By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
For the second time in a little over two weeks, we were back up on the 2 1/2-years-closed West Seattle Bridge today,
First, let’s get this out of the way: SDOT says they’re still on track to reopen the bridge Sunday, September 18th, the date announced two weeks ago. When on September 18th? Bridge project director Heather Marx says they haven’t finalized all the logistics yet but probably sometime “early in the morning” that Sunday, they’ll just open the gates and let traffic flow on. No, she reiterated, the bridge will not be reopened in phases – when they open it, the plan to open all lanes.
Even now, work is “winding down.” The carbon-fiber wrapping – part of strengthening the bridge – was finished yesterday. That means Kraemer NA will be able to go ahead with removing the remaining beneath-the-bridge suspended platforms this weekend (the first two came down last Saturday, as covered here). That’ll probably span both days this weekend because the logistics involve the railroad tracks under the bridge, explained Kraemer’s bridge project manager Adam Dour. Also remaining: About 40 yards of concrete work, including filling the holes that were used for suspending and moving the platforms.
Despite concrete drivers’ recent rejection of a contract offer, they’ve had no supply challenges, Marx said. Meantime, a variety of other tasks are under way to get the bridge ready for use.
Today’s discussion also covered ground we covered in our report two weeks ago – including the load testing that’ll happen before the bridge gets final clearance for reopening, But keep in mind, 80 percent of the weight on the bridge, even when open, is generated by the bridge itself, And Marx stressed that their monitoring continues to show the bridge reacting exactly as predicted. She gave a 15-minute briefing/Q&A at the start of the tour, along with Kraemer’s Dour and bridge engineer of record Greg Banks from consultants WSP – here’s our video of that in its entirety;
While “demobilization” on the bridge is necessary before it can be reopened safely to traffic, days if not weeks of work will remain on the routes leading to and from the bridge – removing detour signs, for example, will be a priority – so that the neighborhoods that have borne the burden of extra traffic these past two and a half years will have a chance, finally, at relief.