WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Port agrees to contribute $9 million – here’s what it gets in return

(WSB photo inside the West Seattle Bridge, last Thursday)

The Port of Seattle is giving the city $9 million to help cover the costs of the West Seattle Bridge project – and getting some commitments in return. Details are in a “memorandum of understanding” approved today by port commissioners. Here’s the draft document:

From that document, here’s where the $9 million fits in the funding picture:

Here’s what the port gets: Priority handling of city construction-related permits for the Terminal 5 modernization project, certain levels of access to the West Seattle low bridge, a chance to review the bridge-repair plans “to ensure maritime operations are fully considered.” And the port and city will work together on transportation projects including truck parking to minimize backups, the East Marginal Way corridor, and design of the West Marginal Way 2-way protected bike lane “to maximize safety for all users and minimize freight impacts.” The $9 million is to be paid in three installments, starting “after the City has reopened the West Seattle High Bridge with full access consistent with prior operations (7 lanes) and shown progress satisfactory to the Port on other provisions of the agreement (this is expected in mid-2022).”

Here are the details of the low-bridge access specified in the MOU:

a. SDOT will authorize up to 550 roundtrips per day for workers required to support international marine cargo operations at T5.
• Between 7 am and 3 pm, SSA Marine and ILWU will minimize trips to 100 one-way trips per hour within those daytime hours.
• Outside of those hours, SDOT will authorize up to 200 one-way trips per hour

b. In coordination with the Port and the NWSA, while the high bridge remains closed, SSA Marine will provide flex-hours for up to 180 ILWU workers to ensure that they arrive at T5 prior to 7 am as well as provide on-terminal truck queuing starting at 6 am.

c. “T5 Labor” includes ILWU Locals 19, 52 and 98, mechanics and SSA. Each entity and members will follow existing application procedures with applications due by the 15th of each month for authorized low bridge access in the following month.

d. The SSSB is to be used only by T5 Labor only when dispatched across the Duwamish or when traveling across the Duwamish between marine cargo terminals.

e. ILWU trips to terminals other than T5 continue to be authorized when a worker is dispatched across the Duwamish; however, those non-T5 trips are assumed and expected to NOT be higher than as of the date of this MOU (averaging 10 trips per hour maximum). These trips are counted as part of the authorized trip numbers listed above.

f. ILWU and mechanic individual trips are limited to no more than two-round trips per day.

g. ILWU and SSA Marine’s coordination is necessary to enforce the authorized trip target. A pattern of exceeding the authorized trip target will result in the City directly engaging with SSA and ILWU and giving both entities an opportunity to take corrective action with their users.
• Following engagement, any persistent and on-going patterns of excessive use by authorized users could result in a reduction of ILWU/SSA access to the low bridge.

h. Once T5 reopens to marine traffic, SDOT, ILWU, SSA Marine and NWSA will regularly communicate to ensure coordinated execution.

i. NWSA will work with SDOT in advance of Terminal 5 opening to develop a terminal data reporting strategy and provide regular terminal data updates to inform low bridge access predictions and management.

For truck access, the MOU says that for one “the City will continue design to rechannelize S Spokane St east of the T-18 main gate entrance to improve traffic flow near the East Waterway Bridge, and will carry out the project at the City’s cost in 2022 after the WSHB opens to traffic.” Also, the port and city will work “to establish multiple drayage truck parking areas … for the benefit of both Duwamish Valley residents and truck drivers serving the marine cargo terminals.” For possible parking area, one on 11th SW with 25 truck-parking spaces, and potentially “near East Marginal Way, under the Spokane St viaduct and nearby areas as depicted in Exhibit E with the intention to develop up to 70 additional parking spots.”

The parking spots are supposed to be ready by the end of 2022, pending City Council approval. Then in early 2023 the city and port would collaborate on a plan for at least 100 more truck-parking spaces at site(s) TBA, possibly on city-owned property along the east side of East Marginal Way between Hanford and Holgate, also noted in Exhibit E.”

26 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Port agrees to contribute $9 million - here's what it gets in return"

  • Darius September 28, 2021 (8:22 pm)

    “…design of the West Marginal Way 2-way protected bike lane “to maximize safety for all users and minimize freight impacts.” So West Seattle has its own industry vs safety “Missing Link” now. Hooray.

    • Jort September 28, 2021 (11:45 pm)

      Yup. The Port of Seattle is paying off the City of Seattle so that they can have veto power over things they don’t like, such as bike lanes. Also note that the city will likely scrap the already-approved and ready-to-build bike lanes on E Marginal Way in order to give away newly-constructed “truck parking.” This is not an acceptable deal. 

      • Wseattleite September 29, 2021 (9:38 am)

        The bike lane should not be a pawn used in these negotiations or dialogue.  However SDOT set that stage long ago when they made the bike lane, speed humps all over the place, and other tangential pet projects such a huge component of their “response” to a declared “emergency” that should have simply remained fixing a bridge. Unintended consequences. 

        • DK September 30, 2021 (3:54 pm)

          Tangential side projects? You mean expanding options for people to get off the island of West Seattle other than being locked in traffic? 

  • Raincity September 28, 2021 (9:16 pm)

    Wow that’s a whole lot of conditions for $9 Million. City of Seattle gives it all up for Port Cash. Should we all get a say in this? And them having input on the bike lane is BS.

  • JohnH September 28, 2021 (9:32 pm)

    Can somebody please fix the crumbling concrete deck of the viaduct while the bridge is still out?
    Took it early Sunday morning and large fist-sized chunks of concrete had come out of some pretty large sized holes and were laying all over the place in a couple different locations along the way to I-5.
    Now is the time to pull up the crumbling concrete and replace it while there is minimal traffic instead of waiting until the bridge is fixed and full traffic is again.

