FOLLOWUP: Here’s why the West Seattle low bridge was broken for 2 hours this morning. UPDATE: Evening trouble

(SDOT camera image during morning closure)

3:21 PM: As covered in our morning traffic watch, the low bridge was out of service for about two hours this morning, reopening to vehicle traffic just after 10 am. Here’s what SDOT says happened:

Early this morning, one of the three pumps needed for the bridge’s operation started to lose pressure and exhibit atypical noises, requiring SDOT to cease bridge operations while our crews inspected the issue and performed the necessary actions to restart the bridge.

Over the course of the next few days, we will determine if the pump should be replaced or can be repaired. During that time, SDOT will station electrician and mechanical crews at the low bridge during the morning and afternoon peak periods in the event the pump requires additional attention.

On Tuesday, November 9, SDOT planned to replace a different pump on the bridge. There will be no traffic impacts to vehicles when replacing this pump on Tuesday. Any repair or replacement activities required for the pump that malfunctioned today can be performed at that time.

7:35 PM: SDOT says the same pump is having trouble tonight and they’re working on it, but the traffic cam shows it’s still open.

7:57 PM: SDOT says that while it’s open to vehicle traffic, currently the low bridge cannot open for marine traffic.

10:21 PM: SDOT’s latest update:

At approximately 5:30 pm this evening, the same pump on the Spokane Street Bridge (West Seattle Low Bridge) once again began experiencing mechanical issues preventing the bridge from being opened for maritime traffic. This only affected ships, and authorized vehicles were able to continue driving over the bridge as normal.

SDOT mechanical crews responded to the situation quickly and were able to open the eastern side of the bridge, allowing ships to pass through. We plan to expedite repairs of the malfunctioning pump as soon as possible, and will only swing open and close the eastern side of the bridge until these repairs are complete (normally, both halves of the bridge swing open). This will only affect certain marine traffic, and will not impact vehicles authorized to drive over the bridge.

17 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Here's why the West Seattle low bridge was broken for 2 hours this morning. UPDATE: Evening trouble"

  • Brian November 3, 2021 (4:27 pm)

    Sure am glad I voted. 

    • Luke November 3, 2021 (4:57 pm)

      Anything mechanical can fail at anytime. 

      • Cogburn November 4, 2021 (7:57 am)

        Especially if it is not properly maintained

    • Question November 4, 2021 (8:52 am)

      How will funneling more SDoT money to SPD help with bridges?  

  • Cogburn November 3, 2021 (4:40 pm)

    Someone tell the council that bridges and infrastructure needs to be maintained, and that takes some budget.

    • Reed November 3, 2021 (4:54 pm)

      Agreed. Let’s start tolling bridges and heavily used roadways to pay for their upkeep.

      • Wseattleite November 3, 2021 (7:08 pm)

        Good God.  Why is the answer for some always to take more money from people?  This place does not have a revenue problem.

        • David Kerlick November 4, 2021 (4:12 am)

          When $billionaires roam free in space, pay no tax, own obstructionist politicians,and there is no money for bridges, there is a revenue problem,

  • StupidinSeattle November 3, 2021 (5:13 pm)

    Nice job SDOT.  You only have  one bridge in West Seattle to keep working and you cannot even do that.  I hope the new Mayor fires all of you.

    • JenT November 4, 2021 (8:46 am)

      Wishful thinking that the new Mayor will do anything about SDOT. Agree, though, that the agency needs a complete overhaul from the top.

  • Stuckonthebus November 3, 2021 (5:52 pm)

    I was stuck on a c bus in the right lane when the bridge went out of service. My driver didn’t seem to get the memo until at least 8 buses passed us to proceed onto marginal. Took an hour and 20? To get to university street on the c today. 

  • Flo B November 3, 2021 (6:40 pm)

    Reed. You’re right. Toll car drivers. Toll bike riders. Toll buses. Toll freight trucks. EVERY road user should pay. Agree? 

    • Hmmm November 3, 2021 (9:45 pm)

      You know in some parts of the world they assign driving days based on lic plates. It keeps a % of cars off the road on any given day. We all know now post covid that most people don’t need to be in the office every day (unless your boss is a moron). Exceptions can be made for essential workers and service workers of course. If they can pull it off in Bogota why not Seattle?

  • Remote worker November 3, 2021 (7:24 pm)

    Isn’t the Lower Bridge scheduled for maintenance this winter? Today is a taste of things to come.

  • Beach Teach November 3, 2021 (8:47 pm)

    Why should we pay tolls, when we already pay exorbitant taxes dedicated to transportation? Our car tabs are insanely high, but it seems that money is all going to light rail which won’t help West Seattle for YEARS….. I think it’s time to charge all the freight and trucking companies MUCH higher fees to use the roadways, and certainly the bridge…. I mean all of us are paying for it, yet none of us can use it. It’s time to tax the big guys A LOT more, NOT the everyday people trying to make ends meet.

  • Capt. J November 4, 2021 (6:31 am)

    When were the pumps last overhauled ? Does the city hve a maintenance plan ? What do the engineers do all day ?

  • Douglas Greenswag November 4, 2021 (7:23 am)

    How is it that the bridge controllers can open just the eastern side of the bridge for ship traffic?  I thought that the center span (opening portion) of the bridge was an integrated section of roadway that opened all together as the pivot in the center of that section was rotated – as one end was rotated downstream the opposite end was rotated upstream.  Just wondering if anyone knows. Thanks. 

Sorry, comment time is over.