Same contractor that stabilized the West Seattle Bridge wins competition to fix it: Kraemer North America

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

First, six firms submitted proposals to fix the West Seattle Bridge (and do some low-bridge work too). Then the field was narrowed to three. Less than two hours ago, the three final proposals were opened – and the winner was Kraemer North America, same firm that stabilized the bridge last fall.

The proposals were not strictly price bids but rather for what’s called a General Contractor/Construction Manager. From SDOT‘s announcement:

Kraemer was selected based on their qualifications, experience, price proposal, and history of success, which all indicate that this firm can finish the final phase of repairs and reopen the bridge on schedule. Next, SDOT will engage with Kraemer to develop a pre-construction scope of work so they can immediately participate in progressing the rehabilitation design.

The repair design has already been under way with SDOT consultant WSP; now Kraemer will plug into the process, and the next update with a more-specific timeline is expected when the design reaches the 60 percent stage by July. Though the repair work itself isn’t expected to start before fall, SDOT has said there may be some other “early work” that can be done on the high bridge, described in today’s announcement as possibly including “replacing bridge expansion joints or repairing pavement.” (SDOT explains that also could include “injection of epoxy into cracks.” The high-bridge repair will focus on more “installation of carbon fiber wrapping and steel post-tensioning cables.”) In the meantime, SDOT tells us, these are the next steps: “SDOT will engage with [Kraemer] to develop a pre-construction scope of work so they can immediately participate in progressing the rehabilitation design. We expect to finalize the contract and issue a Notice to Proceed by the end of June.” Estimated reopening of the bridge remains “mid-2022”; the early cost estimate of the work involved in this contract is $72 million.

P.S. The other two finalists, as announced at this afternoon’s opening (which we watched online), were Granite and Kiewit Faison. Here is the document displayed showing how the three scored. During the last Community Task Force meeting, it was mentioned that the contractors not chosen could choose to file a protest; SDOT tells us they have 3 days to do that.

56 Replies to "Same contractor that stabilized the West Seattle Bridge wins competition to fix it: Kraemer North America"

  • on_board May 19, 2021 (4:14 pm)

    Should have been done 6 months ago.

    • Sasquatch May 20, 2021 (7:06 am)

      That’s not fair to SDOT. They were busy going through all of the rigmarole necessary to purchase an automated street cleaner for bike lanes – because clearly we have money to burn and keeping bike lanes immaculate is top priority over safety

      • WSB May 20, 2021 (4:42 pm)

        Aside from the silliness of the name-that-sweeper contest, the sweeper IS a matter of safety. Debris in a bicycle lane can be more directly dangerous to life and limb than debris in a general-purpose lane.

    • Glen Swangren May 20, 2021 (4:27 pm)

      The west Seattle bridge may end up getting torn down in a few years.   I was hoping they would replace it today.   Could of been half done .

  • Sara May 19, 2021 (4:21 pm)

    Great. So we just wasted 6 months for no reason what so ever. Kraemer could have been working on a plan this whole time and we’d have some hope of a bridge by 2022. But no by all means let’s get bids from companies that haven’t done any of the work and would be starting from scratch. 

    • My two cents … May 19, 2021 (5:19 pm)

      @ Sara  the stabilization effort had occurred, currently in the phase where they are monitoring how the bridge reacts to the thermal impacts from winter through summer period. If this award was done 6 months ago, they would still be going through the same evaluation phase. 

      • Super concerned May 19, 2021 (8:26 pm)

        Understanding thermal impacts on concrete is engineering 101. SDOT claiming they don’t know to expect is proof they’re not qualified to manage this project. 

        • Ron Swanson May 20, 2021 (10:05 am)

          Another example – people who say “it’s blank 101” never took a class beyond the introductory one.

          • TophWS May 20, 2021 (1:09 pm)

            Not to mention this is evaluation of a repair and stabilization project on an already damaged concrete structure, not just standard design. 

  • Derek May 19, 2021 (4:29 pm)

    Great news! Let’s get a move on!Traffic getting worse and worse in the morning now. 

