WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Councilmember Herbold asks you – repair or replace? Plus, 3 other notes

(WSB photo)

West Seattle Bridge notes tonight as the mayor’s repair-or-replace decision nears:

COUNCILMEMBER’S POLL: West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold sent email tonight launching a survey to ask you – repair or replace? You can answer here. Her email announcing the survey recaps what SDOT presented at last week’s Community Task Force meeting (WSB coverage here), from the forthcoming Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA).

ABOUT THAT ANALYSIS: The day after the meeting, we asked SDOT if the full CBA document is available yet, or at least the missing cost-in-dollars projections. They replied today:

The final Cost-Benefit Analysis is not yet complete.

As you know, we are at zero percent design. We do not have exact cost estimates at this point and, from a Cost-Benefit Analysis perspective, it is more important to have apples to apples comparisons of the scale of various alternatives. The most critical aspect is understanding which options would likely cost more than the other to carry out (repair or replace) and which would be more costly over the long-run in terms of operations and maintenance. As we finalize the Cost-Benefit Analysis, we will be able to provide more detail on the conceptual cost estimates we have developed through the CBA process.

ABOUT THE CAUSE: Another followup question we asked was for elaboration on Technical Advisory Panel co-chair Barbara Moffat‘s mention during last week’s meeting that they now understand what went wrong with the bridge. Here’s the reply we got, also today: “While our confidence in our understanding of the physics affecting the bridge has grown with time as we’ve been able to test our advanced engineering modeling by watching the bridge behave as predicted in response to seasonal temperature changes and our initial stabilization efforts, it may never be possible to determine with 100% certainty a single underlying cause of the bridge cracking, or even if there was a single isolated cause.” We’ll keep following up.

STABILIZATION UPDATE: SDOT is posting stabilization updates every Monday; today’s edition is here. Key points include that the release of the stuck Pier 18 bearing might happen as soon as next week, as well as a note that those two work platforms under the bridge will likely be there until late November.

130 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Councilmember Herbold asks you - repair or replace? Plus, 3 other notes"

  • Lucky Day October 12, 2020 (8:07 pm)

    So they don’t know what caused it, they’re not sure what to do, and they don’t know how much it will cost?

    • Kyle October 12, 2020 (9:29 pm)

      I wish you weren’t right, but you are. Its sad that we don’t have any of these answers this 6+ months into the “emergency”.

    • Peter October 12, 2020 (9:52 pm)

      Kind of a metaphor for life. 

    • John October 12, 2020 (10:42 pm)

      And it took 6 months to get to the point of indecision.

    • FMC October 13, 2020 (7:14 am)

      It is not like they haven’t been busy with no sense of urgency.  There are new pedestrian crosswalk signs warning drivers exiting from the bridge to 35th.  No one would want a pedestrian to be hit by traffic that won’t be there for at least a year.  The competence and priorization of the city government is amazing.

    • Michael October 13, 2020 (10:48 am)

       They been told by the contractor who built the bridge that the bridge was overloaded and the prime suspect is overweight buses. Does anyone understand that Metro is destroying roads everywhere. The buses running are almost over weight before they are loaded with passengers.  Soon the lower level bridge will also have problems. Also they are setting up traffic cameras to issue tickets on the low level bridge.  Traffic will get worse as weather get bad. 

      • WS98 October 13, 2020 (9:32 pm)

        @Michael, not sure what you wrote makes sense  “The buses running are almost over weight before they are loaded with passengers.”?

      • Weight Problem October 14, 2020 (8:00 am)

        Fully Loaded Tractor Trailer 80,000 pounds.  Fully Loaded Concrete Truck 66,000 pounds. Fully Loaded Metro Bus 50,000 pounds. Fully Loaded Passenger Vehicle 5,500 pounds.Fully Loaded Bicycle 200 pounds

        • Big Buses October 14, 2020 (1:14 pm)

          The newest buses which were purchased in the early 2010’s, without passengers, nearly exceeded the weight limits in place already (I believe they were bought out of Chicago but may be mistaken). Not only that, the ‘weight’ and ‘passenger’ limits are exceeded every time the seats are full.  If you’ve ridden the bus in the morning out of West Seattle, you’ll know that often time there is standing room only.  At this point, the buses can exceed the City’s weight limits by thousands of pounds.  But, after acquiring the buses, do you know what was done?  The allowable weight limit was increased so these buses could be used. Source: UW Civil Engineering Department, Transportation/Construction Professors

    • TK October 13, 2020 (3:46 pm)

      Sounds about par for the course with City Council.

      • WS98 October 13, 2020 (9:36 pm)

        Ummmm…it’s SDOT’s analysis not city council

    • Mr. Me October 13, 2020 (9:59 pm)

      What’s the cost of lives? Just replace it. Why the need to take a poll. Use your leadership position to do the right thing. Passive aggressive council kind of decision.

  • CarDriver October 12, 2020 (8:42 pm)

    Lucky Day. You’ve summed it up perfectly.

  • WS Resident October 12, 2020 (8:44 pm)

    Is this for real? This is so very lazy of her…West Seattle deserves better representation. Do the work and then present the best/most informed option for us to get behind. Since the bridge closed it’s been “tell us all your ideas!”…this is not how any of this works.

    • tonenotvolume October 13, 2020 (11:36 pm)

      Of course you’d be complaining again if she hadn’t put out the survey. “We never had a chance to give feedback!” It’s a tough situation that will cost tons of money, so to do it right takes time. “Mom, Dad, when are we gonna get there?…” And for the rest of the complainers, maybe a vehicle-wide rope bridge could be built fast enough for you? You go first.

