West Seattle Bridge closure, 1 year later: 5 things happening now

Throughout the day, we’ve been observing the one-year anniversary of the West Seattle Bridge’s sudden, shocking closure. One last report as promised: So what’s happening now?

(Slide from presentation at this month’s Community Task Force meetingO

REPAIR DESIGN: SDOT‘s consulting firm WSP is designing the repair work that is expected to start this fall. The design work reached the 30 percent milestone earlier this month.

ACCEPTING REPAIR BIDS: Along with the design milestone, the city announced that it is accepting bids from prospective contractors to handle work on both the high and low bridges. That process is under way now; the deadline for submissions is April 12th.

SEEKING REPAIR FUNDING: The price tag SDOT has announced for its entire “program” – including high and low bridge repairs and traffic mitigation – is $175 million. When that figure was announced, we asked SDOT for a breakdown of where the money’s coming from, and this was the reply:

SDOT has secured $124M in funding sources, including:

Federal grants ($14.4M for high bridge rehabilitation and $1.5M for Reconnect West Seattle)
Seattle Transportation Benefit District ($8M)
City of Seattle REET-backed bonds ($100M)

We are actively seeking federal grants, such as Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA), and local partnership funding opportunities. We are closely monitoring the development of potential Washington State transportation packages.

INFRA is a federal grant program administered by USDOT. The grant is for highway and freight projects of regional significance. We are requesting $17-21M for the West Seattle Bridge Program.

This new post on SDOT Blog gets into details of the INFRA application, and invites you to sign on to a “community letter” of support.

RECONNECT WEST SEATTLE PROJECTS: On and around the detour routes, SDOT has a long list of small-ish projects it’s working through, from traffic-calming to pothole-filling.

ENCOURAGING MODE-SHIFT: The city also continues to warn that as schools, businesses, and offices reopen, traffic will become unbearable unless some people mode-shift to non-single-occupancy-car travel at least part of the time.

(Bicycle rack on West Seattle Water Taxi – photo by Paul Dieter)

Ideally, the city says, the single-occupancy car’s share of daily travel would be down to 35 percent while the bridge is out – less than half its pre-closure, pre-pandemic 81 percent share.

SO WHEN WILL THE BRIDGE REOPEN? SDOT first said on April 15, 2020, that it didn’t expect the bridge to reopen before 2022. That was 7 months before the mayor’s November 19, 2020 decision to repair rather than replace. Now, four months after that, the estimated reopening date remains “mid-2022.”

46 Replies to "West Seattle Bridge closure, 1 year later: 5 things happening now"

  • CarDriver March 23, 2021 (8:44 pm)

    WSB. Once(if)  repairs finally start Has SDOT said if the contractor will be given the funds to, and told to work 24/7 until completion?

    • WSB March 23, 2021 (9:04 pm)


    • mark47n March 24, 2021 (7:49 am)

      Many of these tasks cannot be completed on a 24/7 basis, such as resin curing, and concrete curing. Also, the costs involved with running 3 crews on an 8×7 schedule are astronomical and productivity/quality are impacted by tired crews. This would apply to any combination of crews to accommodate such a schedule. Additionally, night work is already less productive and fraught with quality issues than work performed during the day. Were I the person managing the budget for such a project I’d say no to 24/7 work sine it’s not an emergency…and it’s not. It’s inconvenient.

      • Joe Fortin March 24, 2021 (1:30 pm)

        Who originally built the bridge and why are they not paying something. The bridge did not last as long as expected. Was there no warranty? Will there be a warranty on the repair?

      • Chris C. March 25, 2021 (12:04 pm)

        Solid answer, Mark47N. Thanks for the details, expertise, and nuance.

  • user of roads March 23, 2021 (10:12 pm)

    Thanks SDOT for all your good and hard work. I know it goes under appreciated because of frustrations with the bridge being out, traffic, etc. But some of us realize you work damn hard to try and improve and fix things. Thank you!

    • Seriously? March 23, 2021 (11:43 pm)

      Sure hope you’re joking.
      NOT funny. 

      • ABREED March 24, 2021 (8:22 am)

        Not the workers fault for poor conditions they work as hard as they are let to do conditions are all related to poor management brought on by policy’s put in place by elected and non elected officials. Bridge work is a perfect example as you have a duct tape and bailing wire fix that quailies as a redneck repair that should have a load limit restriction placed on it prior to opening don’t know if I would want to be stuck in a traffic jam mid span during a earthquake. 

