WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Mayor’s office says she’ll announce decision tomorrow


12:59 PM WEDNESDAY: Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s long-awaited West Seattle Bridge decision will be made public tomorrow (Thursday). That’s what mayoral spokesperson Chelsea Kellogg just told WSB. We contacted the mayor’s office late yesterday after hearing that the mayor said in a KING 5 interview that she would likely announce her decision this week, though in Monday’s “Town Hall” (WSB coverage here) she said only “in the coming weeks”; we just got the reply. Mayor Durkan was already scheduled to meet with the Community Task Force at 3:30 tomorrow afternoon. Next Monday will mark eight months since the bridge was abruptly closed because of fast-growing cracks; SDOT’s contractor is almost done with stabilization work that the city says had to be done first regardless of whether the next course of action is repair now/replace later or replace now.

7:45 AM THURSDAY: The decision will be announced at 9 am. You should be able to watch here.

53 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Mayor's office says she'll announce decision tomorrow"

  • Jort November 18, 2020 (1:09 pm)

    So, how many months after tomorrow’s “decision” will be spent arguing about the decision? I’m sure every citizen in West Seattle will feel compelled by the God of Seattle Process to make sure their opinions are appropriately registered and addressed before anything can actually get done.

    • Bronson November 18, 2020 (2:02 pm)

      The irony of someone who consistently bangs on about bikes and the evil of cars day after day, month after month, year after year, commenting about a few months of moaning about a decision seems to be lost on you Jort.I guess the moaning will go on depending on if they choose replace over repair. There is no solid reason to choose replace and I for one, would be at City Hall with pitchfork in hand (figuratively) should she choose replace.    

      • Jort November 18, 2020 (3:10 pm)

        And, boy, am I ever successful at it! Maybe this will be the year that cycling infrastructure moves from 1.1 percent to 1.2 percent of the total SDOT budget! Just as an FYI, cars are actually evil for a variety of reasons, including that they are “liberal” Seattle’s number one contribution to carbon emissions (and growing), they kill more young people than anything in America (and growing), they encourage unsustainable urban planning, they destroy the fabric of close-knit communities, their infrastructure is crumbling around us and they are increasingly becoming financially troublesome for many Americans. America has experimented with cars for nearly a century and our results are mixed, at best. Several other first-world countries have found solutions for transportation and urban planning that don’t primarily focus on the automobile supremacy. America could stand to learn some lessons. And yes, that means tearing the bridge down forever and making every single one of you deal with it, for all time.

        • Will S. November 18, 2020 (4:00 pm)

          terrible idea, poorly argued. just FYI

        • K. Davis November 18, 2020 (6:39 pm)

          Pretty much, if you go through life thinking an inanimate object is “evil” and go to great lengths to repeatedly tell the world that,  you’re already in a pretty miserable place.  Nothing to see here.  

        • plato November 19, 2020 (8:11 am)

          @Jort

          While some might argue about your tact of communication, you do get people to listen, and to engage in discussion, which shows some effectiveness. 

          The commenters here most annoyed and put off by your rhetoric, are likely the ones who feel most threatened by your perspective and aren’t interested in change, regardless of how it might be communicated.

          I believe many voices and communication approaches to advocate for change are needed, to reach different people.  

          Thanks for contributing your voice, and taking on the challenge of speaking about inconvenient truths.

    • Mark Schletty November 18, 2020 (3:10 pm)

      Well Jort, I see you are the first person “compelled” to offer your opinion. We already know your choice of repair or replace is neither- we shouldn’t have a bridge at all. Just bike or walk or take a bus on the lower bridge. I guess that means you can continue with your dribble no matter which choice the Mayor makes.

    • Tsurly November 18, 2020 (6:13 pm)

      It will be interesting to see, once the repair is completed and the bridge back open, if 1) everyone will be grateful to have it back and never complain about traffic again; or 2) everyone goes back to the pre-shutdown daily bitching about how bad traffic is and how the city is doing nothing to help those who choose to drive. I’m betting everything on the latter.

      • heartless November 18, 2020 (6:28 pm)

        Yes, “interesting” to see.

        How’s the land of the midnight sun?

        • Tsurly November 19, 2020 (7:24 am)

          Thanks for asking heartless. Right now it’s cold, dark, and windy, but the skiing is good!