      • WS Resident October 14, 2020 (9:26 am)

        No, doing it right will take leadership. This is the opposite of leadership. It’s a pattern and we need better representation. 

  • Steve October 12, 2020 (8:45 pm)

    WHY aren’t they working 24/7 to get this fixed?  It’s not being treated with enough urgency…we’re dying over here. 

    • TK October 13, 2020 (3:47 pm)

      Well dying is a little dramatic. You’re being inconvenienced. You’re not dying, grow up.

  • Thai T Bui October 12, 2020 (8:46 pm)

    I believe the Full Replacement option is the best.  I don’t want a tunnel option because it will take longer and the environmental impact and the lengthy process and the cost is too much.  A superstructure replacement only fixes a portion of the bridge and we already know that the material used for the bridge is inferior and will likely mean the rest of the bridge is also not as well made as it should be.  I want a Full Replacement and this time, please don’t allow them to go to contract and get the lowest bid with the worst material and have us fail again.  I moved in West Seattle in 1998 and they were doing repairs on the bridge that felt like over 10 years while they redid the 4th ave offramp and added the first ave on-ramp.   Please make sure that you put a priority on this bridge.  This means that you should have over 100+ workers on it and not just have a small crew like other DOT projects and we wonder why it takes 10-20 years to get any DOT project finished.  We should have crews on that bridge 7 days a week and working on both ends.  If we can get big buildings done in 6 months by private contractors, why does DOT projects take decades?  It is because they always have a small crew and only work small bits of the roadway.  I’ve seen them set up road barriers on I5 but not have any workers for days/weeks or even when they do have workers on a 5 mile stretch, they are only doing one end of the 5 miles and the work crew is tiny. If they could devote more workers working on it it wouldn’t’ be close for the entire summer or months at a time.  We need better resource management at DOT.  Don’t have 1000 projects and spread all your people out when you could have more people on one project or 10 projects and then citizens don’t see 1000 unfinished projects but fast 10 projects.  DO IT RIGHT!!!

    • Tsenre45 45 October 13, 2020 (8:00 am)

      Thai,  You are mistaken in your opinion that the bid process means insufficient materials would be used.  These projects all have specifications for all of the materials used in the construction of the project.  All materials used are sampled, tested, and certified to meet the specifications.  The best way to handle the West Seattle bridge (in my opinion) is to have a bonus clause in the contract for finishing ahead of schedule.

    • alki_2008 October 13, 2020 (8:41 am)

      How do you that a tunnel, which would be an immersed tube (not a bored tunnel like what 99 is), would cost more?

      And why do you say it would take longer? Where did you find the timelines for the various options?

      I would prefer the ITT, because a large earthquake is inevitable and an ITT will resist seismic damage much better than a cement bridge.

      • WSB October 13, 2020 (5:32 pm)

        The very rough timelines were in our last Community Task Force meeting report. Linked in the story above.

    • DeAnne Huizenga October 13, 2020 (6:13 pm)

      I agree with the full replacement and ITT option.  In 1986 my Dad died on the West Seattle Bridge.  He was 49 years old.   Back then they called it the “killer bridge” because so many accidents happened on it.  He was driving a garbage truck for Bayside Garbage Disposal.  He was one exit away from being safe.  He was hit by a drunk driver.  At that time parts of the bridge were grated and became very slippery when it rained.  For safety please build a new bridge. 

  • AB83 October 12, 2020 (8:59 pm)

    Repair/or replace do whatever is the right thing for the future of West Seattle residents as far as the low bridge is concerned you need to give harbor Island workers back usage of it we are not trying to cut across It We are simply trying to access are job location

  • Pete October 12, 2020 (9:09 pm)

    It is difficult to answer this survey for me. They supposedly have completed the cost benefit analysis but have refused to release the cost figures. So your choices are a low cost repair or a high cost replacement. I have become a little gun shy in trusting our city government ( read SDOT) on how they have evaluated certain items. Remember these are the same folks that woke up 203 days ago and decided that was the day the bridge needed to be closed with no advance warning. Does anyone wonder the following: what if they repair the bridge and there is something else going wrong with it that we have not been told? If they have convened all of these experts that are on the TAP why won’t they tell us what caused the cracking and failure of the bridge. Color me skeptical. 

    • wetone October 13, 2020 (10:42 am)

      Pete your 100% .   We have city council/government asking the public what to do with basically zero real information. Curious why city is not asking their hired professional $$$$ consultants along with SDOT’s Bridge engineer group for answerers and getting to work. With money that has been and continues being spent on this issue we should know what the causes were and moving in a fix or replace mode by now. What’s the hold up ? Public has been driving on bridge since cracks were spotted 2013, lets see photos of those cracks and see how much they’ve grown since.  I’m seeing total incompetence from city and SDOT with way project has been handled to date, especially when they start asking public “What Should We Do”.  Do something that gets positive results and helps relieve traffic issues in/out of WS, especially when 1000’s of new unit’s are forecast to be built in WS. 

  • Beau Sitzmann October 12, 2020 (9:34 pm)

    COUNCIL MEMBER….Repair it now!!! 100,000 people a day…Minimum 1 hr added in commute time per day per person..Minimum wage @ 15.00 per hr..$1.5 million a day lost in wages ×5 days a week = $7.5 million dollars lost per week x 7 months = $210 million lost so far…so far….West seattle business owners are all asking the same question.. Where is our voice? Where is our representation? Why is our representative absent in our time of need?Please show us that you represent us. We are all waiting!!!!Vote to move on a repair…Thank you.

