WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: After worksite visit, mayor plans ‘town hall’ next Monday; Community Task Force meeting change

(SDOT photos)

Photographed atop the West Seattle Bridge this past Monday, that’s – clockwise from center – Mayor Jenny Durkan, West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force co-chair Greg Nickels, SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe, WSBCTF co-chair Paulina López, and SDOT’s Kit Loo. The mayor was there for a firsthand look at the stabilization work, including inside the bridge:

And as she gets ready to decide repair vs. replace, she also has announced another community Town Hall meeting to hear feedback, 5-6:30 pm next Monday (November 16th). From the announcement:

Before reaching a critical decision point about repair or replacement of the West Seattle Bridge, I will be hosting a West Seattle Bridge Town Hall to hear directly from community members – both those who are dealing with the loss of the connection to the West Seattle peninsula and those in the Duwamish Valley acutely feeling the traffic impacts.

This West Seattle Bridge Town Hall will give you a chance to hear from me and key department staff about recently completed work to stabilize the bridge and reduce the traffic impacts of the closure, updated information for both repair or replacement pathways, and ongoing opportunities for communities to provide feedback. And we will save some time for you to ask questions directly.

You can RSVP and send a question via this form; the direct meeting link is here. This is the mayor’s third West Seattle “town hall” in six months (the others were in May and in July), though the previous two addressed other topics as well as the bridge.

Three days after Monday’s town hall, Mayor Durkan will be back before the Community Task Force – a conflict in her schedule has led to a day/time change for that meeting: It’s now set for 3:30 pm next Thursday (November 19th), one day later than originally planned. CTF members were told the mayor plans to “present updates” to them. No viewing link for that meeting yet.

43 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: After worksite visit, mayor plans 'town hall' next Monday; Community Task Force meeting change"

  • L November 12, 2020 (12:43 pm)

    Enough with the endless meetings.   The answer is obvious — repair the bridge to get us back in action as quickly as possible.   Stop wasting time it’s been 234 days!!

    • Long view November 12, 2020 (6:52 pm)

      Except for the fact that the obvious decision is most likely, replacement!Long View

      • Matt P November 12, 2020 (7:11 pm)

        Why is it obvious?  Repair has a 95% chance to last 40 years and will give us time to get the light rail in place and will only be out of action during construction.  If we replace now, we’ll have to suffer through all of the design phases and environmental studies.  Repair is cheaper and has a much lower community impact.

        • Meyer November 13, 2020 (7:34 am)

          Agreed with Matt. This is why we need to go to the Town Hall and say this. The easiest decision is replace for SDOT because there are slightly less “what ifs”. However the fastest and most cost effective decision is repair. Zimbabwe keeps mentioning these doom and gloom scenarios if we repair but I haven’t seen a single bridge engineer share any of those concerns.Once light rail is up and running and we can re-group and decide if the repair job will last/how expensive the maintenance is/how long a replacement will really take when its not under emergency circumstances/etc, but until then we need a proper ingress and egress from West Seattle immediately.

          • David November 15, 2020 (4:25 pm)

            The cynical, like me, might also note that the immediate hard-sell for needless replacement* from day one fits into a local pattern.
            A number of new bridges of dubious value to the people paying for them have been pushed through in recent years, which might make you wonder how many “campaign contributions” the bridge-construction companies have been making. Two obvious examples are the “Tukwila Urban Center” bridge**, or the Lander Street bridge*** in Seattle.
            * – When the engineering firm’s report came out, they said the hard-sell for replacement was based on seriously-flawed assumptions (despite what I imagine was intense pressure). I applaud their politeness, and the care they took in phrasing it.
            ** – Over $10M in park-improvement fees and matching funds, for a very fancy footbridge
            from an almost-abandoned Green River park with long-existing footpaths and parking nearby,
            to a de-facto highway with no parking nearby. No “urban center” nearby, not even close.
            *** – A gift to “commercial traffic”, just like the exemption over the Spokane St bridge, but they pay little to none of the $100M price tag.

  • Blbl November 12, 2020 (12:44 pm)

    Ooooh…even more talking!

  • Flo B November 12, 2020 (1:01 pm)

    WSB. Will we hear a final decision from the mayor next week? Or, will she be announcing “more studies? Also…Do you know-or ask for us if whatever the decision-rebuild or new will the contractor be told to(and paid for) working 24/7. 