      • BBILL November 18, 2020 (7:56 pm)

        “It will be interesting to see, once the repair is completed and the bridge back open,” I’m going to guess the existing bridge will never be back to its former capacity.

    • Delridge November 18, 2020 (6:45 pm)

      I’m a cyclist…. I’m all for increasing bike infrastructure so that those of us who are privileged enough to be able to ride, can do so safely and efficiently. And yes, I said privileged. You’re failing to acknowledge the number of people who are not able bodied enough, lack the financial means to buy a road worthy bike, and live close enough to where they can commute by bike. I ride a lot, but I also drive. We all need this bridge for a thousand reasons. You need to be more realistic and less abrasive in your approach or no one is going to take you seriously. Riders with your attitude are the kind of folks who give reasonable people like myself, and other riders like me, a bad name. 

      • 1994 November 18, 2020 (10:11 pm)

        Thank you Delridge! A reasonable cyclist with middle of the road thinking! We need more cyclists like you! I too was a cyclist in my younger days when I had a shorter commute, 10 miles RT, to my work destination. 

      • Steve November 19, 2020 (7:45 am)

        So well said, Delridge.  Thank you!  I’m in treatment for prostate cancer…sitting on a bike seat just doesn’t work for me.  In my younger years I’d ride from home on Capital Hill to school at the UW to work at the Seattle Center…every day, rain or shine.  I lived to tell the tale and today bikeways make it so much safer.  For those that can, ride!

      • plato November 19, 2020 (8:48 am)

        @Delridge

        Yes, we should acknowledge that not every mode of transportation works for all people, and ensure there are viable options for all.

        However, you are failing to acknowledge the many people who would be capable of biking or taking public transit, who would rather not as a matter of convenience and preference, regardless of negative impacts on the environment and on the community.

        You are also failing to see that investing in the infrastructure of yesterday, rather than investing in the infrastructure that we need for the future, is maybe not the wisest decision and use of money.

        Yes, everyone who is accustomed to their driving lifestyle wants the bridge fixed as a matter of convenience and as perceived need. However, our city needs light rail and other public transit solutions, and as soon as possible. Traffic was a problem, even before the bridge closure.

        It’s not like there aren’t other roads for driving out of West Seattle. Yes, I know the detours and traffic situation is currently awful. But, consider this… Imagine the low bridge is open, other drivers choose some of the alternate routes, and we have an awesome light rail system allowing many drivers to take light rail instead…

        I for one wonder if it wouldn’t be money better spent to more quickly and expansively implement light rail in WS and around the city. If we had a well built light rail system in Seattle and connecting beyond, many, if not the majority, could take transit rather than commuting by car. People could still drive on occasion, to go on vacation, or to get to Costco, etc., but public transit could become a more utilized option, for daily transportation needs, if we make the bold decisions that move towards this. 

        This isn’t a novel idea, there are many major cities around the world that have a more robust public transportation network, which includes expansive light rail systems, and citizens of all walks of life, rely on these systems for daily transportation, and keeping their car for more occasional needs. Also saving themselves on auto related expenses.

        I would like the city to consider as an alternative to strictly repair or rebuild the bridge, to focusing on bumping up and expanding light rail possibilities in WS and beyond, along with more bus and better bike infrastructure, and other perhaps less expensive roadway improvements and options.

    • DirtyDinkleberg November 19, 2020 (5:11 am)

      Hey Jort, what about Harbor Island and the thousands of pounds of freight that goes through the harbor everyday via semi? Automobiles and the West Seattle Bridge are an absolutely imperative part of facilitating the function of this vital part of our city’s and state’s economy. Furthermore, how could this be done by bike? 

  • Mj November 18, 2020 (1:17 pm)

    Repairing the bridge is the correct decision and I hope that Mayor Durkan makes the right choice.  The impact of no bridge is horrendous now and when Covid is behind us the traffic nightmare will become intolerable.  

  • Brian November 18, 2020 (1:51 pm)

    Convert the bridge into a combination slip n slide & bodega. I’ll co-sign that plan. 

  • Kathy November 18, 2020 (1:54 pm)

    The suspense is killing me. Just tell us and get on with it. 