    • AA October 13, 2020 (9:47 am)

      Agree 1000%. These are real costs that people are paying right now through either reduced quality of life or reduced earnings. A study that only includes direct costs to the City is incomplete at best. Include the cost of our time, SDOT.

    • JVP October 13, 2020 (2:31 pm)

      Yep. Nailed it.

  • Junction Lady October 12, 2020 (9:35 pm)

    Is it possible to begin repairs now while simultaneously planning a replacement bridge?  This would give us a short & long term solution.

    • DumplingGirl October 13, 2020 (8:11 am)

      JunctionLady, this is exactly my opinion. Fix the existing bridge AND start work on a new bridge that can be built while the old one still stands. Do this at the same time. There is no other good way around this.

    • Chemist October 13, 2020 (12:23 pm)

      IIRC from some of the panel’s questions about hybrid approaches and timeframe to construct/if the bridge would be unavailable during construction (longer to get traffic back on bridge), apparently the replacement bridges were presumed to require the same alignment and weren’t considered to be off-alignment, except for the tunnel being off-alignment.  My opinion, repair for getting some time and then make  several years of investments in upgrading capacity and throughput along the detour.  I’m talking widening roadways, extending turn pockets near key intersections, and even constructing off-street bus stop pockets away from intersections.

      • Gatewoodres October 13, 2020 (7:46 pm)

        Agreed! They could at very least increase detour capacity + transit options in the meantime while planning and getting necessary permitting for replacement 

  • Joe Z October 12, 2020 (9:47 pm)

    Not sure how I can click anything other than “don’t know” without seeing the cost/benefit analysis. 

    • Rumbles October 12, 2020 (11:37 pm)

      @Joe Z. EXACTLY!  

      We are looking at very simplified slides and not able to see the whole picture.  It’s hard to decide between full replacement and partial replacement if you don’t know the whole picture.  

      While I appreciate the ability to put forth an opinion, it worries me a little that this comes down to a one-question, three-choice survey.  This should be a decision based on rational facts.  Not emotional impulses. 

  • Bridgeless in Seattle October 12, 2020 (9:59 pm)

    What the???? All these months with experts on this (supposedly) and the citizens are being asked what they think should be done? That’s ridiculous. Come to us with a plan. This isn’t a discussion about adding a new park or a community center. This is something that has massive impact over the quality of  life here.

  • Blbl October 12, 2020 (10:00 pm)

    Who should represent District 1 on Seattle’s City Council?

    1) someone who can make important decisions that affect the daily lives of everyone in the district;

    2) someone who does not waste time issuing ridiculous surveys;

    3) unsure/other

  • Beanie October 12, 2020 (10:11 pm)

    A survey, really? If the bridge experts don’t have enough information to make a decision, why on earth would we know the best option? Isn’t this why we pay people to be the experts? 

  • Vanessa October 12, 2020 (10:15 pm)

    Anyone know why the general public are using the low bridge during daytime hours? I’ve seen twice now a bunch of cars traveling off the low bridge into West Seattle before the overnight-opening hours.

    • Lisa October 13, 2020 (8:30 am)

      I know several people who still take the low bridge. The general feeling is that they pay too high of taxes to then be punished with a doubled commute time because of the ineptitude of the city to get this figured out. As a north admiral resident myself, can’t say I blame them for their frustration. I do take 1st Ave but I also don’t have a work commute.

    • alki_2008 October 13, 2020 (8:49 am)

      I know some people have come over from North Seattle and don’t know the options. They follow the sign off 99 that says “West Seattle” and that leads them directly toward the low bridge.  Not everyone throughout the region understands the closures, the high/low distinction, hours, etc.I’ve seen that one sign just before the light before the low bridge (westbound) that says to Exit if not transit or truck, but it’s not clear where the “Exit” is. Signage needs to be improved significantly!And I’ve heard people say the low bridge is open on weekends. Not sure where they got that info.

    • Katrina October 13, 2020 (8:59 am)

      That’s your folks with a sense of entitlement. They are taking a risk and may end up with tickets. The camera will be going in soon, and once it starts issuing actual tickets (Jan 1st) this won’t be an option without being ticketed 

  • Islandlife October 12, 2020 (10:15 pm)

    I would’ve liked option 3: repair the bridge and begin construction of the new bridge so we get moving again in 2022 and can ‘quickly’ (Seattle speed) convert to the new bridge once completed in 2040. :)

    • D October 12, 2020 (10:46 pm)


    • Onion October 13, 2020 (5:52 am)

      I filled out the survey although the result will be meaningless. The survey is merely a pr ploy by a council member who is clearly in over her head.  

  • John October 12, 2020 (10:28 pm)

    Seriously?After all these months you come up with a survey?

    Lisa, how about you open the upper bridge for emergency vehicles only?Allow commuters on the low bridge.Remove the lane restrictions on West Marginal, and 35th. Focus on getting cars in and out of West Seattle easier, instead of making it harder.

    If you can’t take a leadership role, resign.

    • Katrina October 13, 2020 (9:03 am)

      Curious, how would you propose restricting the upper bridge to emergency vehicles only? I think the only truly viable solution would be cameras at each entrance, with a fine hefty enough to completely deter other vehicles. However, the lower bridge wouldn’t stand up to the kind of load out would take on if it were opened up to general vehicular traffic 

      • Chemist October 13, 2020 (10:31 am)

        How about they install a gate that responds to those stoplight activators that fire trucks usually have?  Technically, they could also install the same cameras as the low bridge using the same justification for the high bridge, but I think the gate would be better at restricting to a single vehicle.

