‘Reconnect West Seattle’ and other bridge-related updates @ Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council

While SDOT decides whether/how to replace the closed-since-March West Seattle Bridge, it’s also working on how to move people off/onto the peninsula in the meantime. Last night’s Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council meeting revealed that effort now has a name.

“Reconnect West Seattle” debuted as PPNC got a bridge briefing from SDOT’s project leader Heather Marx (who repeated her commitment to brief anyone any time anywhere). Some of it recapped what’s been reported to date:


Marx noted again that the big decision – is the bridge fixable or not? – is getting closer. But in the meantime, with the “stay-home order” over and gradual “reopening” under way, it’s time to shine the spotlight on traffic “mitigation.” So that’s where “Reconnect West Seattle” comes in, both as a peninsula-wide plan “with ambitious mode-split targets” and as a collection of neighborhood-specific strategies – which, as we’ve reported before, will focus on four areas:

“Community priorities are going to need to inform all those plans” – in other words, the prioritization process that we’ve also noted previously:

Your chance to weigh in should happen before long – here’s the timeline:

In subsequent discussion, Marx mentioned one other timeline point: We should hear by the end of the month about some changes in low-bridge access, as has been hinted.

Q&A: Are the cracks still growing? Yes, but “the bridge is not in imminent risk of failure.” That said, it’s not stable enough to, for example, carry emergency traffic. (Yes, vehicles are on it – the SDOT crews doing work such as inspections.)

Is the low bridge compromised? No – the recent closures were to repair and upgrade its communication technology, not for mechanical/structural problems.

Is SDOT going to take a serious look at the “immersed-tube tunnel” proposal? Yes, said Marx, the tunnel idea is “very much in play,” and n fact the Request for Qualifications for a potential bridge-replacement design team has been amended to reflect that. “We will absolutely investigate the tunnel as an option.”

So what’s next?

West Marginal Way improvements will largely be for freight, she said. The signal work is to continue expanding what can be adjusted in real time, remotely, from SDOT HQ. And the two advisory groups are beginning their work – the Technical Advisory Panel has its first meeting today, and the Community Task Force has its first meeting tomorrow.

(PPNC also got an update on Terminal 5, with Port of Seattle reps – we’ll write that up separately.)

16 Replies to "'Reconnect West Seattle' and other bridge-related updates @ Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council"

  • ACG June 9, 2020 (12:55 pm)

    Do they ever offer any data points on exactly how much the cracks are still increasing?  I keep hearing them say “yes, the cracks are increasing”. But what is it?  0.25 inches per week, 2 inches per week, 5 inches per week?

  • Rick June 9, 2020 (1:48 pm)

    I think they’ll need to appoint a few more committees and get back to you.

    • West Seattle Hipster June 9, 2020 (2:21 pm)

      Haha, exactly!   We need more people on the committee, and a few subcommittees as well. 

  • ARPigeonPoint June 9, 2020 (2:42 pm)

    I’m really happy to see they’ve added the immersed-tunnel option to the table. 

  • Sillygoose June 9, 2020 (2:50 pm)

    Good Grief!!! Still have secured a contractor to build this bridge at least hopefully you have learned your lesson about hiring a friend to build a structure that failed 10 years before it’s maximum life.  Share plans with community!!! Why you have a panel of “experts” why delay with community input, get this thing built.  The Chinese are the worlds best bridge builders shit half of down town is china owned I’m sure you can network this job!

    • OMG June 9, 2020 (4:32 pm)

      It failed 35 years before it’s max life. Seattle will likely spend more time building and fixing it than using it. The bus lane was a terrible idea. Caused massive traffic and broke the bridge. Should have made it HOV like every other city on earth. Hey Seattle – stop trying to lead on issues – your failures actually hurt the cause. 

      • Bob June 10, 2020 (4:27 am)

        No, the bus lane did not break the bridge. Please don’t repeat known falsehoods. 

  • A. June 9, 2020 (3:22 pm)

    Yes, I think we need to by-pass a lot of this community involvement in this. This is an emergency situation. This is not a political race. Do things to fix the issue, do not create more problems by asking the community what should be done. It just confuses the issue.

  • SDOT? June 9, 2020 (3:38 pm)

    The bridge is at zero risk of failure. Zero. But no one can use it. How very Seattle. “Over abundance of extreme caution.” This city has failed itself dramatically since its hey-day. 

    • WSB June 9, 2020 (5:20 pm)

      They did NOT say the brisk is at ZERO risk of failure. The quote was, not in IMMINENT risk of failure

      As for the other commenter who asked about the actual growth in cracks, the explanation is that crack growth isn’t the only thing that factors nto the bridge condition. So they can’t just say “oh, crack X is now Y inches long, time to evacuate everyone.”

  • JVP June 9, 2020 (7:38 pm)

    We need to form a committee to investigate whether having all these committees is helping us get a functional bridge.  And of course another committee to come up with how much to pay city staff to manage all the committees. This city is committed. 

  • Denise June 9, 2020 (8:52 pm)

    Fix it.  Open the little bridge during rush hour. Let emergency vehicles use big bridge.  Please Seattle STOP with all this crap. Find a way to get us off this island. 

    • John June 9, 2020 (10:05 pm)

      Peninsula, not an island. You can drive south, then, if you time it right, back north. Or you can just drive southward until satisfied. 

  • SuperAwesome June 10, 2020 (8:09 am)

    Is making the right lane from Highland Park Way to West Marginal a right turn only signal on the table?  The traffic there has been backing up even during the full shut down.

  • Bronson June 15, 2020 (9:38 am)

    @WSB – any ETA on the Port’s Terminal 5 presentation? Thanks so much!

    • WSB June 15, 2020 (9:58 am)

      There wasn’t much to it – I’m combining it with a few points from Port Commissioner Steinbrueck’s speech to the WS Chamber last Thursday. Tonight, I hope.

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