WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Stabilization milestone near

(WSB photo)

The two movable work platforms attached to the West Seattle Bridge could be brought down before Christmas. That’s part of today’s weekly SDOT update on ongoing bridge-related work. Lowering the platforms back down onto a barge will mark the end of what SDOT refers to as “Phase 1 Stabilization” – primarily involving carbon-fiber wrapping and strengthening with steel cables (“post-tensioning”). Contractor Kraemer North America is also wrapping up work on replacing the damaged bearings at Pier 18 (in this case, “pier” refers to a bridge support). The stabilization work had to be done first regardless of whether a repair or replace pathway was pursued; next comes repair design and contractor selection.

On the low bridge, installment of the new enforcement cameras is complete; SDOT tells us, “We are planning on testing the new system through December, and expect to begin issuing notices for unauthorized bridge usage in early 2021.”

26 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Stabilization milestone near"

  • Derek December 14, 2020 (3:00 pm)

    Should have been done in June

  • AB83 December 14, 2020 (3:25 pm)

    Oh……………. that’s why It took 45 minutes to get off of Harbor Island today The people going down onto Harbor Island in hopes that they can cheat and cut Across the lower bridge should be stopped and issued tickets just for being down on Harbor Island with no business being down there…..This is ridiculous

    • BBILL December 14, 2020 (7:41 pm)

      Nope! It was the backup of northbound trucks on East Marginal all the way to Harbor Island.

    • S. Martel December 14, 2020 (10:13 pm)

      You are proposing that police stop motorists without cause and question them? We’re not Nazi Germany or Russia. I hope you are not serious.

      • AB83 December 15, 2020 (4:19 am)

        The only reason a motorist should be down there is if they need to go to Harbor Island for something or if they work down there anybody else going down there is just hoping to cut across the low Bridge causing unnecessary traffic jams when they can’t police detoured them away from the Low Bridge and they get mixed up with all the Harbor Island traffic coming off of the island……… so yes if you don’t belong down there you should deserve a ticket for going down there to begin with because you’re causing unnecessary traffic jams

        • wetone December 15, 2020 (11:56 am)

          AB83, so are you saying that people working on Harbor Island should be able to use swing bridge and all others need to drive around ? are you driving ? I have moorage on Harbor Island and I work  mile east of bridge. I have to drive around as 1000’s of others. By the way the back ups involve Port’s working and big rigs more than anything else. For the last month big rigs have been stacked up out to i5 across Spokane st viaduct, doing a lot of damage to road.  Only going to get worse as T5 opens up. Very poor planning from city and port on infrastructure planning…….Can’t wait for new rail bridge to be built as current one nearly 100yrs old and will be needed to support T5.  Tax payers will end up paying for that one also ;)   Happy Holidays

        • WS resident December 15, 2020 (7:41 pm)

          Fact check- some of the local business’ have special passes to use the lower bridge for business purposes. 

  • Al King December 14, 2020 (4:06 pm)

    AB83. Your comment earlier in the traffic article made NO mention of unauthorized vehicles. Making things up doesn’t fix anything.

    • AB83 December 14, 2020 (5:41 pm)

      AL King…..I wish I was making it up but I’m not It’s a nightmare

      • BBILL December 14, 2020 (7:42 pm)

        Since that was not the reason, you are making crap up! Yes, yes, there was a long backup, that part is true, but it had absolutely nothing to do with “unauthorized vehicles” on the low bridge.

        • AB83 December 15, 2020 (4:28 am)

          You can feel free to come down here and find out for yourself I know exactly what I’m talking about when the police are down here detouring people from using the low Bridge from the east side they go around and get mixed in with Harbor Island traffic coming off Harbor Island It normally takes me anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes to get off of Harbor Island when the cops are down there detouring people from using the low Bridge it now takes a half an hour And yesterday they had the added situation of lowering the platforms onto barges so it was both situations 

          • WSB December 15, 2020 (8:35 am)

            Hi, there was no platform-lowering going on yesterday. As we reported yesterday, that’s not expected to happen before next week. We went by this morning and the platforms are still up under the bridge as they’ve been for months. – TR

          • BBILL December 15, 2020 (10:03 am)

            The Coast Guard approved December 21 and 22 for the platform removal, and even on those two days it’s only for four hours each morning (7 am to 11 am). Again the backup yesterday was from the line of trucks on East Marginal.

  • Mj December 14, 2020 (5:30 pm)

    Why not keep Kraemer crews on site and get the repair work underway now?  A lot of the reinforcement strengthening is already known. 