        • John October 13, 2020 (11:20 am)

          Good idea.

          And I’ll bet it didn’t take you 6 months to figure that out.

      • John October 13, 2020 (11:16 am)

        You restrict it the same way they have restricted the low level. Install cameras and make the fines cost prohibitive.
        Is that too complicated for you?

        The low level handles buses and semi’s, they weigh a lot more than cars.
        The focus from SDOT is aimed at reducing speeds and cutting lanes. Instead of moving cars in and out of West Seattle as efficiently as possible.

      • smittytheclown October 13, 2020 (1:24 pm)

        Pay people $15/hour to sit at each entrance and open the gate?  Worth every penny.

    • 1994 October 13, 2020 (10:35 pm)

      The SDOT is super focused on NOT restoring 35th and Roxbury to 2 lanes in each direction to increase capacity. They love tormenting the people who pay their salaries. It was just paint anyway to do the road diet per SDOT Jim Curtain…..so why not undo the road diet until the big bridge is operational again? That just makes too much sense. Does Jim Curtain still work for the SDOT?  He was the face of SDOT at community meetings on road diets.

  • Mj October 12, 2020 (10:38 pm)

    This is incredulous, the WSB is fixable and with foundation stablelization, per comment by the SDoT Director about a month ago, 40 years of service life could be attained. 

    Following the process and reading between the lines the City seems to be pushing the replacement option now and hope to get it paid for by third party funding to reduce City maintenance cost and other City cost.  It’s SDoT that failed to conduct the proper maintenance in the first place and now WS residents are being penalized for SDoT’s failure. Six years without decent access is not acceptable. 

    The economic cost of no bridge needs to be factored in, I estimate this at at least a quarter billion dollars a year in lost time productivity and other factors.

    Fixing the bridge needs to be done yesterday, if it was SR – 520 floating bridge serving similar traffic volume, do you think WSDOT would take years to fix it? With expedited work the bridge could be open by next Fall.  

  • CJH October 12, 2020 (10:54 pm)

    Why can’t the little bridge be used by all regular motor traffic and let the 18 wheelers have west marginal.  The commercial trucks are very much part of the traffic problem and the drivers must be very frustrated as well.  They can’t get into the traffic they block the intersections, and you can’t see around them when you’re on Michigan.  The 1st ave bridge
    is being abused.  Give the lower bridge to the commuters and let the engineers make the repair or replace decision!

    • Rumbles October 12, 2020 (11:42 pm)

      I almost wish they would do what you are saying.  It wouldn’t be more than 3 days of the low bridge being jammed up solid before “the commuters” would complain about the traffic.  Do you really believe that two lane bridge can handle even today’s pandemic level of traffic?  Please, be reasonable. 

      • Andy October 13, 2020 (11:15 am)

        What does it mean to “handle” traffic? Let commuters make their own decision. The bridge would be better served by not having 50,000lb semi trucks go over it. My mid-size sedan is 10x lighter.The lower bridge is paid by my taxes, I deserve to use it.  9pm-5am is just absolutely useless, at the very least allow early commuters < 7am and late night commuters after 6pm to use it. 

      • John October 13, 2020 (11:23 am)

        The commuters have been complaining for 6 months already.Where have you been?

  • Alki resident October 12, 2020 (11:12 pm)

    You want our opinion? Ok, give us the lower bridge back. No cameras, no tickets. I’m sick of hitting the first Ave bridge when it’s going up. 

  • Seabruce October 12, 2020 (11:22 pm)

    Is it possible it was weakened because it wasn’t designed for all the stop and go traffic during rush hour each way?Can they stabilize it enough to allow for one lane each way and meter it so there’s no standing traffic on the span?

    • Dan October 13, 2020 (9:01 am)

      This is a good idea!

  • dsa October 12, 2020 (11:26 pm)

    Repair or replace is not a mayor/council, community decision unless those options have equal weight, which seems highly unlikely.  This should be an engineering decision.

  • Katherine Lacoste October 12, 2020 (11:29 pm)

    PLEASE Replace the bridge with a permanent bridge! Do not patch it do not build a tunnel do not take the cheapest option for the sake of cost, but choose quality design, construction, snd material. Do not waste any more time and money thinking about it. A quality long term replacement is the most efficient use of taxpayers money in the long run. Get busy!I say this as I listen to excessive rerouted traffic roaring next to my house from the lack of our bridge. It’s deafening and I know a permanent replacement will undoubtedly take longer, but anything done correctly is worth waiting for. The clock is ticking while nothing is happening. Thank you, Katherine Lacoste a lifetime resident of 5 generations in WS

  • Rob October 12, 2020 (11:38 pm)

    Herbolds survey before any real $cost benefit info is available is exactly the lack of critical thinking/planning and uninformed leadership she has demonstrated consistently on a huge range of important issues.  We deserve better council representation.

  • Alki resident October 12, 2020 (11:59 pm)

    I filled out the survey but what a WASTE of time! Fix the bridge already! Then figure out the long term solution(s). Sometimes I wonder if it’s really not as bad as SDOT says but they don’t want to look like idiots so they keep dragging their feet. It should never be one or the other. Who in their right mind wants to wait 10 years for another bridge. Marginal is horrible even during a pandemic, normalcy will return. And then where will we be??? 

