West Seattle, Washington
(Photos on the bridge deck by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
When the West Seattle Bridge reopens, you’ll notice some changes.
That’s part of what we talked about with project leaders from SDOT, repair contractor Kraemer North America, and repair designers/consultants WSP during a visit to the the bridge today.
As we reported earlier today, SDOT expects to announce the reopening date this Thursday. In the meantime, the bridge is full of activity and materials that are part of the final stages of work. As we concluded our visit this afternoon and traveled back to the west entrance, we recorded this video to show you part of what we saw:
Along with the final phase of strengthening – applying more carbon-fiber wrap now that the post-tensioning steel cables are in and tightened – work includes getting the bridge back to a service-suitable state after almost two and a half years of closure. That includes signage, like what’s shown above, and what’s coming to new overhead structures like this:
On the bridge’s deck, new concrete panels have been poured in dozens of spots to improve the bridge surface. On the so-called Nucor curve near the west end, a micro-silica overlay is being installed, with grooves atop it, to prevent the slipping and sliding so common in that spot in the past. A subcontractor crew was working toward the west end today to seal some of the bridge joints, and to set up a rail for a machine that’ll be used as the paving continues. All along the bridge, equipment, materials, and access points were in evidence.
In a few weeks, demobilization work will include bringing down the two platforms that have been used for work on the underside of the bridge – tentatively scheduled for removal the weekends of August 20th and August 27th, according to Kraemer’s project manager Adam Dour (who delivered this detailed briefing last December).
Scaffolding atop the bridge marks those platforms’ sites, and notches in the bridge deck that have been part of the platform operation remain to be filled in.
Along with the signs, another difference you’ll notice when the bridge reopens – the inside westbound shoulder is widening to 12 feet, so the westbound lanes will shift toward the outside. No changes in number of, or uses of, the bridge lanes – just that shoulder widening. Toward the edge of the westbound lanes today, meantime, crew members were replacing cables in the bridge’s streetlights, frequently plagued by outages pre-closure:
Another material also on view today – stacks of yellow fiberglass girders:
These will be used to build inspection platforms inside the bridge. And the final run-up to reopening will include a lot of inspection and observation, particularly during the load testing, when trucks – like a double-trailer dump truck, filled with gravel – will be driven and parked on the bridge at strategic spots to ensure it responds as expected.
Here’s what it looked like inside the bridge today (thanks to Tim Durkan for the interior photos) – including some of the 45 miles of steel cables now in place to strengthen the bridge:
Crews are working inside and out, two shifts a day, six days a week. Other notes from our visit:
Last month, we reported that SDOT was planning a community celebration to say thanks. Today, Marx told us that idea has been scrapped – in recent outreach, she said, SDOT reps heard over and over that all community members wanted was for the bridge to be reopened. They do plan a news-media briefing “a couple days before the bridge reopens” -that event will not be on the bridge, but on a port site with the bridge as a backdrop. First, we expect to hear the reopening date Thursday – and when that day arrives, SDOT has said, they expect to open the bridge fully, not incrementally. And as we’ve reported multiple times before, the low-bridge restrictions will end once the high bridge is open – that was reiterated today too.
(WSB photo: Looking east on SW Andover late this afternoon)
We reported Monday on the removal of dozens of eco-blocks that had been placed along SW Andover and 28th SW after the city swept the longrunning RV encampment there in June. This afternoon, we finally have the full SDOT explanation of what happened and what’s planned for the area:
The eco-blocks were removed by the business that placed them. Following protocol, SDOT sent a warning notice after the concrete blocks were placed due to the lack of an approved street permit. The correspondence led to a productive conversation in which the business took responsibility for setting them and agreed to remove the eco-blocks at their own expense. During discussions, we shared plans for paving the street and discussed how the curb space and right of way currently work for businesses in the area.
New pavement being added on the north side of SW Andover Street creates space for a westbound protected bike lane, the option to leverage the paving project, and fill a gap in our bicycle network. This concept resonated with those with whom we spoke. Crews are also making drainage and landscaping improvements, which is why you noticed dirt removal. The paving of SW Andover St between 26th Ave SW and 28th Ave SW is currently scheduled for August 8-11. The paving repairs damage that may have occurred due to increased traffic during the West Seattle Bridge closure.
