VIDEO: Hours after announcing West Seattle Bridge repair decision, mayor talks with Community Task Force

Continuing our coverage of today’s announcement that the West Seattle Bridge will be repaired (WSB coverage here), the advisory Community Task Force is meeting with Mayor Durkan to hear/talk more about her decision. She had promised the CTF would get word first, and they indeed had a quick briefing just before this morning’s public announcement. Video is above; we’ll add notes as this goes.

3:45 PM: “We needed to have a reasonable level of certainty,” the mayor said, in recapping her decision (see our earlier story for more on the reasons). After her statement, it’s on to SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe, who reiterates that the stabilization work done so far – which had to be done regardless of which path was chosen – is “performing well.” Though the repairs will not be “complex,” as discussed at this morning’s event, they are still “challenging,” he said, and need to be designed and planned carefully – “we can’t skip steps.” But “we’ll do everything we can to accelerate (the estimated) timelines,” which as reported earlier suggest the repair work will be completed in “mid-2022.”

He also says the $50 million listed in the briefings as funding “traffic mitigation” will cover the cost of “transit investments” too.

3:55 PM: Now, task-force members get a chance at Q&A. Marci Carpenter asks about the conflict between “repaired bridge could last 40 years” and “maybe build a multimodal bridge incorporating Sound Transit,” which would be launched sooner. She also asked about federal-funding likelihood, absent a “falling-down” bridge. The mayor said she still plans to seek federal funding to.help with repairs but unlike rapid-span replacement, that won’t delay the work.She says she has confidence in “our federal delegation’s ability to get funding.” (West Seattle-residing US Rep. Pramila Jayapal sent a news release, in fact, reiterating two possibilities.)

Deb Barker asked where the maintenance/operations money will come from, and what kind of permits are needed for repairs. For the former, Durkan said they need to look “holistically” – not just at the $20 vehicle-license fee that councilmembers proposed. For the latter, Zimbabwe said they’re not sure yet but it’s “not expected to hold us up in the process we’re going through.” Diane Sosne worried about unanticipated delays and using “good money now” to do something that might not last. The mayor stressed that restoring mobility is vital to protect jobs including those that will be at Terminal 5 when its modernized berth starts operating next year. Regarding timeline unknowns, Zimbabwe said that during the stabilization they’ve hit the milestones in the predicted timelines, so they’re reasonably confident that will hold.

4:15 PM: West Seattle Bridge NOW‘s Jen Temple thanks the mayor for the decision and for not waiting any longer. Then the mayor offered a few closing remarks, reiterating that neither the repair nor “rapid span replacement” options would have allowed for incorporating light rail, but in the need for an eventual new bridge, “let’s see if we can imagine a better bridge,” maybe light rail AND transit.

What’s next for the Task Force? The mayor said ongoing involvement would be great, ‘some level of interest and accountability,” if the members are willing.

The group will take up that topic at its next meeting December 2nd. This meeting wrapped at 4:28 pm. One more meeting tonight will include a discussion of the decision – the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, 6:30 pm, attendance info here.

14 Replies to "VIDEO: Hours after announcing West Seattle Bridge repair decision, mayor talks with Community Task Force"

  • Flivver November 19, 2020 (4:22 pm)

    WSB. Any commitment from city/sdot that work will be done 24/7?

    • WSB November 19, 2020 (5:00 pm)

      No, there’s been no mention of 24/7 work. The stabilization work has been 6 days a week with at least one Sunday mention, and they start before dawn (I got a great reader photo today showing the illumination on part of a platform, will use it in an upcoming story). If you want to see them work 24/7, you might consider attending tonight’s Transportation Coalition meeting and look for a chance to ask SDOT directly. – TR

  • AB83 November 19, 2020 (4:33 pm)

    Once again no mention of Harbor Island which is stuck right in the middle of all this I would like to know what traffic medication they have planned for employees coming off of Harbor Island when they start the repair process I have a feeling this is going to be a huge mess for us workers on Harbor Island

  • dsa November 19, 2020 (4:39 pm)

    Inside the girders they require artificial light to work anyway so much or most of the work could be done 24/7.  And it is in four work areas, eastbound and westbound are one division, and eastside and westside divide those in half.  So that could make four sets of work crews working simultaneously 24/7 if the goal is to get this bridge open again.

  • Anne November 19, 2020 (5:20 pm)

    Does anyone know about weight restrictions in regards to trucks and buses once the repairs have been made?

  • Sassy November 19, 2020 (6:58 pm)

    15 to 40 years?      Brooklyn Bridge: built in 1883       Golden Gate Bridge: built in 1933         Tacoma Narrow Bridge EB: built in 1950.     Why can’t we have nice things?

    • Steven Lorenza November 19, 2020 (9:07 pm)

      They don’t build em like they used to…….er, none of those are in a liquifaction area in a high span over a shipping lane. in a region exposed to mega quakes.  Not really a good what aboutism.Seattle also has our share of 100 year old bridges.

    • Vic November 19, 2020 (9:54 pm)

      Look up how many workers died during construction of those bridges.

  • Deb November 19, 2020 (8:31 pm)

    @ Sassy – Maybe we could have nice things if we liked steel more than concrete. 

  • Steven Lorenza November 19, 2020 (9:04 pm)

    Interesting this is a decision made by a politician and not technical experts.

  • Chainsaw November 19, 2020 (9:06 pm)

    The I-35W bridge in Minnesota was rebuilt in 14 months after a total collapse. Did Seattle hire the same contractors who took forever to build the Lander street overpass to repair the WS bridge? This timeline is ridiculous!

    • Stevie J November 19, 2020 (10:22 pm)

      Yes, rebuilt after a total collapse. That is obviously much easier to solve than a still standing bridge. If you suddenly lost all your teeth, if would be a quicker decision and procedure to get dentures compared to losing half your teeth and having to get braces and tooth implants. #westseattleisnotgenoa

  • Who wants the naming rights? November 20, 2020 (12:18 pm)

    To help raise money for the repair and again for the replacement, the city could sell the naming rights to the bridge.  Perhaps Amazon or Jeff Bezos would like a “Climate Pledge Bridge” for $50 – $970 million. 

  • Talmadge November 20, 2020 (4:16 pm)

    Has the City identified the precise reason for the Bridge’s failure as yet? Doesn’t it seem rather odd that any decision is being made when the origin of the failure is unknown? Why run the risk of repeating the reason for failure in a repaired or new structure?

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