  • Dawson October 13, 2020 (6:03 am)

    Yeah let’s ignore what the experts doing the analysis of the structure suggest and leave the decision to the masses. That’ll make this happen so much faster. CM Her old you were elected to do a job, one at which you you appear to not be qualified to occupy.

  • flimflam October 13, 2020 (6:24 am)

    i feel like our city “leaders” (council and mayor) have so little experience in handling real life problems that they are in way over their heads here and with most other big problems the city is facing.

    • alki_2008 October 13, 2020 (8:56 am)

      It probably wouldn’t be so bad of the Mayor and City Council worked together, but instead they have different ideas and clash so often that it feels like city residents have to pay the price. The last city council election was very disappointing, across multiple districts.

  • Delridge Resident October 13, 2020 (6:26 am)

    This survey is a joke, right? I agree with Beanie: “If the bridge experts don’t have enough information to make a decision, why on earth would we know the best option? Isn’t this why we pay people to be the experts?”

    • Frog October 13, 2020 (12:28 pm)

      Agree.  The survey would make much more sense if it was about the city council.  Repair or replace?  Average citizens would have much more well-grounded opinions on that question.

  • Smittytheclown October 13, 2020 (6:48 am)

    This is where we are after SIX months?  Is this some kind of joke?

  • maddad October 13, 2020 (7:33 am)


  • Sillygoose October 13, 2020 (7:40 am)


  • We need both/and, not either/or. October 13, 2020 (7:57 am)

    The survey options are to Repair or to Replace (or to choose Not sure/other). Please consider the following “both/and” response instead of the proposed “either/or” options.

    Repair the bridge now and build light rail, and once light rail is built, then close and replace the bridge. Repair *and* replace.

    Waiting until we have mass transit that is capable of moving people effectively (i.e. light rail) will drastically reduce the “pain” of closing the bridge for a lengthy replacement. Repairing now gives us time to build the light rail. Conversely, closing the bridge for a lengthy replacement now without light rail will have major impacts on the businesses and properties in West Seattle — more than what we are already experiencing with the pandemic.

    Either/or is not the only option. Please consider both/and. If we repair now, we will need to replace later anyway. Repair *and* replace — and build light rail prior to replacement. The ST plan was to have West Seattle connected by 2030 anyway.

    • Robert Harn October 13, 2020 (9:03 am)

      I find it interesting to re ad all of the comments, some good some bad some totally ridiculous .   As a structural engineer who has read the studies,   The simplest explanation regarding the bridge issues is that the original designers  followed the codes at the time but  We now know there should have been more  reinforcement in the bridge  particularly  and it should have been arranged  differently.   In addition the prestressing tendons  should have  terminated over a longer length of bridge.   Bottom line is this,   If you reconstructed  the bridge in its current configuration per the original  plans , and added more reinforcement to prevent the cracking issues and provided supplemental earthquake reinforcement in the new columns and superstructure at the columns and strengthened the foundations per the latest seismic codes you would have a perfectly good bridge It’s really no more complicated than that.   This would be the the most economical solution to satisfy the latest codes and could be constructed in the shortest timeframe (Including permitting) with minimal  work on the approaches on both sides of the bridge.  There are variations to this of course such as a lighter steel superstructure to reduce seismic work on the foundations.   Robert Harn PE, SE retired

      • Job Well Done October 13, 2020 (2:20 pm)

        Thank you for stating this Robert!   And just wish more common sense like this could be applied to a solution rather then trying to make the bridge fit an entirely new set of criteria.    If they apply their way of doing things, every bridge would be out of date each time a new code comes out and our entire infrastructure would be in a mode of perpetual replacement.   Why should this bridge be held to a higher standard!   Your solution seems to be the logical solution based on work needed, money spent, and impact to surroundings.    Even if they deem this a 5- 10 year fix, it’s a good fix that get’s us open and they can argue of a 50year bridge then.   

      • Stuck in West Seattle October 14, 2020 (2:46 pm)

        Did you per chance see the wood design that someone proposed that I think would use the existing footings and could be made with locally sourced prefabricated parts? It looked super cool and appeared to be a good idea and could cut the time to build down dramatically. I am curious your thought on that? Thanks!https://westseattleblog.com/2020/07/imagine-a-west-seattle-bridge-replacement-partly-built-of-wood/


  • Jim Boyle October 13, 2020 (7:57 am)

    The I-35 bridge, an 8 lane bridge heading into Minneapolis,  over the Mississippi River collapsed in 2007. Within ONE YEAR construction was completed for an award winning replacement bridge. Wikipedia:    “  Mn/DOT announced on September 19, 2007, that Flatiron Constructors and Manson Construction Co. would build the replacement bridge for $234 million.[167] The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge was opened to the public on September 18, 2008, at 5 a.m.[168] Using the innovative design-build project delivery method, the replacement bridge opened over three months ahead of schedule, and was awarded the “Best Overall Design-Build Project Award” for 2009 from the Design-Build Institute of America.”   

    • alki_2008 October 13, 2020 (9:00 am)

      If only the West Seattle bridge could be flat, like your example bridge.  It’s an apples-and-oranges comparison.

    • sw October 13, 2020 (1:53 pm)

      The only similarities between the I-35W Bridge and the WS Bridge is that they both use the word “bridge” and let people cross over a body of water.  All the rest could not be more different.

      • Rumbles October 13, 2020 (2:40 pm)

        Totally agree, two different kind of structures.  

