drivingl!) 206-293-6302.

28 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday watch, 8th week of West Seattle Bridge closure"

  • West Seattle Hipster May 14, 2020 (7:21 am)

    Any word on the RV fire this morning down by the 1st South Bridge?

    • WSB May 14, 2020 (10:54 am)

      Log shows a relatively short-lived call at 2nd/HP Way at 5:24 am. Nobody called or texted us about it so, no idea what it was.

  • West Seattle Indian May 14, 2020 (7:22 am)

    With the lower bridge running at less than 10% capacity, my estimate over past couple weeks as I have driven by daily at different times every day, why not put in times for all to use? Maybe from 8pm to 6am, before transit, trucks, an need for emergency access really matters, let everyone use?  The pollution and lost time, thereby lost wages, is killing West Seattle .  Leaders do you see what is happening?

    • Anne May 14, 2020 (10:42 am)

      How do folks not get the need for emergency vehicles to have access -emergencies aren’t on some schedule—are there going to be many times during a day when someone notices no traffic on lower bridge-sure. But it just takes one time of emergency vehicles being stuck in traffic -that could delay lifesaving services-guess some are ok with that-just so THEY can get somewhere.

    • sw May 14, 2020 (11:40 am)

      That is the excess capacity NOW, but that will change.  Once things open up, transit will pick up.  Freight will move more freely.  I anticipate the private transit coaches (Google, Microsoft, etc.) will be given permission to use the low bridge.  Starbucks and T-Mobile may begin private shuttle service to West Seattle.  This would be much harder to walk back later than establishing a standard and sticking to it.

      • Steve May 14, 2020 (9:37 pm)

        How are those company shuttle buses bad? How they different than city buses? Other than you don’t work for those companies- so you are hating!  They are efficient and personally I would like them to use to low bridge and not the rest of the road ways we do to get out of WS.  As far as ambulances and those buses- have you heard of Sirens?!? 

        • sw May 15, 2020 (8:23 am)

          @STEVE – are you referencing my comment?  Read again.  I am a proponent of NOT opening the lower bridge to any traffic that is not transit, freight and emergency vehicles.  I DO think that it should be open to private transit (aka company shuttles) as that is moving a large group of people, taking cars off the road and increasing capacity for Metro buses.  I would also be on board with motorcycles having access, as they will certainly be more at risk trying to use other roadways.  Notions of variable access times, “zone” usage, tolls, etc. will be unenforceable and serve only to empower those who think they are above the rest of us.  

    • bill May 14, 2020 (1:15 pm)

      Where do I make an ambulance reservation for a time and date not yet known?

  • Mark May 14, 2020 (7:32 am)

    I biked home yesterday past a police officer guarding a totally empty lower spokane street bridge.What if we told our elected officials to ration out access?January and February car tabs get access on Mondays……

    • AdmiralBridge May 14, 2020 (11:34 am)

      Why not variable rate-based tolling of the lower bridge a la the 405/tunnel?  Probably would be breathtaking at times ($25?) but could be a better mechanism to allocate unused capacity while still maintaining reasonable flow for emergency purposes.  Use the revenue to fund the new bridge.

      • Hank L May 14, 2020 (1:07 pm)

        I agree with snruB!  Rich people shouldn’t have to suffer on the detour route with all of their lessers.    

  • CarDriver May 14, 2020 (11:49 am)

    anne. Reality check. SPD and SFD have units available ON BOTH SIDES of the low bridge. It’s not like the bridge is the only way to get emergency vehicles to one side or the other. As far as traffic they seem able to respond during rush hour, how does that happen??

    • WSB May 14, 2020 (1:02 pm)

      There is plenty of cross-river traffic – SFD and AMR (plus Vashon medic calls from the ferry) to Harborview, specialty SFD units that are standard in major calls and are based on the other side of the bay, and more. Not at all a situation where you can just say ‘there are units on both sides.’

    • miws May 14, 2020 (2:13 pm)

      Cardriver, reality check, around 3:20 am on a  Saturday morning last month there was a major fire in an Admiral neighborhood. In addition to the specialty units WSB mentions, I counted at least 3, maybe 4, additional engines on the SFD 911 Log that likely would have come across the river along Spokane St. Granted, early on a Saturday morning, but what if the bridge had just been up for 10, 15 minutes or more, and what relatively little traffic that may have been waiting backed things up enough to severely hamper these units from getting across. What if the callout had been on a weekday, especially during a time when traffic is generally heavy?  —Mike

    • Rumbles May 14, 2020 (4:46 pm)

      Yeah, CarDriver, I’m sure you know all about the dispatch of emergency vehicles.  Give it up, the low bridge isn’t going to be used… not for some people, not for people with window clings not for anything but emergency vehicles, transit and freight.