      • An embarrassed engineer March 24, 2021 (8:42 am)

        Bingo!The city needs to be working smarter, not harder. They still haven’t figured out what is causing the problem. 

        • Joe Fortin March 24, 2021 (1:35 pm)

          Get a warranty on the repair. Apparently we did not get one with the original build. Why not.  Also will the bridge support the light rail we were promised twice in west seattle?

          • WSB March 24, 2021 (4:15 pm)

            No, the bridge will not support light rail. That has always been planned to have its own bridge.

    • Mark Schletty March 24, 2021 (9:12 am)

      User of roads—-  HA HA HA.  You’re hilarious.

    • Lala March 24, 2021 (12:39 pm)


  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy March 23, 2021 (11:54 pm)

    Fauntleroy near Avalon has HORRIBLE cracks several inches wide and feet long. In several places. I hope it’s on the list of road repairs. It wears out car tires and is far more dangerous to us bicyclists.

    • reed March 24, 2021 (8:48 am)

      Truth. It is not as direct for alot of people, but I always take 36th to get to Avalon now.

      • Kathy March 24, 2021 (1:58 pm)

        Reed, the 36th bike detour does not service businesses along the Fauntleroy Boulevard corridor. We need some bike  lanes on Fauntleroy for people who need to visit those businesses by bike. Trader Joe’s for example. SDOT promised interim safety fixes when the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project was stopped, but they failed to do that for bicycles.  There is plenty of room in the right of way with 4 general travel lanes to add some bike lanes. Restriping (and paving fixes) would do it.

        • Reed March 24, 2021 (2:21 pm)

          I’m with you Kathy.

    • PD March 24, 2021 (11:49 am)

      They just patched the cracks at Fauntleroy and Oregon a week or so ago, not the best patch but it was done.

  • Smittytheclown March 24, 2021 (5:30 am)

    What’s the rush?

    • Goldengirl March 24, 2021 (1:09 pm)

      Clown guy, There you go with another  hilarious Comment 

  • DarShanna Smith March 24, 2021 (8:06 am)

    I know that the water taxi will have all day routes starting in April. Will they continue with those routes throughout the fall and winter to help with traffic flow into the city?

  • 566Yum March 24, 2021 (8:26 am)

    Thanks Seattle! Now we get to choose between unbearable traffic or increasing our COVID risk. Where does all the tax money go? Our infrastructure is embarrassing.

    • AMD March 24, 2021 (1:03 pm)

      To the police.  Haven’t you see all the comments about how we need to up, up, up their funding, without any new taxes?

    • Stephen March 24, 2021 (5:51 pm)

      I agree that our infrastructure is embarrassing and Spokane Street is a prime example.  I’m frustrated by the lack of leadership on our city council, who is more focused on idealistic, progressive pet projects and inventing new tax regimes than some of the basic building blocks of governing–health, safety, infrastructure.  I’m also frustrated by those who raise the idea at each opportunity that cycling or walking to work is a viable commuting alternative.  For 99% of us it is not.  

  • Foop March 24, 2021 (11:34 am)

    I’d love to know how many people who don’t cycle currently would be more open to it if there were community cycle groups with commute buddies or guides that help people deal with safety concerns or routing? I know we have one or two advocacy groups but it’s not easy getting involved or getting information.

  • Flo B March 24, 2021 (1:19 pm)

    Foop. I asked around as i’d like to try biking  to work from Alki.  No response. I work at the Boeing Renton plant. I have to clock in by 5am during the week and 4am on weekends.  The bike everywhere crowd  is mia.

  • 98126res March 24, 2021 (1:34 pm)

    Using common sense, will trucks and all heavy vehicles use only the low bridge, while lighter cars use the pricier more vulnerable upper bridge?   Thank you for all your reporting wsb.

    • WSB March 24, 2021 (4:16 pm)

      Not likely – in fact it was suggested recently that as they reopen it in phases, heavier vehicles like buses and trucks might be the first to be phased in.

      • 98126res March 25, 2021 (11:06 am)

        This seems incredibly dumb.  Isnt it true that over years too many heavy vehicles and double buses caused cracks to form, with this bridge never intending to carry them?