  • D November 18, 2020 (1:55 pm)

    Repair seems the logical choice, IF there is a plan or at least will address the long term plan for replace.  The physical space for a bridge is limited, and if the choice is to repair now, and then shut it down again for years to replace later on, then this is just kicking the can down the road, which is typical for politics.

  • dsa November 18, 2020 (2:06 pm)

    Nobody can see into the future, which would reveal the best answer.  So we will go with the political one, right or wrong.

    • BBILL November 18, 2020 (7:58 pm)

      According to your theory, the “political one” is the best answer.

  • smittytheclown November 18, 2020 (2:16 pm)

    Good Lord PLEASE REPAIR!

  • AA November 18, 2020 (2:17 pm)

    Seems like repair is the winner giving the timing of this announcement (yeah!). If it was replace we would’ve heard more about federal and state funding being secured. 

  • Mj November 18, 2020 (2:53 pm)

    AA – I kinda surmised the same thing, God (I’m not that religious) I hope repair is the decision. 

    Like many WS residents I have been following the process, I also am a PE, not structures, and from all have read and heard the Bridge is clearly Repairable and should be an easy decision based on the data.

  • Nick November 18, 2020 (2:57 pm)

    I wonder If any decisions are being based on replacement post light rail construction. Right now they have plenty of access for demo and rebuild. In 10 years that situation is much different.    

  • Rick November 18, 2020 (3:13 pm)

    The sign behind the bar saying “Free Beer Tomorrow”.  I used to think it was funny. 

    • BBILL November 18, 2020 (8:00 pm)

      “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…”

  • Also John November 18, 2020 (3:28 pm)

    Will you feel comfortable sitting in stalled traffic at the ‘repaired’ highpoint of the bridge….with a cement truck on one side and a rumbling bus on the other side?

    • Mike November 18, 2020 (3:58 pm)

      Maybe the repair decision will be accompanied by a second wise decision:  to limit vehicle weight on the upper bridge and keep the heavy buses and trucks on the lower bridge 

  • KJ Lyons November 18, 2020 (4:19 pm)

    I think the big elephant-in-the-room is financing? Will they be able to get financing for a repair that may last 10 years?

    • KJ Lyons November 18, 2020 (8:01 pm)

      I haven’t heard 40 years for the repair job. In fact I heard there was a problem with the concrete and its curing. Yes! If the repair could guarantee 40 years, why not!

  • Hungry Pilgrim November 18, 2020 (4:20 pm)

    I’m just hoping to set my eyes and mouth on a West Seattle turkey that seems to have evaded my capture last year.  Hopefully it roosts somewhere at the peak of the bridge to commemorate the announcement.  Only 8 more days till Thanksgiving…

    • WSB November 18, 2020 (4:21 pm)

      Sorry, The Turkey was last seen in Kent/Renton many months ago …

  • Gaby November 18, 2020 (4:48 pm)

    Please Mayor Durkan, choose REPAIR.  We have been told countless times that the engineering experts say that a REPAIRED West Seattle high-rise bridge has a 95% chance of lasting 40 years!  If you choose REPAIR, the city will have 40 years to decide on a replace option. Most of us don’t understand why we are sitting in daily, lengthy, dark detours, wasting our precious time, when the choice is so extremely clear. REPAIR the bridge and get us moving again! 

  • junctioneer November 18, 2020 (5:16 pm)

    I’m really confused why all the comments here are shouting to repair. Not sure if that is representative of WS. It seems pretty unclear to me, and that repair is possibly shortsighted. Or it could be great. Not at all so obvious from the info we’ve been given. But there seems to be very little tolerance for present pain for future gain. 

    • Chemist November 18, 2020 (6:09 pm)

      I am eager to hear durkan announce a choice to repair.  I have been underwhelmed by sdots mitigations and think they need more time to actually plan for a rebuild.  I am hopeful that something spurs the eventual replacement constructed adjacent to current bridges while traffic is still able to use the repaired bridge.  It could mean much shorter shutdowns.

    • Matt P November 18, 2020 (6:39 pm)

      Because repair is far cheaper, has 95% chance of lasting 40 years and has the lowest environmental impact due to it getting traffic moving again. If we go with any replacement method, it would mean we have to sit through environmental and design phases whereas repair only has construction to sit through and it’s mostly done. Rapid replace also would need a replacement in 40 years anyway due to reusing existing supports. When it comes time to replace the repaired bridge, we’ll have light rail to lighten the burden (pun intended) and may even be able to build the new structure alongside the old for minimal closure time. At the least, replacing the repaired bridge would be designed while we get to use a working bridge. All that points to repair as a no brainer.