    • WSB November 12, 2020 (1:04 pm)

      Neither of these has been announced as a decision event.

    • Doh November 12, 2020 (2:12 pm)

      if they go 24/7, the cost will be higher off course.  Then you will have noise complaints during the work.  I don’t know which is worse,  listening to you guys complain daily about this bridge. Pathetic 

    • JVP November 12, 2020 (4:15 pm)

      Don’t be hasty now. There’s a process that we must put in place to determine when a decision should be presented to the public. Once the decision is presented, another process must be followed to move from presentation to implementation. Though shalt not short us on process!

  • Mj November 12, 2020 (1:41 pm)

    This is so frustrating, the Bridge is clearly repairable and if expedited likely could be done by Fall 2021.  By next Fall the pandemic should be in the rear view mirror. 

    The estimated repair cost is around $47,000,000.  Over 100,000 vehicles per day were using the bridge.  This correlates into 36,500,000 trips a year.  Many vehicles carried more than one person.  The cost per person trip of repairing the bridge is about $1! 

    What is it costing people and businesses for added time, fuel and impacts to neighborhoods of not repairing the bridge?  Even with pandemic reduced traffic I believe the time value social impact is significantly more than a dollar and when the pandemic is behind us the adverse traffic impact and cost will be far greater.

    • Arroyosandy November 13, 2020 (6:49 am)

      Comes out to about $1 per trip? Seems like a reasonable toll amount to pay for the repairs. Repair the bridge and TOLL it!

    • Meyer November 13, 2020 (7:38 am)

      Exactly MJ. Just think how much gas, pollution and time is being wasted as those 100,000 trips are being re-routed everyday. Even if half of them are still driving during these no-bridge/pandemic times that is still 50,000 trips each burning about an extra gallon of gas on their trips due to the re-route. That is about 3.5 million a month in gas. Not to mention pollution, time waste, local businesses getting hurt, communities getting overrun with traffic. All of these problems can go away sooner rather than later if we repair.

  • DC November 12, 2020 (1:47 pm)

    Relax.  She’s going to need time to think about this because she can’t teargas the Bridge.

    • Gatewood Gus November 12, 2020 (4:05 pm)

      Thank you for your insightful contribution to the discussion.

  • Andros November 12, 2020 (2:03 pm)

    Why not both?  Open the bridge and then start working on the replacement.  Make all the heavy trucks take a different route to keep the stress of the bridge.

    • 1994 November 12, 2020 (10:08 pm)

      And the buses can take an alternate route too.

  • Fix the Bridge already! November 12, 2020 (2:50 pm)

    All of the technical experts have agreed, fixing the Bridge is the right decision. It’s the right decision because it can be done safely (and easily), it’s the most affordable (even with SDOT’s doom and gloom bias) and it reliably restores West Seattle’s connection to jobs, family, healthcare and the rest of the City. And to be clear, with the contractor doing the post tensioning “stabilization” work last week, the current cracks are effectively repaired. Please don’t be fooled by SDOT and their doom and gloom parade (and how is that  they forget that they work for us anyway?) Nearly all of the additional work SDOT is planning for in the next 18 months is elective. They want to strengthen parts of the bridge that have no cracks and no current issues. The even if they went ahead with much of this work, it could be accomplished with the bridge reopened and intermittent closures. SDOT wants Federal money for a fancy new bridge that forces people to suffer, small businesses to close, and when it’s all over they want to toll you. West Seattle is going to get a toll to get to the rest of the City while they divert the maintenance money they should have been spending here on pet projects like really expensive bike lanes downtown. Where is the equity? While our community suffers massive and devastating economic impacts, Highland Park, White Center, Georgetown and South Park get even more pollution dumped on them for years, and then just to be part of the our own City we have to pay another regressive tax in the form of a toll. This is beyond unfair and Mayor Durkan it is time to stop allowing SDOT to treat us all like a game of Sim City. We are real people, with lives and careers that depend on this critical piece of infrastructure that SDOT’s mismanagement has lead us to this desperate situation. It’s not a game, this is our future. Please take this seriously, we are desperate for common sense to prevail and it just keeps getting pushed aside for SDOT’s misguided agenda. 

    • CC November 12, 2020 (3:40 pm)

      Exactly! Hope you attend next week’s community meeting and say the same thing. We need our bridge back!

    • Question Authority November 12, 2020 (4:41 pm)

      All that pollution you speak of is okay for the immediate area of the bridge but not in those outlying communities, so what’s the difference?

