One year ago tonight – at 7 pm March 23, 2020 – the West Seattle Bridge was closed, just 4 hours after the city announced it was unsafe for traffic. The last-minute word of that 3 pm briefing came minutes after a reader emailed us to say they just heard a rumor the bridge had to close for a year-plus of emergency repairs. We found it hard to believe … but it was true. Hours later, crews were blocking off the bridge entrances:
West Marginal Way – a street some West Seattleites had never traveled – was suddenly a major route to and from the peninsula.
Traffic through Highland Park increased dramatically. Within a week, a rush-installed signal was up at the long-suffering intersection of Highland Park Way and Holden.
In April, we learned the bridge wouldn’t reopen before 2022. By May, ramps were more enduringly blocked off:
Police – and later, cameras – worked to enforce restrictions on the low bridge:
Streets beyond West Seattle filled with cut-through drivers to and from alternate bridges; though SDOT was working on mitigation plans, South Park neighbors took action of their own:
Work began to keep the bridge from falling down before the replace-or-repair decision could be made:
In case of complete cutoff, emergency personnel made sure they could get to West Seattle no matter what:
Winter came. Still bridgeless, but the stabilization work was done, and the work platforms came down by year’s end.
In February, a spooky sight as the traffic-free bridge filled with February snow, unplowed
And now … in spring … the empty bridge awaits permanent repairs:
Later today, more anniversary coverage, including where things stand now.