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?
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.
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.”