  • AdmiralE May 19, 2021 (5:07 pm)

    Are they contemplating repairing the pavement from 1st Ave -> Interstate 5 too? We took the low bridge a couple of Saturday mornings before 8:00 AM and popped up on the West Seattle Freeway and the potholes could probably swallow a SmartCar.

    • Alki resident May 19, 2021 (5:23 pm)

      We can only hope

    • momosmom May 19, 2021 (5:48 pm)

      No they used the extra money to put up signs on SW 106th St to say you’re going to go over a speed bump

      • M May 20, 2021 (8:59 am)

        Ah man, too true.Also need to keep funds for putting up those new 25mph speed limit signs everywhere.  Because we obviously don’t want West Seattleites getting anywhere quickly.

    • Smart driver May 19, 2021 (7:13 pm)

      Will confirm potholes are deadly to SmartCars

    • Dd May 19, 2021 (8:11 pm)

      Now would also be a good time to organize and insist they paint over that godforsaken bus lane merging disaster from the Bridge onto 99 N which causes massive backups. Stubborn Zimbabwe could not admit the mistake, the design flaw and refused to rectify, and i think , if memory serves, partially cited the expense as a reason they could not make fix their mistake, lol. Oh wait, he gave back a few feet , right? Spent a few bucks to paint over a few feet, lol.

      • Jort May 19, 2021 (10:34 pm)

        No, we will keep the bus lane, and everybody will deal with it. Don’t like it? Simple solution. Stop driving and ride the bus.

        • Matt P May 20, 2021 (12:13 am)

          It makes the bus slower as well.  I rode it every day before the pandemic and it got much slower once the stupid bus lane was put in.

        • Derek May 20, 2021 (10:09 am)

          Unfortunately my work is in Renton and riding the bus means 2.5 hours each way. This is not feasible if I want to raise a kid and pick them up from school. I love how convenient the pro-bike crowd is without considering how bad the job market and infrastructure is and how it can’t support it. 

          • Lagartija Nick May 20, 2021 (12:26 pm)

            @Derek, you take 99 northbound from the WSB to get to Renton? Seems like an unnecessarily circuitous route to me. You must really enjoy traffic.

          • Derek May 20, 2021 (1:14 pm)

            I am talking about taking a bike to work in general. Not this route. Seems easy to ascertain from my comment. 

    • JohnH May 20, 2021 (8:11 pm)

      Now that I’ve taken the low bridge a few times on the weekend mornings I too was reminded of the quickly deteriorating state of the concrete pavement in the left lane going East.  Some major holes in the pavement.Now indeed would be the time to replace/repair the deck while there is little traffic to be affected by this.   Hopefully someone is thinking about/working on this problem that appeared immediately after the new viaduct was opened.  if SDOT is going to wait to repair this until after the upper bridge is fixed and fully flowing traffic then the whole agency needs a course in strategic thinking.

      • Leon S Kennedy May 21, 2021 (4:42 pm)

        No. First they will finish the West Seattle Bridge and then and only then will they close the Spokane Street Viaduct for repairs.They are doing it this way as to stay focused on what they are doing.(trolling face)

  • StuckInWestSeattle May 19, 2021 (5:43 pm)

    Any word on when they will actually start doing the final repair? This is the perfect season to get busy!

    • WSB May 19, 2021 (5:48 pm)

      As noted in the story, fall is the current estimate, with a more-precise timeline expected when design reaches 60 percent by early July.

  • AB83 May 19, 2021 (5:48 pm)

    All right now get it fixed. So I can get my low bridge back

  • D May 19, 2021 (6:04 pm)

    So now they get paid again to fix what they already fixed but fix it some more? Sign me up for the “Defund SDOT” protest.  

    • Neighbor May 20, 2021 (9:22 am)

      They didn’t already fix it. They stabilized it to get it to the point where it’s no longer cracking under its own weight. That had to happen even if they were going to tear it down. Fixing it means getting it to the point where it can support the weight of traffic too. Totally different things.

