WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: 3 notes, including emergency-training plans

(Image from West Seattle Bridge cam, 11 am today)

Three West Seattle Bridge notes:

EMERGENCY TRAINING: We’ve been reporting on SFD training at a redevelopment site north of the bridge. Now we have word from SDOT that responders will be training ON the bridge the next few mornings:

The Seattle Fire Department will be conducting training exercises and safety drills on top of, and inside, the West Seattle Bridge each morning this week. The public can expect to see emergency first-response vehicles and workers on the bridge each morning until Thursday, December 9. People may also see fake smoke coming from inside the bridge during a drill that will simulate the challenges of conducting a rescue operation inside an enclosed space with limited visibility.

This is a planned training exercise and should not be a cause for alarm. Completing this safety training exercise is an important first step in resuming construction on the bridge. This is one part of the larger safety plan to keep workers and the public safe during construction and keep the project moving smoothly by preventing accidents and ensuring that we are well prepared to respond to any unplanned situations.

SPEAKING OF CONSTRUCTION: Since crews working on the bridge last week were hydroblasting attachment points for new work platforms (WSB coverage here), we asked SDOT how soon those platforms will go up. Spokesperson Ethan Bergerson says, “We’re working to finalize the permits which will allow us to schedule the installation of the work platforms. We’ll be able to say more specific timing once that has been done.” We also asked SDOT if the concrete strike will affect bridge work; spokesperson Mariam Ali says no – “Concrete is not a major part of the current work stage on the West Seattle Bridge.”

TASK FORCE MEETING THURSDAY: The next scheduled public briefing on the bridge will be at 4 pm Thursday, during the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force‘s monthly meeting. The viewing link is here; we’re hoping to get the agenda tomorrow. (Added: Here it is.)

22 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: 3 notes, including emergency-training plans"

  • H20K9 December 7, 2021 (8:18 pm)

    “We’re working to finalize the permits which will allow us to schedule the installation “…..no sense of urgency whatsoever.

  • Tony G December 8, 2021 (6:59 am)

    This is unbelievable. Why are the permits not in hand already or applied for six months ago. Ineptitude of the highest order. 

  • Richie December 8, 2021 (8:48 am)

    Such bs… “working to finalize permits?!?!. I agree with others: This should be full speed ahead and we see no sense of urgency. 

    • mark47n December 8, 2021 (5:18 pm)

      This is a catchall to all of the permitting outrage: permitting and approval is a part of the engineering approval process. You don’t just go bop on down to the city or state and get a permit and walk out the door. You have to submit engineered plans for approval and that is a process where you work with the authority having jurisdiction to ensure that current adopted standards are being met. That permits are being finalized is a good thing, it doesn’t mean that the city is just now applying for permitting. But by all means, continue your outrage.

  • miws December 8, 2021 (9:19 am)

    Disclosure: I don’t know how these processes generally work, but, “finalize” suggests to me that permitting was already underway. Also, did they have to wait until the contractor was chosen, and see what their plan of action was before finalizing? —Mike

  • R December 8, 2021 (9:20 am)

    So, they weren’t actually ready to start the final phase after all? I would consider starting the final phase having all necessary permits in hand, and work actually being done. So much for that ‘great news’ after Thanksgiving. I will eat my words so hard if this thing is done anywhere near on time. I truly hope they prove me wrong. But this ain’t giving me a whole lot of confidence, as has really nothing involving this effort to end this extended nightmare. 

  • Jonathan December 8, 2021 (9:31 am)

    Bridge has been shut for 18 months and they are JUST starting work on repairs???

    • Alabaster December 8, 2021 (2:18 pm)

      One of the many great lines from the show Malcolm in the Middle sums up my feelings towards SDOTs handling of this mess. “I expect nothing and am still let down.”

  • MyThruppence December 8, 2021 (9:41 am)

    Hmmmm… I wonder if the permits that are still being finalized are awaiting the final sign off from SFD about completion of safety training? Slow your roll peeps.

