WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Replacement-plan introduction, and what else is planned for Thursday update

The next public updates on the West Seattle Bridge and related projects are expected Thursday (June 10) during this month’s Community Task Force meeting. One new item: “an introduction” to the Long-Term Bridge Replacement Study. Last month, the task force was told some design work had continued on the “rapid span replacement” concept introduced just before Mayor Durkan chose to pursue repair rather than replacement in the short term; they’re spending $5 million on that, while making it clear that replacement studies would continue because a new bridge will be needed someday. Here are the other scheduled agenda highlights:

West Seattle Bridge Updates
– Rehabilitation progress and other bridge updates – Contractingupdate
– Priority Hire federal authorization

Low Bridge Access Updates
– Access Request Form Roll-Out update – Planning for next policy update
– Data and monitoring report

Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan
– Reconnect West Seattle Updates
– Traffic Trends
– Mobility Action Plan
– Commute Seattle Worksite Survey

(See the full agenda here.) Community members are welcome to watch the meeting; here’s the YouTube link for the stream. It starts at 4 pm Thursday. If you have comments or questions before then, westseattlebridge@seattle.gov is the address.

21 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Replacement-plan introduction, and what else is planned for Thursday update"

  • HarborIslandWorker June 8, 2021 (7:54 pm)

    What is the (commute Seattle Worksite survey)…..?

  • Derek Lee June 8, 2021 (9:23 pm)

    It was always a replacement plan$$$$$$$$$$

  • Chemist June 8, 2021 (11:16 pm)

    Hopefully we get the answer to Anne’s question, now that the contractor has been announced (some at the last meeting had suggested the answer could be prepared and released at the same time as the announcement about the contractor).

    Member Anne Higuera of Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) said she’s also hearing the same concerns Barker mentioned. Though CTF meetings amply cover the process of moving toward repairs, Higuera says one question that’s difficult to answer is “What exactly is wrong with the bridge – what went wrong?” and what’s keeping it out of operation now. She suggested that SDOT put out an explanation to clarify this for people, especially those “who have a vested interest in getting the bridge back … are still not understanding what’s happening.”

    • bill June 8, 2021 (11:28 pm)

      What’s keeping it out of operation now? Take a look at the satellite pictures in Google Maps. There’s holes in the deck, contractor vehicles, structures or staged materials. Jeez folks, it’s a construction zone!

      • Chemist June 8, 2021 (11:42 pm)

        I think it was more sad watching Paulina suggest that they had talked about what went wrong early on but had forgotten.  I’ve been watching these for a while for a statement about “what went wrong” and it’s like SDOT keeps dodging the question, IMO. I figure the RFP/bid documents should at least have some top level statements of what caused the bridge’s cracking leading toward failure and have debated putting in a public data request for that.  https://youtu.be/CU-b3JIISww?t=550

  • JenT June 9, 2021 (8:26 am)

    The Interstate 40 bridge between Tennessee and Arkansas was suddenly closed after a crack was discovered in May.  They actually *fired* somone for incompetence, unlike here.  In that instance, it was an inspector who failed to detect the crack.  In our case, SDOT knew all about the cracks but did nothing but monitor for years until without any warning we suddenly had a closure for 2+ years.  The continued lack of accountability here is beyond the pale.

  • GrewUpInWS1985to2015 June 9, 2021 (8:47 am)

    Love ALki. Love the PNW. But what is up with all this red tape?   When will the WS bridge be available for use again ? Bottom line, West Seattleites deserve a safe functioning bridge that will accommodate traffic needs now & in the future. Fix it. 

    • UpToHere June 10, 2021 (9:50 pm)

      Yes, FIX IT!!!!!!!!  Like many others, I have to get to work and back every day physically (not virtually) and don’t have public transit options.  It now takes me 90 minutes to commute 30 miles (each way!).  Commute time (especially at clogged 5-way intersections near 1st Ave bridge) is likely to get worse as pandemic subsides and traffic continues to build.  Fourteen months since bridge failure and no repair yet?  Some of us actually need to make a living.  Our current situation is scandalous.   Thank you for allowing me to vent (i.e.  explode like Mt. St. Helens…..).

