WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Could concrete dispute push the schedule back again?

(July photo sent by John Bennett)

You might have forgotten, but the concrete drivers’ strike never really ended – drivers just decided to go back to work in April while continuing to negotiate, and that enabled a restart of stalled aspects of the West Seattle Bridge repairs. Then this week, a reminder that the drivers are still working without a contract – the drivers, represented by Teamsters Union Local 174, voted down the newest contract proposal this week. The union called it “subpar” but so far has not announced another work stoppage, Still, the prospect is certainly a source of concern. With less than six weeks to go until the week that SDOT is hoping to reopen the bridge – the week of September 12th – how much concrete is still needed, and for what? we asked SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson. Reply: “The remaining concrete work to pave the bridge deck and parts of the Spokane St Viaduct and Fauntleroy Expressway leading to the bridge requires about 450 cubic yards of concrete over the coming weeks.” We asked what’s being done to try to avoid having that interrupted. Bergerson said, “Anticipating potential risks and making contingency plans for unexpected factors beyond our control has always been critical to the West Seattle Bridge project. Our construction contractor is currently working with concrete suppliers to attempt to speed up the concrete delivery timeline. We are trying to order as much concrete as we can, as soon as possible.” For now, though, as reported here last week, “the week of September 12th” remains the estimate, with a promise that we’ll get a more specific date when they’re 30 days out.

50 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Could concrete dispute push the schedule back again?"

  • lamont August 3, 2022 (5:45 pm)

    Just give the striking workers what they want already.

    • Pete August 3, 2022 (6:28 pm)

      Exactly. It’s a dirty, dangerous job. Get them a decent contract now. 

    • SpencerGT August 3, 2022 (6:35 pm)

      Provided we have it.

      • Auntie August 3, 2022 (8:06 pm)

        Who has it? If you are referring to the contractors who are making record profits, I’m thinking it’s a good bet they have plenty, just not willing to share.

        • Construction Professional August 3, 2022 (9:55 pm)

          FYI, the concrete truck driver’s wage does not come out of a contractor’s or concrete supplier’s  pocket/profit. The AGC is the entity that is negotiating on behalf of property owners and developers. Redi-mix concrete is treated like a commodity because every supplier will have to supply the same wage and the only cost difference is based on location of the plant, material costs, and mark up.  Any price hikes are passed on directly to the Owner and eventual customer of any project. The costs are actually passed on to every project in town (including low income housing and SDOT projects). 

          • CAM August 4, 2022 (1:01 am)

            Good. You want to build something? Pay for it. The city/county/state can afford to pay union wages. 

        • SpencerGT August 3, 2022 (11:38 pm)

          I was referencing “us”.  Tbh, I don’t know exactly what is going on.

        • Rick_WS August 4, 2022 (7:56 am)

          Are you their accountant?  What is the source of your information?  Or is this just your opinion?

  • Mj August 3, 2022 (5:50 pm)

    The other day I saw SDoT labelled Concrete Truck.  How many Concrete Trucks does SDoT operate?  Schools open in September and the bridge is needed to be fixed yesterday!  Traffic is already horrendous add in school activities………

    • GT August 4, 2022 (3:34 pm)

      Um I went to Madison and WS High. Didnt need any bridge nor car for that matter.

      • Laura Duran August 5, 2022 (5:03 am)

        There is more traffic when school is in session. Not all employees live in the district they are employed in. 

  • Odd son August 3, 2022 (6:20 pm)

    Expect/plan for the worst, hope for the best. 

    • John Staczek August 4, 2022 (10:30 am)

      All anger and sarcasm aside. It IS high time for this West Seattle Bridge to be completed for the week of September 12. Dig deep into the supply chain to order, deliver and install the special mixes. Our children deserve it. Our economy deserves it. Our livelihoods deserve it. Alternative routes need to be abandoned. We demand accountability for our tax dollars. The unions need to stop politicizing progress. Do the citizens need to engage in peaceful protests at WSDOT, the concrete suppliers, the unions, the Office of the Governor, the offices of our elected officials and the bridge itself? Just Do It. Get ‘er Done.

      • DriverX August 4, 2022 (6:17 pm)

        “We need it”, “our children need it” so the blue coller workers and there families are insignificant to you and yours? I get it, family first, especially when you make enough money to live in west seattle. 

        • WS Resident August 4, 2022 (10:20 pm)

          The truck drivers make a lot of money. They are extorting the city (now) for lifetime healthcare and retirement benefits.  

  • 935 August 3, 2022 (6:57 pm)


    Called it!!

  • Hammer in Hand August 3, 2022 (7:27 pm)

    Sdot could not go out of the area for the specialized high strength concrete and the quick set time, further union contracts and all.  If this mix is not a Hybrid order it form South King county and get it done. It can be done. It is time to make this a hi priority. It is high time to put the people and business of West Seattle first. I am tried of hearing we can’t because….when we should be hearing we can, here is how, we are going to,  because we have this project at the top of every list

    • DC August 4, 2022 (10:03 am)

      I have to agree here. The bridge should be the highest priority and they should get concrete from where ever they can, regardless of the union issue. They had an excuse with the specialized concrete. They have no excuse now. 

  • Scubafrog August 3, 2022 (8:12 pm)

    I’m totally empathetic with the Teamsters.  I’d love the bridge asap, but their living wage takes priority.  

    • West Seattle sucks August 3, 2022 (9:33 pm)

      Their was is way above ‘living’. And the bridge takes precedence  for a change after 2.5 years.

    • KM August 3, 2022 (9:54 pm)

      Hear hear! 

    • asdf August 4, 2022 (9:25 pm)

      No it doesn’t. SDOT could and should just get concrete elsewhere with all this BS. Just get the freaking bridge done.

