1:15 PM: We’re in White Center at a media briefing led by officials including King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. One bombshell just dropped: If the concrete strike isn’t resolved by February 20th, the West Seattle Bridge repair-completion schedule is going to slide. SDOT says they’ve rearranged various aspects of the project as much as they can but the contractor needs to pour concrete for the blocks and other structures that will hold the post-tensioning steel – interior strengthening that is a key component of the repair project. More details to come, including other affected city and county projects – the briefing is happening at a stalled county RapidRide H Line-related site in WC.
2:41 PM: Back from the briefing, which was originally called to announce a county plan to seek an alternate concrete contract in case this doesn’t get resolved soon. That’s fully explained in this news release (we’ll be adding the announcement video as soon as it’s uploaded). Could that also help with the supply for city projects? “We invite (others) to piggyback on this,” replied Constantine. But in the meantime, here are more details on the bridge situation, per Heather Marx, SDOT’s program director, with whom we spoke at the briefing site.
She says the bridge work that’s in danger of getting delayed doesn’t even need that much concrete – 245 cubic yards (for reference, the average concrete truck carries about 9 yards). But it’s a specialized mix. And due to the nature of concrete – it has to be used within a relatively short time after it’s mixed – they can’t just go out of the region to get some. The bridge-repairs contractor is proceeding with carbon-fiber wrapping and epoxy injection, two other key aspects of the work, but as the mayor put it, February 20th is the “drop-dead” date by which they need access to concrete to stay on schedule. And even if the strike is resolved by then, Marx said, they have other logistics to deal with – typically the bigger jobs would be first in line, so they’re working to try to ensure that they will have access as soon as possible once this is resolved. Further down the road, concrete also will be required for some of the finishing tasks in the repairs as well, but right now the blocks/structures for the post-tensioning are what’s affecting the “critical path” schedule.
The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will be briefed further on this at its next scheduled meeting at 4 pm tomorrow (Thursday) – here’s where to watch.
And back to the county projects affected, we talked briefly with Metro’s deputy GM Michelle Allison, who says the strike absolutely could lead to a delay in the RapidRide H Line’s scheduled launch this September, as they are still working on areas from West Seattle to Burien. One other note – both the county and city leaders present stressed that they want to see the strike “equitably and fairly” resolved; they’re not trying to point fingers at one side or another.
3:26 PM: Adding our video from the briefing, which also included Sound Transit‘s CEO.
And here’s the city news release, which among other things lists other potentially affected projects.