The bike lanes will be on both sides of SW Andover St, between 26th Ave SW and 28th Ave SW, and bike enhancements could be potentially added to SW Yancy St. The design is at about 50%, and we expect installation to be this fall. There will be no impacts to travel lanes. However, some parking and loading zones will be impacted and removed. The Bike Master Plan recommends a Neighborhood Greenway treatment. Due to the industrial nature of the area and for the comfort and enhanced safety of those biking, we are installing a protected bike lane (PBL). The Levy to Move Seattle is funding the bike lane design.
SDOT says the paving will be complete this week; the schedule for building the bike lane is not yet finalized.
One of my family’s cars was stolen on the morning of August 9th at around 6:00 AM near the corner of 37th Ave SW and SW Olga St. It is a white 2018 KIA Forte LX with tinted windows. The right rear window was removed and left in our front yard. There is no license plate on the car because my family purchased it just a few days ago.
The police-report # is 22-208946.
Since the house fire in the 2600 block of 39th SW early Sunday, we’ve been asking SFD about their determination of how it started. Today spokesperson David Cuerpo told WSB, “Fire investigators ruled the fire as intentionally set (incendiary). SPD is conducting a follow-up investigation.” No details were provided on why that determination was made; we have followup questions out to SPD and have not heard anything back. If you have any information, there’s a statewide tipline – 800-55-ARSON.
(One of the worker access points on the westbound side)
We’re just back from a visit to the 29-months-closed West Seattle Bridge as repair work gets closer to completion. One headline from our conversations there with reps from SDOT and contractor Kraemer North America: If all goes well, SDOT expects to announce the bridge reopening date this Thursday (August 11th). As bridge project director Heather Marx had reiterated to us just last week – and she repeated it today – they remain on target to reopen “the week of September 12th,” and they had long said they’d provide a specific date with 30 days’ notice. But there’s a lot still to be done, and especially in light of concrete drivers’ recent contract vote, Marx says they will remain nervous until the last concrete pour – and several more remain. We’re working on a full report for tonight with everything we saw and heard on the bridge, but one notable part of the work that was happening today – they’re putting an extra overlay on the “Nucor curve” of the bridge’s westernmost stretch, microsilica – topped by grooving – to try to reduce that stretch’s conducivity to crashes in wet weather. Current work also involves signage – some new ones are already in view, and they’re not exact replicas of the old ones. More later.
Thanks to Kersti Muul for the report – transient orcas are in Elliott Bay, currently northwest of Duwamish Head. She says some are continuing eastbound into the bay, Let us know if you see them!
When the addition that’s under construction at West Seattle Elementary in High Point was first planned, Seattle Public Schools said it would be built without having to temporarily relocate the school. Then that changed, and the district decided to relocate WSES for the 2021-2022 school year, to the former Schmitz Park Elementary campus in west Admiral. With less than a month to go until the 2022-2023 school year begins, we asked the district about the project’s status, and learned that WSES will now spend a second school year at Schmitz Park. District spokesperson Tina Christiansen says the project was delayed about three months by the concrete strike. It’s expected to be complete this winter, but the school won’t move back until the following fall, Christiansen says, because, “The school leadership decided the school community would be better served by waiting until fall to move in rather than moving mid-year.” Plus: “The added time is allowing for replacement of the glazing in the existing building, which wasn’t originally planned.” She says the WSES community has been aware of all this since spring but they hadn’t planned a wider community announcement until later this summer. The $28 million project will add 12 classrooms to WSES.
(Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, photographed in Lincoln Park by Tom Trulin)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
BLOCK DROP DIY CLEANUP: Equipment is available until 6 pm today for your neighborhood cleanup – today’s Block Drop location is Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza (Alki SW/61st SW).
DONATE FOOD: Admiral Church‘s summer food drive is accepting donations today, 11 am-1 pm (4320 SW Hill)
REDISTRICTING FORUM: What do you think of the proposed new map for our area’s City Council District 1 (and the rest of the city)? Public forum online and at City Hall (600 4th Ave.) at noon – access info is in our calendar listing.