  • Question Authority November 18, 2020 (6:06 pm)

    If they reopen it I hope the traffic capacity gets cut in half and the speed limit gets doubled so you spend less time over the “fix.” Nothing will ever be as good as new and I bet the outside bus lanes go away and weight limits are the new normal.

    • BBILL November 18, 2020 (8:05 pm)

      A single lane with a doubled speed limit would result in a significant capacity reduction–generally peak capacity is around 45 MPH. That being said, there is one more challenge: The speed limit does not matter when it’s congested.

      • 1994 November 18, 2020 (10:17 pm)

        I hope SDOT doesn’t do a 25 MPH switch on us when the WSB reopens! Getting rid of the bus lane and imposing weight limits is a good idea.

  • L November 18, 2020 (8:23 pm)

    Prediction:   She will choose replace and tell us it can be done by 2023.   We will be without a bridge until 2027 and it will cost twice as much as advertised.  

    • John November 18, 2020 (8:36 pm)

      Prediction:

      Jort will be the next mayor and the bridge will be property recycled.
      And the West Seattle turkey will come back.

  • TJ November 18, 2020 (8:52 pm)

    Repair is the only option. Durkin better not be listening to any labor groups or trade unions on this, as you can guarantee they have tried to get her ear and are for a rebuild as a jobs program. And unless I have missed something, I don’t know why I see comments expecting limited capacity on a repaired bridge? The comments I remember from the city in the past have said “back to regular capacity”. Maybe some people are just scared. But be careful what you throw out there…the city has shown a history of sticking it to West Seattle and could end up doing that. 

  • sna November 18, 2020 (10:05 pm)

    Prediction:  tentatively repair and will move forward with repair design, but will say this may change of bridge doesn’t continue to react well to stabilization during the winter. 

  • Mj November 18, 2020 (10:33 pm)

    John – it’s not April 1st.  

    TJ – construction people are plenty busy with ST projects. Thus hopefully this item is not at the table.

    sna – I hope you bought a lottery ticket your prediction sounds very plausible.  

  • Dan November 19, 2020 (2:59 am)

    The theatrics of we’ll announce tomorrow is not welcome. I’m sure the most short term, lowest cost option with the quickest political benefit and fewest hard decisions will prevail. I’m also positive we will forecast and sustainably manage city growth, wisely invest and build infrastructure to accommodate the demands of tomorrow and that we won’t forget this moment. I’ve full confidence that we will rally as a community to make these difficult decisions for the love of that community, and not resort to team X vs team Y. 

  • Colonel Mustard's Wrench November 19, 2020 (6:20 am)

    In the “Town Hall” (what an absurd waste of time !) Monday evening, she telegraphed that she will be choosing Rapid Replace. 

    Prediction:  She chooses Rapid Replace, immediately accepts a position in Biden’s new administration in DC, and we’re still stuck with Sam Zimbabwe at SDOT. 

    Can anyone recommend a good therapist ?

  • Peter November 19, 2020 (8:00 am)

    Repairing it is throwing good money after bad. It will still be structurally compromised and need to be replaced, so just replace it now. Replacement is cheaper and less construction in the long run, and in every way the better long-term option. 

    • Chemist November 19, 2020 (10:57 am)

      I support your efforts to start fundraising for a replacement now.  You can build it next to the repaired bridge that will be open to use while permitting/50 rounds of community input on replacement and what color it should be painted/most construction happens.  

  • Peter November 19, 2020 (9:25 am)

    I’m curious. Several people are claiming a repair will last 40 years, which would take it beyond the original expected lifespan of 70 years. Where is the 40 year figure coming from?

    • WSB November 19, 2020 (9:32 am)

      The possible 40 years was described as matching the bridge’s anticipated ~75-year lifespan.

  • Thomas Wood November 19, 2020 (7:14 pm)

    I’m relieved repair was the option . Lets go ,far better to have the bridge back in 22 then years waiting for the completion of a new bridge.

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