    • JVP October 13, 2020 (2:39 pm)

      There a lots of differences between the bridges. One of them being that the West Seattle Bridge is in Seattle. It’s been 200 days, I’d give them another 200 to figure out the process for coming up with a decision. Process is important. Let’s not move forward in haste, that might be efficient. Can’t have that.

  • Blang October 13, 2020 (8:00 am)

    1 REPAIR is the only sound choice. It will give is the bridge to use in 1.5 yrs.Anyone who wants a total replacement is nuts.  You are giving SDOT a blank check to build and maintain something they already ROYALLY SCREWED UP.2.  SDOT said last week they knew the cause of the bridge failure.  This clarification is CYA.  They either misrepresented last week or they are misrepresenting now.  Either way this is more reason to REPAIR.

  • Nidhi October 13, 2020 (8:20 am)


  • Ahabg October 13, 2020 (8:39 am)

    I’d like to reiterate what others have said.  This survey idea is idiotic.  Present the facts, show us the cost of each plan, stop hiding the information.  West Seattle needs a bridge now.

  • skeeter October 13, 2020 (8:50 am)

    The city has had 7 months and millions of dollars to study
    the problem and get expert advice and recommendations.  Now it’s almost time to make a decision, and Ms.
    Herbold is asking for the opinion of folks with no training, no expertise, no
    understanding of timelines, and no idea how financing would work to weigh in
    with their opinion.  Please tell me this
    is some sort of joke. 

  • anonyme October 13, 2020 (8:51 am)

    I don’t recall Lisa needing a survey to defund police.  Odd, that.  This is a pathetic delay tactic that accomplishes nothing except to wave a giant flag reading “INCOMPETENCE”!!

  • Mj October 13, 2020 (8:51 am)

    If this was SR – 520 carrying similar traffic volumes, WSDOT would have fast tracked ascertaining the issue and have the repair work underway with incentives to get it done yesterday!

    Following the process, I sensed SDoT pivot from the repair to replace that I believe is due to how much the City has to pay, higher maintenance cost, versus 3rd party funding.  The bridge is repairable and per prior SDoT comment with foundation stablelization 40 years of service life could be attained.  

    Repairing the bridge is the best option to reduce economic impact to WS residents, businesses and the Port of Seattle.  These are critical factors that must be a part of the equation!

  • Joan October 13, 2020 (8:56 am)

    This was the worst survey I’ve ever seen. All I could  reply was “not sure.” There was no space for comments. All I can say, whichever is quickest and safest.  Asking our preferences is fine, but we are not equipped with all the facts to make the right decision. Obviously, we all want it done YESTERDAY, Lisa. I agree with no tunnel though. Just get us a flipping bridge in this decade. 

  • SDOT Broke Now Fix It October 13, 2020 (8:57 am)

    SDOT broke the bridge.  They didn’t maintain it.  Maintenance isn’t sexy, like building a $1 billion bridge is sexy.SDOT has no structural engineers, but it put a bus lane on one side of the bridge. Tons of extra bus weight that sometimes is parked or drives 5 miles an hour, for hours a day, every weekday.  Bet the bridge wasn’t designed for that.  Bet that harmed the structure.  They broke it, they need to fix it. 

  • Need New Leadership October 13, 2020 (9:07 am)

    It has been more than 200 days and we continue to watch small businesses close, friends and neighbors move away, and our quality of life plummeting as we sit in  traffic that grows exponentially worse by the week. Street signals on key streets that could have been altered months ago to facilitate better traffic flow remain unchanged and rather than looking at other solutions for residents what we got from Herbold and the City was traffic cameras on the low bridge—surveillance before solutions! This survey is a slap in the face to all residents of West Seattle who are forced to sit by and watch our beloved community disintegrating because some bureaucrats refuse to factor the community’s suffering into the equation. Do your jobs and repair the bridge already! Herbold, Zimbabwe, Durkan- you have let us down in every conceivable way and this survey is just another glaring example of this. 

  • Steve S October 13, 2020 (9:29 am)

    Typical Seattle Councilperson. Let’s just do what the public thinks they want, whether it’s the right thing to do or not…just like defunding the police.

  • Jon Wright October 13, 2020 (9:43 am)

    West Seattle Blog commenters before: “Councilmember Herbold doesn’t care what we think!” West Seattle Blog commenters in response to Councilmember Herbold publishing a poll to get feedback about what people think: “We need leadership, not a poll!”

    • Peter S. October 13, 2020 (10:36 am)

      Both are true.  a)  She doesn’t care.  The purpose of this poll is to give us the illusion that something is being done.  b)  Beanie’s comment is spot on.  Why ask us, when most of us are only qualified to give an opinion?  Have experts lay out the options, timelines, costs and recommendation, and make a decision.  This is akin to Boeing putting out a poll to ask the public what they should do about the 737 MAX. 

      • Jon Wright October 13, 2020 (12:42 pm)

        I  don’t know what you are talking about. People commenting here seem to think they are SUPREMELY qualified to decide what the problem was and what to do going forward.

        • Peter S. October 13, 2020 (3:13 pm)

          It’s a blog, so we’re all free to comment and provide opinions within the guidelines set by the editor(s).  That includes your right to be supportive of CM Herbold and dismissive of other commentators here.  Although, I don’t understand why you’d want to do the latter, especially if you’re the same Jon Wright who’s on the WSTC Board?

