10:30 AM: Just in from SDOT:
Concrete trucks arrived early this morning on the West Seattle Bridge. The first pours are for new expansion joints as part of major maintenance work being done while the bridge is closed.
Following the expansion joint concrete pours, we’ll then pour concrete inside the bridge for the improved post-tensioning system that will provide additional strength for the repaired bridge. These bridge repairs require 245 cubic yards – or about 30 truckloads of specialized concrete. Once the concrete structures are done, they’ll be capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force for decades to come.
While we’re encouraged that our construction crews have begun the concrete work delayed by the strike, we now need to see how the deliveries will go and manage the pours for the next month or so. After the pours are done and the work inspected, we’ll be able to revisit the project schedule and share an update about the timing of the reopening, originally scheduled for mid-2022.
It’s now six weeks past the February 20th deadline the city originally cited for needing concrete in order to stay on that schedule. The labor dispute between concrete drivers and suppliers hasn’t been resolved yet, but some drivers represented by striking Teamsters Local 174 recently said they would return to work for some suppliers in order to get things moving on the West Seattle Bridge and other major public projects. SDOT’s contractor Kraemer North America was then in talks with supplier Cadman to ensure the necessary specialty mix would be available, and then to determine a schedule. We’ll be asking a few followup questions.
12:39 PM: Still awaiting followup answers. In the meantime, Mayor Bruce Harrell has issued a statement – here’s an excerpt:
Reopening the West Seattle Bridge is the top transportation priority for my team and getting concrete today is an encouraging step that brings us closer to that goal. Throughout this strike, I’m continuing to have intense discussions with both sides to urge a fair resolution to this contract dispute. I want to again thank the Teamsters for taking the extraordinary, good-faith action of returning to work with three concrete companies. Despite those companies having no existing agreement with our contractor to work on the bridge, my administration immediately engaged to identify which business could meet our specific needs and worked relentlessly to help facilitate concrete delivery. Thank you to Cadman for their willingness to assist and help expedite a solution.
West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has published a similar statement – read it here.
5:24 PM: SDOT has sent replies to our followup questions. They’ve confirmed that Cadman committed to all 245 yards of concrete the bridge project needs. Will the concrete situation add to the repair-project cost? “We’re hoping this doesn’t add extra cost, but won’t know for sure until all the concrete is delivered. We don’t anticipate any cost increases to the overall contract, which includes built in contingency that could be released to cover additional costs if needed.” Anything else causing delays right now? No, SDOT says.
P.S. The next major public briefing on the bridge will be at the Community Task Force meeting at 4 pm April 21st.