      • Fix the bridge November 12, 2020 (8:30 pm)

        Idling cars. The difference is profound. 

        • Question Authority November 12, 2020 (9:27 pm)

          They idled while stuck on the Bridge, pollution doesn’t care who, when or where.

    • Blbl November 12, 2020 (6:21 pm)

      So much THIS! I hope you’re reading, Mayor!!

    • Ben C November 12, 2020 (10:17 pm)

      Preach!  It’s been 8 months.  Let’s make the call and make the mov for repair, while planning the replacement!

  • Jort November 12, 2020 (3:23 pm)

    I imagine the “town hall” meeting will be as constructive as the comments I read on this blog on any bridge story, namely: “I want the bridge repaired TOMORROW and I also want a replacement built in ONE MONTH  no matter how much it costs even if it’s billions of dollars and I also want to use the lower bridge NOW and you’re not doing ANYTHING just holding dumb MEETINGS and I will never ride a bus with disgusting smelly homeless people so don’t you DARE FORCE ME TO YOU MONSTERS! GET IT FIXED NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!!! NOWWWWWW!!!” I am so glad I do not work in city government. Most of the comments coming from absolute amateurs are an incredible waste of time, but I’m sure that Jenny “I Love Cars” Durkan will rapturously listen to them, with wild, frenetic dreams of a new mega-bridge just for cars. Remember, after the historic defeat of national cancer Donald Trump in this month’s election, the first thing Jenny “I Love Cars” Durkan said was how excited she was for more money for this stupid, stupid bridge. 

    • WSB November 12, 2020 (4:10 pm)

      No, it was not “the first thing” she said. It’s what I wrote about but, well, that’s the West Seattle-specific thing she addressed (after I asked the question, and mine was the last question asked in her noontime briefing last Saturday). Can’t find the video archive but here’s her subsequent statement, which does not mention the bridge at all:
      Some elements of that are among “the first things” she said that day, including the history made by Vice President-elect Harris, which I also noted on Twitter a couple minutes into the briefing:


    • 1994 November 12, 2020 (10:10 pm)

      Jort has earned a PERMANENT bridge ban! No bridge travel for you Jort! Stay out of our way and stay off the bridge.

  • Kent November 12, 2020 (3:33 pm)

    Jeez – more talking?? Everyone is going to say the same thing – its a pain to not use the bridge and we want it fixed. Quickly find a solution! The mayor’s job is to make hard decisions that improve the welfare of the citizens. I want her to stop asking for feedback and take action! Action is not listening harder. Fix (replace/repair/whatever) the broken thing!

  • YES2WS November 12, 2020 (3:36 pm)

    DOH, seriously? You think it’s okay for a bridge that transported 100,000+ cars daily to be out of commission for this long without much movement forward?  Or is it that you simply like to complain

  • Bridge troll not internet troll 98134 November 12, 2020 (4:16 pm)

      Please don’t be fooled by SDOT and their doom and gloom parade”the “experts” work for SDOT. So which is it? Or, is this just repair populism for Herbold’s sake?

    • Fix the bridge November 12, 2020 (7:40 pm)

      The experts, everyone of them a consultant, not an SDOT employee, recommended repair. The TAP (the who’s who committee), WSP (the engineering firm that produced the cost benefit analysis), and the City Council’s independent engineering consultant have all pointed to repair. SDOT, who doesn’t employ a single structural engineer, has been embellishing the risks since day one, partly because they don’t have the expertise in house, and partly because they don’t want to maintain the bridge they neglected. We have already allocated $100 million to this bridge project, $10m for the design of a new bridge ALL of the experts are saying there is less than a 5% we will need in the 40 years. Do you realize they awarded the current contract for “stabilization” for $17m and then only spent $14m? The total “repair” is only slightly more. These are facts, not my opinion. If you’ve been following along these facts are easily found. And the other thing that’s pretty fishy, SDOT will not allow anyone access to the experts, their consulting contracts forbid them by NDA. They’ve tied up experts so no one can check the math. And again, even doing so the truth is trickling out. Give access to the media to vet this out, that would bring focus to this debate quickly and decisively. We need that transparency. I agree with you to not believe the comments, look to the experts.,

  • payattention November 12, 2020 (4:18 pm)

    Jort. Clearly you’re ok driving your car the long way around. The rest of us want our bridge back! But i PROMISE you(and DOH)DON’T have to use it! win win for everybody!  