  • Jort December 8, 2021 (11:19 am)

    My favorite is people who have either unintentionally or deliberately not paid attention to the colossal amount of non-visible work that’s gone into repairing this stupid bridge for the last year and show up into comment sections mindlessly screeching, “They’re just getting started now?! NOW?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” No, they’re not, and if you couldn’t be bothered to follow the planning, design and permitting process that’s been outlined in excruciating detail and provided free-of-charge on this very website, then maybe you don’t need to drop histrionic, factually incorrect comments. I swear if the city just had two people walking around on the bridge for the last year with plastic prop hammers tapping pointlessly on stupid things, people would have been cheering and demanding the Presidential Medal of Freedom go out to the “brave hero workers” on the bridge. So stupid. The repairs will, unfortunately, get done, and they’ll only get done because the city and its contractors carefully planned how to do them. 

    • zark00 December 8, 2021 (12:05 pm)

      You’re wrong. There has not been even close to a ‘colossal amount of non-visible work’ on the bridge project for the past year.  Over half of SDOTs time is in planning the replacement for 2060. The permitting process is behind now because the Mayor and SDOT refused to apply for permitting until they made the decision to repair – they could have started permitting for a repair and then just dropped the permits if a replacement was decided – they did not do that – we are 6 months behind on permitting.  No permit fast tracking was asked for, and now it’s too late. They completely blew it, they know it, we know it, everyone knows it. The bridge could have been reopened this month had any sense of urgency been applied. This did not have to go out for a full bid process, they did it anyway. They did not have to fart around waiting for federal funds, they did it anyway. SDOT didn’t have to delay the start of repairs until they completed their replacement study for 2060, they delayed it anyway.  I know you don’t understand automobiles, so this makes you happy, but you’re wrong about where the blame for this colossal screw up lies. 

    • Barton December 8, 2021 (12:56 pm)

      Says one of the most histrionic commenters with no trace of irony.

      • IHeartBPP December 9, 2021 (8:54 am)

        YES! Oh my gawd, yes!

    • Tony G December 8, 2021 (1:17 pm)

      Wrong again Jort.

  • CarDriver December 8, 2021 (12:21 pm)

    We’ll let you be the first to drive across the bridge Jort.

  • WSB December 8, 2021 (4:35 pm)

    Added above, agenda for tomorrow’s Community Task Force meeting. Of potential interest, a representative of the repair contractor will speak, The mayor, too.

  • rico December 8, 2021 (5:27 pm)

    What agency issues the permits he speaks of?  It is not SDCI, maybe it is SDOT, wait, what?  Of course I know little and maybe this is a State or Federal Permit.

    • Mark47n December 9, 2021 (9:41 am)

      Why would it not be SDCI inspecting the construction portion? That’s why it’s called Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. It only stands to reason that they’d be the responsible party since it is within the Seattle city limits.      

  • bill December 8, 2021 (7:45 pm)

    “they could have started permitting for a repair and then just dropped the permits if a replacement was decided” Oh PUH-LEASE! You would have been the first screeching about wasted staff time and money!

  • 22blades December 9, 2021 (6:02 am)

    Out of self preservation, I’ve disconnected from the bridge issue. Community Task Force, Public Comment Period, Community Outreach Program… All this is not some kind of oversight, it’s window dressing. I have Zero confidence in the “process”.

  • W SEA Fields December 9, 2021 (12:02 pm)

    Trying to look on the bright side, when the calendar flips
    we’ll be roughly six months away.  I’m as
    annoyed as anyone at the cracked monument to civic failure that is our bridge,
    but my ire is still directed at the time between 2013 and 2020.  They watched this unfold, however slowly, for
    seven years…right up until the point it was unusable.  “Why aren’t they furiously at work?” is ultimately
    an exercise in quibbling over a few months; “how did this happen?” is worthy of
    a case study in incompetent municipal governance.  Merry Christmas, all…and see you on West

  • rico December 9, 2021 (2:49 pm)

    As to MARK47N’s question above “why is this not inspected by SDCI”,  it is simply not in their scope, see  https://www.seattle.gov/sdci/permits/permits-we-issue-(a-z) One guess is that the permit being waited for is one from the State or Feds, but even then, that is probably only the case if those agencies are providing funds toward the project.  If it is a permit issued from SDOT, that would be interesting to know

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