(Added 4:46 pm: Archived meeting video)
The City Council Transportation Committee has just given unanimous approval to a funding source – intracity borrowing paid off by a bond sale – for the initial major costs of the West Seattle Bridge project. That followed an extensive briefing on what has transpired in the past almost-five months. First, here are some toplines of how that funding will work:
This money will cover program costs through the first quarter of next year – what will be needed beyond that, too soon to tell, but the just-announced design contractor should be able to come up with an estimate not long after the October repair-or-immediately-replace decision, SDOT says, while also stressing that partner funding is expected – federal, state, etc.
A final vote on the initial funding plan approved this morning (added: here’s the legislation) is set for the next full Council meeting on September 8th. This mornings discussion and vote followed a major briefing on various bridge-related matters, first official briefing for the council since shortly after the sudden shutdown of the bridge on March 23rd. First, SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe recapped what’s happened in the almost five months since safety concerns shut down the bridge, including the determination that repair is possible, while they have not yet determined whether it’s feasible.
SDOT’s WS Bridge program director Heather Marx also spoke, breaking down current work into three categories: On The Bridge, On The Ground, In The Community. The first list included yesterday’s announcement of HNTB as the contractor to design an eventual replacement (whether that needs to happen ASAP or a decade-plus down the road). She also updated the stabilization work (which Marx said will continue into “early winter”):
And the low bridge’s need for “strengthening” (“probably a 2-year project,” per Marx:
She also said in response to a question from Councilmember Lisa Herbold that no major low-bridge closures were likely because of that work.
Meantime, there was a preview of how low-bridge camera enforcement will work:
Meantime, “On The Ground” focused mostly on what detour-route improvements have been made so far:
And more are ahead, Marx noted in the Reconnect West Seattle overview – we expect to hear a lot more about that when the WS Bridge Community Task Force meets at noon today. Meantime, here are the In The Community toplines:
The committee meeting is continuing with non-bridge topics; when the meeting video is available later today, we will add it to this report.