    • psps November 12, 2020 (6:02 pm)

      “Jort” doesn’t even live here anymore.  At least, that what he said a while back. Maybe he never lived here.

  • Zark00 November 12, 2020 (5:08 pm)

    Jort – you’re toxic. I’ve played Fortnite with 11 year olds less toxic than you. People like you are one trick: year it all down. You can’t add, help, support, build, encourage… All you are capable of doing to tearing things down in the most divisive, toxic, way possible. You have an agenda, and by all accounts it’s a noble one, but your manner, you’re absolutely hate filled heart, destroys any vestige of credibility you may have had and any chance of your message resonating with anyone outside of your bubble of negativity. You are short sighted, the bridge is for cars yes, but it’s also for ambulances. Have you really got no heart at all, or are you just that ignorant to the reality of the world around you?

    • wscommuter November 13, 2020 (10:29 am)

      There’s no talking to zealots.  The car-haters think they have a corner on the truth and the rest of the world is tragically less enlightened/intelligent as they are (hence the use of all-caps and over-the-top rhetoric).  Your post, while quite on target, is wasted breath (so to speak).   The zealots are loud on this message board, but in the end, utterly impotent.  

  • Blbl November 12, 2020 (6:26 pm)

    We should boycott this town hall. No one should show up. Tell SDOT there is nothing left to talk about and just repair it, already.  They can hold a town hall to an empty virtual room because the time to talk is over. 

    • Chemist November 12, 2020 (9:17 pm)

      Nah, the public most impacted by this needs to register the clear choice for local residents because folks who cross the bridge once a decade are weighing in as part of some agenda against spending any resources on “car culture”. Even CM Mosqueda was giving statements about this bridge being mostly for cars. It’s mostly for west seattle residents and livelihoods in an increasingly expensive city.

  • Westofbridges November 12, 2020 (6:41 pm)

    If I was a contractor I’d want to repair and replace to. Why do one when you can double down and use the opinion of residence that have no clue what they’re talking about.

  • CAL November 12, 2020 (10:41 pm)

    It was interesting to see photos of the Mayor’s tour and
    once again find not a single structural engineer in the group to bring the
    conditions they observed into context. Leave the message to the PR folks, all
    of whom like to answer technical questions beginning with, “well, I’m not
    an engineer, but . . .,” and then go on to spin a yarn of half-truths and
    misleading claims. What the Mayor should have learned by now is that the bridge
    is now fixed and operable.  The remaining
    work do be done is strengthening for extended service life and to achieve a
    load rating suitable to support the full 7 lanes of cars, busses, and truck
    traffic that the city had been overloading the bridge with for years. And all
    of that can be done for less than $10-$20M more – or a little more than what
    they have budgeted to piss away on consultant fees to plan and design a new
    bridge over the next year. Let that sink in.  We can strengthen this bridge sustainably for
    little more than what they will spend just to design a new one.  Take a look at how they plan to spend the
    $100M already approved for projects related to the bridge closure and note that
    they haven’t cued up a single dollar of that money to repair the bridge beyond
    what they’ve done thus far. They can take 20% of that $100M to ensure the
    bridge will last at least 40 years or more. Please for all our sakes and
    sanity, stop the nonsense.  Repair the

  • Eldorado November 13, 2020 (8:55 am)

    More talk = More delays. FIX THE BRIDGE ALREADY!  We all know repairing the bridge is the best option. It’s the least expensive; it’s the quickest solution to relieve the current traffic mess; oh, and it makes the most sense. Fun fact:  The first bridge built over the Hudson River in New York, The Union Bridge, was built in 1804 and it took 8 months to complete. Over 700 feet of bridge in 8 months. We have repaired ZERO feet in 8 months. Get it done!

  • FixTheBridge November 13, 2020 (5:31 pm)

    If the people who think like Jort make decisions sign me up to leave West Seattle. Not a place for me. :(

  • Alki Guy November 14, 2020 (11:26 pm)

    They should have made the mayor move to the North Admiral District of West Seattle 6 months ago.   She would have voted for repair very quickly if she was made travel down West Marginal and across the 1st Ave Bridge every day to get downtown.  

  • SuperAwesome November 16, 2020 (6:19 pm)

    Shocking lack of answers or new info in this townhall.  They’ve had 9 months, where is the plan for the 50,000 + cars on our streets when the pandemic is over?

Sorry, comment time is over.