  • CarDriver May 14, 2020 (12:08 pm)

    I might add that I’ve seen container trucks headed to Harbor Island backed up, bumper to bumper past 4th ave. COMPLETELY restricting access to Harbor Island. 

  • KBear May 14, 2020 (1:24 pm)

    They aren’t going to open the low bridge to general traffic, so you all can just give up on that idea. Are you new to Seattle? Do you not know that traffic jams can occur at any time of day, and for no particular reason? There is no schedule that can accommodate the volume of traffic created by private automobiles trying to cross the low bridge while keeping it open to emergency vehicles. Keep in mind it’s not just the bridge itself, but the connecting roadways also tend to back up.

    • sw May 14, 2020 (4:57 pm)

      Precisely.  Everyone talks about the bridge itself, but fail to mention the network of streets that feed into it.  If the bridge is open to all, there will be miles-long backups in several directions.  That is the real problem, not the bridge.

  • CarDriver May 14, 2020 (1:29 pm)

    WSB. That is correct. Guess my point is that I have heard sirens while sitting in heavy traffic and watched them get through. I’m not saying it has never happened but I’ve never seen, or heard of an emergency vehicle not being able to get where they needed to go because they couldn’t move.  I’ve seen them get VERY creative.

  • Mj May 14, 2020 (2:20 pm)

    The low level bridge has capacity for about 18,000 vehicles per day.  The restricted bridge use is roughly 2,000 vpd.  There is unused capacity that needs to be discussed.  Motorcycles could be easily added to use the bridge.  Also off peak usage needs to be discussed.  It is absurd not to use the capacity of the low level bridge to its fullest.  Tolling might be a way to both use the capacity and to raise revenue.  The revenue could then be used to pay for added bus service in WS

    • Rumbles May 14, 2020 (4:48 pm)

      It HAS been discussed, and the answer was NO.  Why is that so hard to understand?

  • Blang May 14, 2020 (3:42 pm)

    The big bridge should be used by emergency vehicles in the event of an emergency.  It’s not falling down.   sdot is parked up there all day long with multiple cars.  Turns out the high bridge would be just fine for an ambulance in an emergency. Low bridge should be open to normal people.

    • Rumbles May 14, 2020 (4:51 pm)

      This has been discussed, by normal people.  The answer was no.  

    • idk May 14, 2020 (8:48 pm)

      In the case the bridge did collapse, what if an ambulance was going across? What if you were in it and it collapsed? Now that would pose a big problem. 

      • Blang May 15, 2020 (9:22 am)

        What if you were below it on the low bridge?  Same problem.  The new mobile monitoring will let SDOT know if danger increases.  There are multiple cars on the bridge everyday.  It is common sense.  If it’s safe for them to be on it, it’s safe for anybody else in an emergency.  Below would be more dangerous I’m the event of a collapse.  

  • Sully May 14, 2020 (6:37 pm)

    Motorcycles should be allowed to use the low bridge. Almost every single day vehicles drift into my lane on Highland park avenue. Its only a matter of time until we see a serious head on collision on that road. We need some sort of barrier to prevent poor or distracted drivers from seriously injuring someone. Also is anyone monitoring the wear and tear from detouring vehicles on the other bridges to and from West Seattle?  Just a thought all that extra traffic I’m sure is costing its toll. 

  • steve May 17, 2020 (12:17 pm)

    what are the best times to go to west seattle via the detour routes?  obviously i will avoid rush hour traffic days and times.  i’m thinking sundays in the afternoons? thanks!

    • heartless May 17, 2020 (1:25 pm)

      Went to Beacon Hill from West Seattle around 4 on Saturday–heavy traffic in parts but no back-ups at all.  Came back around 5:30 and the only bit of traffic was going N on W Marginal Way @ Highland Park–traffic lights went through a couple rounds before we drove on thru.  But it wasn’t bad at all when we did it, fwiw.

Sorry, comment time is over.