  • Villagegreen May 19, 2021 (6:08 pm)

    Kraemerica for the win! Hopefully rubber balls full of oil aren’t involved in the fix.

    • sw May 19, 2021 (9:00 pm)


  • Smittytheclown May 19, 2021 (7:14 pm)

    I think we need at least one more review and then a 3-month waiting period just to make sure there is nothing we overlooked. Is Kraemer an equitable company? Will the repair contribute to global warming? Will any slugs be killed during the repair?   What’s the rush?

    • Duffy May 19, 2021 (8:20 pm)

      This. I think we should put together another 55 person commission to look into every single thing imaginable before we start the repair. Don’t want to jump the gun.

    • Jort May 19, 2021 (10:33 pm)

      Private automobiles are the number one contribution to carbon emissions in this city, and by a LOT. The repair WILL contribute to global warming, because people in this city would rather put a “we believe in science” sign in their front yards than ever stop to think that their decisions to drive are destroying this planet for our children with every passing mile. But, sure, make fun of it. If this city ACTUALLY cared about global warming, they’d forbid the private ownership of vehicle, period. But we don’t. We like yard signs and “Ridwell.” Your car will destroy the future for our children.

  • Jay May 19, 2021 (7:46 pm)

    We should hire the same engineers who built it because they did such a good job.

    • WS New Guy May 19, 2021 (11:03 pm)

      Jay, I said it before, the WS bridge was not built to withstand 100k plus cars, trucks & buses per day, 5 days a week, traveling over it.It was not built to withstand all these vehicles, bumper to bumper 4-5 hours a day, with all that weight on top of it.After repairs, I am willing to bet, the  open lanes will be reduced to two lanes going east and west. This is reality, quit whining and blaming 

      • Suds May 20, 2021 (2:14 am)

        Most all major arteries are many times over their original design capacity, including the Aurora bridge and I-5 ship canal bridge. They’ve lasted decades longer than the WSeattle bridge. If this bridge was designed with that waver thin of a safety margin from the word go, that’s a huge problem right there. By 1981, anyone with half a brain in urban traffic planning knew that usage and weights had only gone up and would continue to do so. The only question was how fast the rate of growth would be. To use “we didn’t anticipate this” as an excuse is a pretty shaky argument.

      • TM7302 May 20, 2021 (3:21 am)

        The Golden Gate Bridge completed in 1937 carries approximately 112,000 vehicles per day.  Not bad for an 84 year old bridge…

        • Derek May 20, 2021 (10:12 am)

          Suspension bridge. WSB is a concrete span with know suspension force. Thus prone to shorter lifespan. And I guess you missed how long it took to do the east span replacement of the Bay Bridge. Hint: 11 years.

          • TM7302 May 21, 2021 (1:16 am)

            Yeah, suspension vs concrete span, pretty evident the differences.  Not sure what you’re trying to state with the known suspension force and thus prone to shorter lifespan.  Engineering should have predicted this and should have met the 75 year design requirement, however we see that it didn’t even make it to 50% of its lifecycle. As for your Bay Bridge, I guess you missed that the engineering and economic analysis in 1996 suggested that a replacement bridge for the Bay Bridge would cost a few hundred million dollars more than a retrofit of the existing eastern span, would have a far longer expected useful life (perhaps 75 to 100 years rather than 30), and would require far less maintenance. Probably missed the 2,500% cost overrun from the original estimate of $250 million too I bet…

      • Seattlite May 20, 2021 (10:41 am)

        WS New Guy…So you are saying that there was no future vision for growth resulting in an increased WS population with more vehicles; an increased number of jobs inside and outside of WS requiring more vehicle transportation when the original WS Bridge was built? Maybe infrastructure needs to be built with common sense, logical thinking when it comes to a vision on future growth. 

  • Buttercup May 19, 2021 (9:37 pm)

    So sad to see the usual bitching and complaining. We have had a horrible 1.5 year, we now can see the light at the end of the tunnel for both covid and the bridge. Instead of being negative, try and be positive and band together to get through the next phase. It will go faster if we STOP BITCHING. 