    Sigh, I suspect no one is strategically thinking about stuff like this . . .

    • Hammer in Hand September 29, 2021 (6:09 am)

      You are asking way too much of SDOTlogistical thinking fixing this area while there is little traffic impact??SDOT has shown many times it’s management can not manage a lemonade stand in the middle of winter

  • Joe Z September 28, 2021 (9:58 pm)

    Can’t wait to see what design the Port picks for the light rail and the replacement high bridge!

  • mark47n September 29, 2021 (4:58 am)

    For all of you naysayers, the port and its clients are some of the greatest users of these corridors so why shouldn’t they have some say in the design process? I would hardly call this giving away the store. Insisting on safer corridors for cyclists to prevent entanglements between the two users is also a good idea. E. Marginal will get it’s bike lanes, though. Just not yet…

  • K September 29, 2021 (7:07 am)

    This is so gross.

  • Chris Mellas September 29, 2021 (8:09 am)

    The port should have to pay at least that much, if not even more, since they are most likely the #1 contributor to the bridges current state of damage, given all the container traffic they send over it. Then they should be forced to build their own bridge so that we don’t have to deal with this issue again.

    • Zak September 29, 2021 (9:09 am)

      The port had not sent any meaningful amount of cargo over either bridge for several years prior to the cracks forming. T5 has been closed for a long time, remember?

      • wscommuter September 29, 2021 (1:54 pm)

        Zak … Shame on you for resorting to facts in the face of all this ranting.  

    • 1994 September 29, 2021 (10:33 pm)

      How about an above ground conveyor belt to  move the containers from the  docks over to the trucks parked  east of the port area? The port could be innovative and build it. Just put a crane at either end for the container loading and unloading off a moving belt. Sort of a sky gondola to move the containers without clogging up the limited road between the T5 and freeway area.

  • Dan September 29, 2021 (9:05 am)

    This whole mess is nauseating.  

  • Notend September 29, 2021 (9:27 am)

    @chrismellas, Completely agree.  1)    Trucks cause 9,000 times more damage to roads and bridges than
     https://www.gao.gov/products/ced-79-94  2) Seattle allows trucks to be 20,000
    pounds heavier than the rest of the state.
     https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/permits-and-services/permits/parking-permits/heavy-haul-network-permits3)    40% of trucks on Seattle streets are overweight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JruF7DbPFDM&ab_channel=seattledot


  • Bob September 29, 2021 (10:40 am)

    So many complainers.  The port and people that work there have worked 24/7 during the whole pandemic.  They have received and used zero government assistance (no unemployment, etc), because they worked the whole time.There are ships upon ships that are waiting to be unloaded.  Costco doesn’t even have toilet paper.  Why would you want to make it more difficult for the port to operate?It is sad to see how short sighted people are.  I personally want these ships unloaded asap so I can use the products they have on them.  

    • Terry Winkler September 29, 2021 (9:28 pm)

      If the port of Seattle can’t handle the ports traffic. Then send the business to Tacoma. We give to much to the port of Seattle, with little return. Those jobs we can do without. Send the jobs to Tacoma too. West Seattle is paying to high a price, with too little return. And we are being held hostage.

      • Colby September 29, 2021 (11:32 pm)

        They do send them to Tacoma. The Northwest Seaport Alliance is a joint effort between Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma to oversee and maintain cargo between the two ports.  

      • alki_2008 October 1, 2021 (1:07 am)

        So your neighbors that work at the port should lose their jobs?  Really?   Wow!

  • HarborIslandworker September 29, 2021 (11:32 am)

    Well….. thanks port of Seattle and SDOT for not giving a crap about the people who work down there with you. Oh that’s right you don’t care……….

  • anonyme September 29, 2021 (11:45 am)

    Reconnect West Seattle projects end at Roxbury, cutting off Arbor Heights – as usual.  South Park, SODO, and Georgetown are included in the plan (none of which are in West Seattle) but not Arbor Heights.  This program is budgeted for 50 million, second only to high bridge repair, and yet a lot of the money does not serve West Seattle at all.  With the return of the Route 22 next week, we’ll at least have some minimal bus service on weekdays, but still zero options on weekends.  I have seen no “prioritization” of transit connections as stated on the website.  Nor have there been impact studies on the stretch of 35th south of Roxbury, which has seen a huge increase in traffic, speeding, U-turns and road rage behavior due to the bottleneck at Roxbury.  This is despite the fact that this area is entirely residential, unlike the detour routes through South Park, Georgetown and SODO, and has a greater impact on both safety and quality of life.  Arbor Heights has never received any real representation, either through a council member or neighborhood association – and it shows.

  • Roms September 29, 2021 (5:43 pm)

    These guys are quite efficient. I wish they had negotiated the low bridge to not open during peak hours. It’s 5:42 PM and the low bridge is again closed to traffic…

  • wetone September 29, 2021 (7:27 pm)

    What do you all expect from the largest subsidized port in the US….. just wait till they need new railroad bridge as one there now is 100yrs old. Your tax dollars at work…. 

    • Colby September 29, 2021 (11:38 pm)

      Only 4.5% of the port’s annual budget comes from the public tax dollars. 

      • Notend September 30, 2021 (4:44 am)

          That’s around a 100 million dollars a year from king County taxpayers.    I guess subsidizing cheap crap from China destined for a Walmart in the Midwest just isn’t that important to me anymore.

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