  • Mellow Kitty June 9, 2021 (9:17 am)

    I still say let’s avoid the “someday” replacement and just replace it now. 

    • skeeter June 9, 2021 (9:38 am)

      Ummm…  you sure about that?  Repair will take 2 years.  Replacement will take 10 years if we are lucky.  I don’t think we want to go without a bridge for 10 years.  And if the lower bridge fails at any time during that 10 years we’d be so screwed I can’t even imagine.  

      • Mellow Kitty June 9, 2021 (11:51 am)

        Yes. I’m sure. I’ve had enough experience with refurbished junk to know a lot of money and time goes into replacement when it inevitably breaks again, sooner than expected. How much money and time has already been wasted? Sure the fix is quicker and cheaper – while it lasts. Just bite the bullet and get the new one. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I stand by it. 

        • skeeter June 9, 2021 (12:31 pm)

          “I’ve had enough experience with refurbished junk…”  The bridge analysis concluded that a repair would have an excellent chance of lasting 10-15 (or more) years.  I think Mayor Durkan made the correct choice in deciding to repair the bridge instead of replace.  But maybe you are right and the bridge will break again shortly after the repair is complete.  If that’s the case then both Durkan and I will owe you a beer and we’ll all be suffering for 10+ years and millions of wasted dollars.  Anyhow – I hope you shared your concerns with Mayor Durkan as she was making her decision so she could use your concern as a data point.  

        • East Coast Cynic June 9, 2021 (12:31 pm)

          I’m counting on WS light rail to be a capable substitute for the high bridge if it were to fail again, sooner than expected.  If it does, hopefully it would happen no earlier than the end of the 2030’s:).

          • JenT June 10, 2021 (9:13 am)

            Sound Transit is in the process of de-prioritizing light rail to West Seattle.  I’ve been counting on it, too, until I read all the news.  This issue has been widely reported including here.

          • Chemist June 10, 2021 (11:14 pm)

            The high bridge served over 100k trips per day in the before-times and Sound Transit’s estimates for the West Seattle line has it serving not even half of that many trips something like a decade+ from now.  “Capable substitute” is not trying to substitute a 3 bedroom house that your family of 5 lives in with a 1 bedroom apartment.

  • Glen June 9, 2021 (9:57 am)

    The bridge took a beating.  Seen cars hit the sides and the extra load of buses and heavy vehicles.  I was there in the 2001 earthquake sitting in a Ivor’s at the docks in Everett.  Probably had a effect on the stuck joint.   Lived in west Seattle and the bridge was so high.  The grade.  Was doomed to fail.  

  • Dean June 9, 2021 (10:46 am)

    I’m no engineer but doesn’t the new post tensioning in phase II strengthen the bridge and make it better than before?  I found this article on the Columbia I-205 bridge construction which was built around the same time with sections similarly constructed as the WSB.  It will be a sad day if the I-205 bridge meets the same fate as the WSB.  https://www.pci.org/PCI_Docs/Design_Resources/Guides_and_manuals/references/bridge_design_manual/JL-82-March-April_I-205_Columbia_River_Bridge-Design_and_Construction_Highlights.pdf

  • redfolder June 9, 2021 (12:13 pm)

    I remember when the new bridge opened back in the 1980’s there were vehicle weight restrictions.  Does anyone else remember this?  I have been trying to find that information and also information when those restrictions were lifted.  Does anyone have suggestions where this info might be obtained?

    • dd June 10, 2021 (12:04 pm)

      Around 4:55 in this video weight restrictions are posted. I think this is prior to the the high level bridge but not for sure. Could be what you were remembering?https://youtu.be/3pQ7LcpMrf8

  • Dave P June 11, 2021 (9:56 am)

    15 months of shutdown and SDOT still can’t tell us when it will open to traffic.   Zimbabwe had the nerve to say that SDOT has hit all milestones – easy if you don’t set a completion milestone — breathtaking incompetence..

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