By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The next public updates on the 16-months-closed West Seattle Bridge and associated projects are expected this Thursday (August 12th) at the monthly Community Task Force meeting.
But you’re not likely to hear anything revelatory about the repair/reopening timeline. SDOT‘s bridge project director Heather Marx tells WSB a schedule update is more likely next month, as repair contractor Kraemer North America is using the “60-percent design” to work on that right now.
Some repair preparation is under way, too – an asbestos survey has been completed, and ordering of materials is getting under way, according to Marx, who was joined in our conversation by Sara Zora, who heads up the Reconnect West Seattle program.
Dozens of projects, mostly small but some with a relatively big impact, comprise RWS. One recently completed is addition of a left-turn signal at 8th SW and SW Roxbury. Major work on that was completed weekend before last; the project, like many on the RWS list, came from community suggestions.
Also recently completed, paving repair in the bicycle lane on SW Alaska. They’re interested in hearing about any other bicycle lanes with paving or debris problems. (Call SDOT at 206-684-ROAD or use Find It Fix It.)
And Home Zone traffic-calming work continues, with dozens of speed humps/cushions and other changes, mostly in Highland Park, South Park, and Georgetown,
Marx said that even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes, they coordinate construction schedules to avoid major overlap. On West Marginal Way, for example, they are working to finish most of the Highland Park Way/WMW intersection work before launching the next project on WMW, the temporary signal/crosswalk by the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse and Cultural Center. That, like the HPW/WMW intersection work, will be done on weekends.
And yes, Marx (a West Seattle resident who says she commutes by bus on the days she goes to the downtown office) acknowledges that the concurrence of the Delridge Way repaving/utilities/more project has been “really unpleasant.” She says they had many internal “discussions” about proceeding with the project after the bridge closure (it had been planned for years prior, as we’d reported here many times) but went ahead with it because they’re sure people will be “really happy” with the results.
Marx and Zora mentioned some behind-the-scenes factors in SDOT scheduling/planning: One example, a concrete shortage that required preparation of an alternate plan for using “full-depth asphalt” in WMW/HPW paving work in case concrete wasn’t available.
Speaking of what’s on the road – SDOT wants you to be aware of what cross-hatching stripes on the road mean, For example, Marx mentioned a conversation with the firefighters at Station 36, in the bridge’s shadow at the north end of Delridge. They were having trouble getting out of the station to respond to calls because of the continuous backups. So, Marx said, “we went out and marked cross-hatching.” It’s not just there for show – it means, keep that area clear (you’ve probably also seen it on SW Holden in front of Fire Station 11, and in front of business entrances on the east side of West Marginal Way).
And a final word from SDOT (elaborated on here) – they know everyone’s frustrated, but please don’t take that out on the construction workers and traffic officers, Marx and Zora plead – they’re just doing their jobs.
WHAT’S NEXT: You can watch the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting at 4 pm Thursday here. Questions/comments in advance? firstname.lastname@example.org.