    • No kidding May 19, 2021 (11:17 pm)

      No kidding,  we’ll said.  I get tired of it myself. All you armchair engineers crack me up. Blaming sdot for this.  Stuff happens,  live with it,  or move.  But please quit your belly aching. 

      • Kram May 20, 2021 (1:44 pm)

        I agree. It’s called the ‘Seattle Process’ and even has its own Wiki Page

    • OneTimeCharley May 19, 2021 (11:17 pm)

      This   /\

    • Rise up May 20, 2021 (8:31 am)

      Yes, and perhaps we might even embrace the adversity, look for the silver linings, and potential opportunities for positive changes and adaptations, unfolding from it all.

      Has anyone taken to biking to work since the bridge closure, and has seen benefits from it?

      Has anyone felt grateful for being home more with their families, or having more time alone?

      Has anyone lost their job but found or are seeking a new better opportunity?

  • Peter May 20, 2021 (8:22 am)

    SDOT could save tons of money by firing all their engineers and instead relying on the WSB commenters who are EXPERTS on _everything_ despite their total lack of any relevant education or experience. 

  • Auntie May 20, 2021 (11:12 am)

    Did you not notice when you moved to West Seattle that you were moving to a peninsula with limited access? This is reality. Face it, deal with it, or move somewhere else. All of this whinging is pointless. 

    • Suds May 20, 2021 (8:02 pm)

      Gee, thanks Dad! I’ll eat my vegetables because there are starving kids in Africa, and appreciate color television. Unlike that crackly radio-thing you had when you were a kid.

      wSeattle is a peninsula with a six lane bridge that is supposed to last it’s entire design life. I suppose you’re just as blithe when your refrigerator dies after 3 years because, hey, it worked 24/7. You should be happy that it did that!. We don’t live in the Arctic. It’s a lot to expect an appliance to duplicate those kinds of conditions for years on end.

      Kids today! 

  • Mike May 20, 2021 (1:30 pm)

    Am I reading correctly that the bids ranged from $3.7M-$9.5M? Or are numbers in thousands? It’s less than I would have expected for such a substantial procurement process.

    • WSB May 20, 2021 (4:40 pm)

      I’m sorry I don’t have the actual explanation for what the lines on the form are for … but no, the dollar figures are not a “bid” for the entire project.

    • JohnH May 20, 2021 (8:17 pm)

      The $ amount was just for being the “General Contractor/Construction Manager” not for the cost to repair the bridge.  It seems that someone (like the Mayor and/or city council) could have exempted the process from having to be bid out and just selected Kraemer since they seemed to be happy with them.  Would have saved time & $$ doing so.

  • bazooka monkey May 20, 2021 (3:08 pm)

    This   /\

  • max34 May 20, 2021 (3:29 pm)

    i didn’t realize how many structural engineers we had in WSEA.   that’s great.the real issue that nobody is mentioning is that we have KRAMERICA INDUSTRIES in charge of this bridge fix?    jeeez.

    • WSB May 20, 2021 (4:38 pm)

      Thank you for finally explaining the joke reference. I was never a Seinfeld fan…

  • Mj May 20, 2021 (4:32 pm)

    I said 5 months or so ago Kraemer North America is a capable firm that could have simply started working on prepping for the repair months ago instead of demobilizing and now having to remobilize.  Yes expediting the repair would cost additional money, but come this Fall with everyone getting back to work and school traffic will go from bad to very very bad. 

    Frankly if it were not for the pandemic the repair may have already been done due too public pressure associated with the traffic nightmare that has been mitigated by to the pandemic.

  • patience by guns n roses is so slow May 20, 2021 (8:21 pm)

    The funny thing about those wanting the bridge fix expedited, is that you seem to be the ones most upset about the bridge failing, and vehemently blame SDOT, but now expect them to fast track the new one, instead of appreciating their thorough due process. DO YOU WANT THE NEXT ONE TO FAIL TOO? 

    It’s a head scratcher.

Sorry, comment time is over.