      • Nikolaus October 13, 2020 (12:54 pm)

        Peter S is very right

  • Sarchka October 13, 2020 (9:53 am)

    If you want to do a poll, do it properly.  Give context, including real numbers and tradeoffs.  This is useless.

  • Ken October 13, 2020 (9:55 am)

    I cannot wait to finally leave Seattle and move to a real city.  Somewhere that’s somewhat progressive, but doesn’t shove it down our throats.  Somewhere that’s not consistently anti-auto.  Somewhere that actually has a mayor and city council who have integrity and even a minuscule amount of common sense – not a bunch of spineless urchins who pander to the lowest/least popular demographic.  What a complete and absolute mess Seattle has become.  So sad and what’s worse – totally unnecessary.  Unless you’re homeless or a rich millennial, this city cares nothing whatsoever about you or your problems  or your quality of life: property taxes too high – too bad; commute too long – get a bike or take a bus (oh wait, can’t take a bus because there’s no bus stop less then one mile from your home); the list goes on and on.  But nobody cares because the same ‘types’ of people continually are getting elected by a public who, for the most part, put their head in the sand and refuse to think that they might actually make a difference if they took time to educate themselves about the current issues and what’s happening here daily.  

    • Thank you Ken October 13, 2020 (9:56 pm)

      Ken, I could not agree more. Well said!  

  • Dunno October 13, 2020 (10:10 am)

    I can’t help but think:”Good enough for Government work”.  I like the calm on 35th and Fauntleroy, but do feel bad for those that need to get somewhere other than WS or south. Btw, I think she may be to busy trying to defund our police and oust our mayor. She’d be a great mayor!

  • Mr C Vu October 13, 2020 (10:25 am)

    Does the City have something akin to the Freedom of Information Act citizens can use to release the cost data? “Zero percent design” is not accurate. These are 10 percent designs at least. This is enough to do an apples to apples comparison with parametric data to do a full cost benefit with a healthy contingency for unknowns. This is HNTBs bread and butter. All it takes is for Mayor  Dirken Ms Marx and Mr Zimbabwe to ask for one and they will have their top people get right on it.  Still no data on economic impact and no intention of coming up with an estimate before a decision is made? Come on people!

    • Anonyme October 13, 2020 (1:19 pm)

      Yes, you can absolutely put in a public disclosure request.  I would be surprised if this hadn’t been done already.  Media etc. get lots of info that way. 

      • Chemist October 13, 2020 (7:25 pm)

        In one of the earlier meetings about how the cba would be calculated, the speaker from the hired firm did acknowledge they had rough cost estimates that were being filled in but it was sdot that decides if those estimates get shared.  Marx then interjected that they would be shared eventually (which leads to the presumption it would be released with the cba) but they didn’t want to share it with the advisory group until ready because estimates used internally could be shielded from public records requests under deliberative process exemption.  I suspect dollar signs in the cba are just extending that protection.  If the totals are shared with the panel then they have been shared externally from city employees.

  • Marc October 13, 2020 (11:21 am)

    Do we know when the survey closes? Please fill it out multiple times a day and get your voices heard. I’m submitting my response at least 20x a day! We want it repaired now.

  • Jim October 13, 2020 (11:27 am)

    Considering a replacement bridge would take at least 6 years or longer and cost more, the repair option is the best option when including peoples time wasted on the detour.  No one really knows the life of a repaired bridge vs. a new bridge.  Stop the guessing and proceed with the repair.

  • wseaturtle October 13, 2020 (11:31 am)

    I suggest we fire everybody and just use the bridge as is.  If it falls while I’m on it,  so be it.

  • jmc October 13, 2020 (11:39 am)

    This is sooooooooooo our Seattle City Council with an embarrassing survey asking  residents to vote on something while providing ZERO data, costs, time it will take, life expectancy, etc., etc., etc.  Is that how the SCC is voting?  6mo+ into the investigation and this is what they come out with.  Great job, well done.

  • Wade October 13, 2020 (11:50 am)

    Residents and business owners demand the city cut property and business taxes in half until the bridge is reopened.

  • Answer as many times as you like October 13, 2020 (1:12 pm)

    Regardless of the content of the survey.  Unfortunately, it is not secure and will not provide accurate data.  Anyone can fill out the survey as frequently as you like with any answer you like.  I am sorry that the Councilmember or staff don’t know how to use tools that could collect more accurate information.  Their data illiteracy is evident but not unique.  I hope they can learn from it.

  • KATIE J BLANCHARD October 13, 2020 (1:31 pm)

    I want it repaired and I want a private contractor  to do it. 

  • Laura Lovell October 13, 2020 (1:43 pm)

    Leave it to professional engineers who specialize in bridge projects, ones who have no stake in the game. (?Army Corps of Engineers  , although they have sometimes made bad decisions, it’s true).  Like with COVID 19, we need to listen to people who know more than we do.  And follow their recommendations.If the science geeks had been in charge for the pandemic, how much better off would we be now?   This is the same kind of situation.