  • jw August 3, 2022 (8:17 pm)

    Surprise, surprise, SDOT  ALREADY has the reason the bridge won’t be ready on Sept. 12.  Does this surprise anyone!  

  • Zipda August 3, 2022 (8:26 pm)

    September bridge  to be  opened. Which year still unclear.

  • WS Resident August 3, 2022 (9:54 pm)

    Great. Yeah. Let’s bend over for the union extortionists even more. Are they hold West Seattle hostage.

    • Greg August 4, 2022 (5:28 am)

      Troll comment.  You call us criminal with criminal motivation.  We just want to live in the community we build.  We collectively bargain for our wage increases.  For generations.  Your attitude towards Union people is unfair.

    • shotinthefoot August 4, 2022 (8:22 am)

      Local Boy Gary Merlino and the other concrete company owners are the ones holding this city hostage, not the striking workers. Hey Gary, you listening? This is your town. Do the right thing. 

    • WS Union Supporter August 4, 2022 (9:43 am)

      Wow… Extortionists…. Quite the mental contortionist aren’t you?

    • James August 4, 2022 (10:26 am)

      You mean the concrete company CEOs, right? They’re the ones not paying the piper.

  • Rodger Jackson August 3, 2022 (10:57 pm)

    This cracks me up it took 410 days to build the entire Empire State Building in 1930 with no technology at all to speak of from the first shovelful to handing the keys over and is taking two and a half years and counting to fix a quarter mile section of the bridge what a joke

    • My two cents August 4, 2022 (6:47 am)

      Not to mention the 5 workers that died during the construction of the Empire State Building, but hey we can toss out safety issues if it means opening things up early. Constructing a building compared to stabilizing/repairing a bridge is like comparing an Apple to a Turnip.

    • WS Res August 4, 2022 (9:02 am)

      Tell me you’re not a structural engineer without telling me you’re not a structural engineer.

  • David August 4, 2022 (12:01 am)

    I miss you Bridget

    • seachasbo August 4, 2022 (1:34 pm)

      Funny, clever.

  • Rick August 4, 2022 (6:31 am)

    It would be great to include some context on the reporting. Providing one side of the argument that paints the offer as unfair isn’t journailism, it’s propaganda. +$45  an hour is nearly $100K per year, for driving a truck. “We’ve provided Teamsters 174 with an offer that makes our drivers among the highest paid in the industry and bolsters an already generous benefits package. Our offer raises hourly wages for our drivers by nearly 22%, to more than $45 per hour over the term of the contract.”https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/concrete-truck-drivers-no-show-work-after-failed-negotiations-with-concrete-companies/HF2SSE243NGUHHVWBYAWAK4PQE/

    • WSB August 4, 2022 (9:02 am)

      The employers have not posted a statement since March. If they had, we would have included it, as we have in prior coverage.

      • Rick August 6, 2022 (7:45 am)

        The quote and article I provided is dated on 8/2/22….Either way, even if they hadn’t provided an update it’s still biased reporting to not provide full context/framing of the issue. If you are going to report on an issue please include the facts. 

    • T Rex August 4, 2022 (1:06 pm)

      Hey Rick, start your own blog if you don’t like the way this one is written. 

      • Rick August 7, 2022 (6:23 pm)


  • Canton August 4, 2022 (7:50 am)

    Why did the union decline the proposed 22% wage increase? What percentile are they holding out for?

  • Questions August 4, 2022 (9:47 am)

    Can someone please tell me why the contract proposals keep being rejected? Everything linked to the Teamsters Union just has rhetoric of “this is not good enough” – What exactly is not good enough? From what I have gathered, the current contract is crazy good money, I think it was well over $30+hr. Is that being taken away? Or are the teamsters asking for more? Until they can clarify what is the issue to the contract, the public opinion towards the teamsters unions is very sour based on the information we have.

    • Rick August 6, 2022 (9:45 am)

      It’s actually +$45 an hour…

  • B August 4, 2022 (10:29 am)

    Seems like it would be a good time, if possible, to make absolutely sure that the bridge can be opened from the Delridge on ramp, or the Admiral/Avalon on ramp.  Prioritize concrete to finish those, at least, so we get SOME use back asap.

  • April August 4, 2022 (1:35 pm)

    They already make close to $100,000 a year. Bridge needs to be the priority!

    • Scubafrog August 4, 2022 (6:05 pm)

      That’s not nearly enough for what they do in 2022.  Especially in Seattle. I’m sad to see how ignorant, elitist and removed from reality so many can be.  “100k is enough, bridge needs priority!”  How spoiled and self-centered some are.  

      • Enlighten Me August 4, 2022 (8:11 pm)

        Since you know so much please share that knowledge. Enlighten us. What do they do and why is $100k not nearly enough?

  • KT August 4, 2022 (2:19 pm)

    Pay the concrete workers and open the bridge already. 

  • brizone August 4, 2022 (2:24 pm)

    Why did SDOT wait until the end of the project to resurface the viaduct and deal with the Fauntleroy issues?!?  It’s normal concrete: they could have taken care of this at any time in the last two years! wth?!?  What-is-wrong-with-them??

  • Graciano August 4, 2022 (2:51 pm)

    I don’t get it, Democrats are pro Union and Republican’s are anti-union. With all the HATRED towards the unions, you would think that the people in West Seattle were Republicans. LOL

  • Greg August 6, 2022 (12:21 am)

    *Edit*  Union workers poured all the surface concrete on the roadway. Hard work.  Multi Unions.  We aren’t supposed to talk about this  on social media, but I am very proud of this milestone. I live here and we are getting closer.  Working very hard.   *FYI*

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