WADING POOLS & SPRAYPARK OPEN: Though it’s cloudy this morning, warm sunshine is expected this afternoon, so the city is opening its wadding pools. EC Hughes (2805 SW Holden) and Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW); both will be open noon-7 pm. Also, Highland Park Spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale) is open 11 am-8 pm.
COLMAN POOL: The outdoor pool at Lincoln Park will be open to the public today as its 7-days-a-week schedule continues, noon-7 pm.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING: Hybrid meeting (online and in-person at City Hall) at 2 pm; here’s the agenda, which explains how to comment. Watch live here.
ROCK CLIMBING AT CAMP LONG: 4:30-7:30 pm at Camp Long (5200 35th SW),
DEMONSTRATION FOR BLACK LIVES: Longstanding weekly 4:30-6 pm sign-waving demonstration at 16th/Holden. Signs available if you don’t have your own.
strong>SCRABBLE NIGHT: 6-10 pm, you are invited to come play Scrabble at The Missing Piece (9456 35th SW).
FAMILY GAME NIGHT: Meeples Games (3727 California SW) welcomes families 6-8 pm to this weekly hosted game-playing night.
OPEN MIC: 6:30 pm at Otter on the Rocks (4210 SW Admiral Way).
TRIVIA X 3: Three of the venues where you can play tonight – 7 pm at Ounces (3809 Delridge Way SW), 7 pm at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW), 7:30 and 8:30 pm at The Lodge (4209 SW Alaska).
BELLE OF THE BALLS BINGO: Play bingo with Cookie Couture at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW), 8 pm. Free, all ages!
See more on our calendar – and if you have something to add for the future, please email info to firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Joining Washington State Ferries, the King County Water Taxi, and Kitsap Transit Fast Ferries on the waters of central Puget Sound tomorrow, the city of Des Moines will be testing a foot ferry.
(Photo from City of Des Moines website)
Wednesday (August 10) will be the first day for a two-month pilot, running a passenger-only ferry between the Des Moines Marina and the Bell Harbor Marina on the downtown Seattle waterfront. They’ll be using the Chilkat Express, chartered from and operated by Puget Sound Express. For starters, they’re planning four roundtrips daily, Wednesdays through Sundays (see the schedule here). It’s expected to take about 40 minutes each way. For the first week, they’re offering free rides, but starting Wednesday, August 17th, it’ll be $10 each way (see other fares here). The city of Des Moines announcement of the service includes some interesting side notes – such as a plan to use Highline Public Schools students as paid intern deckhands
Police are at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook on Beach Drive after what is believed to be a death by suicide. The original call around 5:40 am was for a possible shooting; SFD’s resulting “scenes of violence” response was quickly canceled because the person was dead. Final determination will be up to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, and that’s who police told us they were waiting for, when we went to check after receiving a tip.
If you or someone you know is contemplating self-harm, you can get help 24/7 via the new 988 hotline.
6:03 AM: Good morning! It’s Tuesday, August 9th.
Today’s forecast is back closer to normal – sunny after some morning clouds, high near 80.
FERRIES, BUSES, WATER TAXI
Ferries: WSF is on the 2-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth. Check here for alerts/updates.
Metro buses are on their regular weekday schedules; watch @kcmetroalerts for word of reroutes/trip cancellations.
The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its regular schedule.
The crews doing soil cleanup at the ex-encampment site along Andover between 26th and 28th were expecting to be back this morning/early afternoon, so Andover may be closed again.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
870th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. 33 days until the week SDOT hopes to reopen it.
Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available here for some categories of drivers.)
1st Avenue South Bridge:
South Park Bridge – camera malfunctioning, as are a few others in eastern West Seattle (still no estimate on when they’ll be fixed)
Highland Park Way/2nd SW (one of four recently installed cameras):
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Are movable city bridges opening for vessels? Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed; 1st Ave. S. Bridge openings are tweeted by @wsdot_traffic.
All city traffic cams can be seen here, many with video options; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are also on this WSB page
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Please text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.
1:03 AM: From Jessica: “Our RV was stolen from behind our house on 16th Ave SW (Sunday) night. It’s a 1998 Four Winds 5000 RV, white, with a strip of green running around it. The muffler should be missing.”
ADDED 9:36 AM: Photo, and police report #: 22-208238.
ADDED THURSDAY: It’s been found.
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