  • Job Well Done October 13, 2020 (1:49 pm)

    I’m not sure why people think Lisa and the rest of the council have not done enough!  She / they have assembled and are monitoring many committees to talk about this.  Made restricting and choking down what little access we have off this island and implementing as many ways as they can to fine us for trying to leave a priority.  Not to mention time spent on long winded emails that spin in circles and say nothing of productive value.  She / they have done so much to get us where we are now.  Which is NO WHERE except staying at home and watching our businesses suffer and friends leave.   Get it OPEN now and waste your own time on the long term solution because at the rate your going, your term will be up, and we still won’t have a solution.  (Except for maybe a 4 option survey)    

  • DumpLisa October 13, 2020 (2:29 pm)

    Haaaa!!! Herbold is THE EPITOME of a feckless politician lacking the ability to lead. She is unwilling to admit repair is the only reasonable solution so she posts a google doc vote???Lisa..sweetie…fix the bridge. This is as easy as it gets. :)You can do it Lisa! Just fix the bridge and walk away  

  • Ida October 13, 2020 (2:52 pm)

    Big F This thing! I am moving out. Commute is terrible and going out of Fauntleroy anywhere is a pain! Starting from driving Holden to get to Marginal Way and then through Georgetown… I can’t imagine how it is for people that have to take Marginal Way from North West Seattle to get to the stupid bridge… 

  • Bob M October 13, 2020 (3:03 pm)

    Repair the high level bridge and get it back into service as soon as possible. It needs to be in service, even if  at a lower level of capability.Get all the data required to design and fund a new crossing, that will take a considerable amount of time.I have heard no discussion of the immersed tunnel option that was proposed in the Westside Seattle newspaper, May 1, 2020, by Bob Ortblad, Civil Engineer. Has it been considered and dropped, Ignored or is being studied? This type of tunnel has been used in several places around the world, Vancouver BC, Japan, Hong Kong and others. It seems to me to be a reasonable option.

    • ME October 13, 2020 (3:35 pm)

      The Tunnel option has been discussed at length.  Check out the most recent task force meeting etc.  

  • My two cents ... October 13, 2020 (6:06 pm)

    What was the purpose of that survey? It was the equivalent of do you like ice cream or do you like cake? No reference to time frames. No reference to cost. No reference as to who will pay. Is this an effort to have “community involvement“ by Councilmember Herbold? Check that box. What a complete and utter waste of time and dollars to prepare the assessment and do the subsequent report. 

  • dchadeau October 13, 2020 (6:26 pm)

    All these people blaming the bridge failure on CM Herbold are probably the same folk who also voted for $30 car tabs to gut a lot of the state funding for Sound Transit and other projects.  People keep forgetting that we also have the most self-serving mayor in recent history, as well.  

    • JVP October 13, 2020 (7:10 pm)

      It’s not Herbold’s fault that the bridge failed. She is certainly culpable for a lack of urgency in coming to a solution. So is Durkan, who I actually respected for standing up to the council. But Durkan is also showing a lack of urgency. We want to see our leaders demanding fast action. We’re getting slow process, which is typical for Seattle.. We can do better, but some politician needs to make the rest of city leadership uncomfortable for us to move faster. They all seem quite comfortable with the current pace. 

  • Millie October 13, 2020 (7:27 pm)

    Really after six months plus of emails, phone calls, blog comments you still need to have a survey completed?  We need a bridge!  There are many qualified, professional civil engineers and firms that can design and build a new bridge.  Speaking only for myself, why are Seattle bridges and, specifically the West Seattle Bridge, not maintained?  Were the original bridge documents reviewed for weight-bearing specifications, prior to adding a bus lane and allowing heavy-load trucks on the upper bridge.  The onus is really on City government to find the funds to proceed with construction of a new bridge and provide maintenance funds.  In light of Council and Mayoral action this summer, we are now aware monies can be found if you have a vocal constituency.

  • Gatewoodres October 13, 2020 (7:54 pm)

    We’d have plenty of money to fix the bridge and build a new one if we weren’t paying beat cops $300,000/year 

  • Time Matters October 14, 2020 (8:11 am)

    The Golden Gate Bridge took 4 years to build… in the 1930’s!The newest Tacoma Narrows Bridge 4.5 years.The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge 5 years.Why have estimates to replace this bridge been 10 Years?

    • WSB October 14, 2020 (10:33 am)

      The rough current estimates in the Cost-Benefit Analysis information presented so far are 6 years, except for the immersed-tunnel option, which was projected at 10 years.

  • William Gibb October 14, 2020 (9:17 am)

    I am concerned that not enough focus is placed onto the everyday needs of working people. I live in Admiral near the bridge and I work in North Lake Union. It takes me 1hr+ each way to go to work and the gas expense adds up. At my senior age I cannot go out and find a new job. How can I keep this up for the number of years a new bridge would take to build? I am also concerned that the value of my home will go down which I need to be able to retire. Repair and start a plan for future replacement at a reasonable rate seems the only answer that will help others like myself both short term and long term.

  • Jon October 14, 2020 (9:36 am)

    Costs aside (a big aside), repair now and replace after light rail is built. A long closure for repair will be a lot less painful if we have light rail connecting WS to the rest of Seattle.

  • TR October 14, 2020 (9:51 am)

    I wonder if the tunnel downtown caused the problems with the pier since the ground there is unstable as I learned in my oceanography class at UW. What will be impacted in a similar way of you build a tunnel to West Seattle? Additionally don’t do the illogical thing they did downtown and put in a replacement tunnel with less lanes and exits than the road being replaced. What a waste of money. Backed up every time I get in that thing.

  • peter r October 14, 2020 (8:31 pm)

    repair and plan for replacement

  • Joel Aro October 16, 2020 (8:12 am)

    Repair the council,  Evict Herbold!!!  Repair and plan to replace the bridge.

  • Sass October 17, 2020 (1:22 am)

    There should have been lightrail line to West Seattle long time ago! Definitely before the lightrail connection to freaking Bellevue!

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