        • 98126res March 28, 2021 (4:18 am)

          Dumb city politics, go figure 🙄

  • Tamara S March 24, 2021 (2:25 pm)

    Here are a couple of West Seattle specific resources for bicycling to/from the peninsula:

    Biking During the West Seattle Bridge Closure


    Biking to Bridge the Gap


  • Flo B March 24, 2021 (2:28 pm)

    WSB. I did. Got a general/generic “ride this route” but when i said i’d prefer to have someone ride with me at least once so i’d be familiar with the route i heard crickets. It appears nobody bikes this early in the morning. I continue to drive. At least i can use the low bridge to get to work.

    • Foop March 24, 2021 (3:52 pm)

      I hope you saw the response above that someone said they would meet with you to ride it! Im glad people are reaching out! I know when I first started commuting I walked the route on Google maps then eventually rode it on my own and was super nervous. The low bridge is very unclear as far as where to go until you do it, especially near Chelan Cafe. I got lucky and found some people riding the route and just followed them as far as I could!Seattles bike Infra leaves a lot to be desired, being given a map is not even close to sufficient as many of our ‘bike routes’ merge onto sidewalks or turn into backroads with little to no signage (looking at you Low Bridge -> WMW) – I used to be VERY nervous about going toward green river trail because Low bridge -> WMW thru southpark is daunting. Not to mention how the trail kind of disappears behind a sign after the casino later on (I took a picture because of how ridiculous it is that the sign is BEHIND an electrical pole)I need to look into how I can help people run their first routes, I don’t commute much anymore with covid but I would happily take an afternoon to help someone learn a route with a buddy.Good luck!

  • Bob Anderton March 24, 2021 (3:25 pm)

    Hi FOOP and FLO B-I’ve been a daily bike commuter from Alki for the last decade and am still in action.  You can and should join us… it’s SO much better than driving!I’m sorry you have had trouble contacting other bike people. We exist… and we are not stuck in traffic blocking you.  https://westseattlebikeconnections.org/West Seattle Bike Connections is on twitter.  Try contacting us there if you are having trouble elsewhere: https://twitter.com/WSeaBikeConnect

  • UGH March 24, 2021 (3:27 pm)

    no excuse for pencil rolling for 6 mo while bridge is sitting idle(not idling but nothing as in nada) Ah.. man it hurts…

  • Kathy March 24, 2021 (3:54 pm)

    WSBC has a lot of dedicated volunteers. We are a 100% volunteer organization with no outside funding source and no non-profit status. If we need money for anything like advertising, maintaining a website, social media presence or putting on a bike rodeo, our members open our personal wallets. If you see any bike infrastructure improvements in West Seattle or connecting our peninsula to popular destinations outside our area, it is due to many hours of dedicated work and participation in meetings at the city level for specific projects and issues. We also participate monthly in Seattle Neighborhood Greenways meetings to advocate for safer streets for people both walking and rolling. Our internal evening meeting is by Zoom every 1st Tuesday of the month and we welcome new volunteers to join. If you live in South Park, there is now another organization, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, who promote safe walking and biking for people in South Park and Georgetown, if you live down that way. https://dvsafestreets.org/

    • Kathy March 24, 2021 (4:43 pm)

      I should add, West Seattle Bike Connections members also participate periodically in meetings with the Port of Seattle, the freight community, and sometimes at the county and state level as well.

  • Don_Brubeck March 24, 2021 (5:46 pm)

    You can send a message requesting bike route info or a bike buddy to West Seattle Bike Connections via email to westseattlebikeconnections@gmail.com or via Facebook Messenger,  See ride maps and info on our website resources page.  We’ve had lots of requests for route info, and send custom
    RideWithGPS maps with turn-by-turn directions. By this time, we’ve sent maps for
    routes to just about every medical center in Seattle. Most recent was
    for a route to Roanoke Park area at north end of Capitol Hill A group of
    volunteers enjoy doing this, so ask away. We don’t know of any
    unanswered requests.

    • Tina March 24, 2021 (7:41 pm)

      Thank you for sharing this info. 

  • stuart April 7, 2021 (8:43 am)

    The low loader SEMI trucks from the foundry in Luna Park West Seattle are so amazingly heavy. It is my opinion that they should not be allowed on any of the bridges crossing the Duwamish and should have to go as far south as is needed on surface streets.It is my hypothesis that they are majorly responsible for the demise of the bridge and now I imagine they are being allowed to ruin the lower bridge.Come on let’s please have a little common sense around here AND let’s get something going PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!

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