    If this was WSDOT working to get SR 520 reopened, similar daily traffic volumes, do you they would take this long?

  • James Clark December 14, 2020 (6:20 pm)

    Didn’t they say that the frozen bearings may have caused the issue?

  • lowmanbeachdrive December 14, 2020 (6:43 pm)

    Great article, thank you.  What does “unauthorized bridge usage” mean?  When will commuters be able to use the bridge again?

    • WSB December 14, 2020 (7:16 pm)

      Unauthorized bridge usage would mean people breaking the rules for the low bridge.

    • WS resident December 15, 2020 (7:43 pm)

      They aren’t intending on opening lower bridge to commuters. 9pm-5am only. The bridge can’t handle the traffic structurally. 

      • BBILL December 16, 2020 (6:39 am)

        “The bridge can’t handle the traffic structurally.” The low bridge is not as wide as the high bridge, and the maximum weight allowed for overweight permits was reduced in July (“weight restrictions for some trucks carrying weight loads over 207,000 pounds” https://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2020/07/14/lowbridge/), and by all reports the low bridge can handle legal loads (“we will not need to place new restrictions on nearly any vehicles using the Low Bridge”). The reason given was about minimizing congestion and travel times.

  • PG December 14, 2020 (7:41 pm)

    What could citizens do or what recourse might they have collectively if they have suffered damages caused by the city’s negligence to address and resolve needed maintenance issues (identified years ago) leading to a major infrastructure fail?

    • BBILL December 14, 2020 (8:05 pm)

      I have debunked the claim about unperformed maintenance “identified years ago.” Not one person has presented any evidence that the city was “negligent.” The bridge was regularly inspected and maintained based on the findings and recommendations of the inspectors, at least in terms of maintenance that’s pertinent to this discussion. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that the Pier 18 bearing is the main cause of the current situation, and the cause has not been fully established, at least not within the publicly available documents. With that assumption, all one need to do is look back at the recommendations, which was “Continue To Observe (CTO).” Before the bridge was closed no one recommended changing the bearing. As to the question of “why now,” the big driving factor was the required new federal bridge testing, which was being performed way ahead of schedule–which is completely contrary to the claim of delayed maintenance.

      • Ahhh the bridge December 15, 2020 (2:45 am)

        BBILL is correct, unfortunately. I’ve sadly got nothing better to do so I took a stroll thru the inspection reports and each mentions the corrosion issue and leaking oil at pier 18. “Continue to observe” was always the advice. By continuing to observe the city did nothing terribly wrong and would never be found negligent for the bridge damages. If common sense were something that was a factor then the city would most likely be at fault for the current situation with the bridge. Corrosion and oil leaking isn’t going to get better over a 7 year span by simply observing it.  As I looked at the reports I noticed that pier 15 has identical issues and recommendations… Any plans to do anything about it now or are we waiting til the bridge ttys to tear itself apart again in another 7 years???

      • Steve Willie December 15, 2020 (1:16 pm)

        Focusing on the stuck bridge bearing is valid until proven otherwise by a competent and honest investigation.  However, it is not clear to me whether you are saying that the bearing could have been stuck and they failed to notice it, or whether they noticed it but did nothing about it.  Please clarify that.  The purpose of a bridge bearing is to reduce bridge stresses due to live loads and thermal and moisture cycles.  If a bridge bearing gets stuck then the bearing cannot perform its intended function and excessive stresses can build up (and maybe a few cracks).  One path leads to negligence;  the other path leads to incompetence.  I was just wondering which it is.

    • Jvp December 14, 2020 (8:10 pm)

      I’d recommend flying to D.C. and lobbying for dollars for infrastructure maintenance.  Thinking about suing? That’ll just make everything worse for all of us. 

  • RUM December 15, 2020 (8:01 am)

    Flint sued and right now Michigan is looking for the 600 million to pay the fine for their willful negligence. It is worth noting that if the residents of West Seattle choose not to sue, Seattle will continue breaking bridges, stranding citizens, delaying repairs and generally being incompetent. If we want a well run city going forward we should definitely sue…now. We should also demand Seattle get buses and huge semi trucks off the low bridge. The heavy vehicles are breaking the bridge. It’s not bad enough they have a draw bridge as our only way off the island if an emergency hits? Surely smaller cars could clear a crowded bridge faster than a bridge packed with semis and buses. Right? We need 24/7 access, cars only for the low bridge and a lawsuit. Fast. It’s the only way Seattle leadership will learn to act more competently going forward. 

  • sna December 15, 2020 (10:09 am)

    So has the crack growth stopped now that the tensioning and wrap are largely in place? 

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