With nine days to go until SDOT plans to reopen the West Seattle Bridge, here’s the latest.
POSTCARD: If you still harbored any doubts about the September 18th reopening promise, consider this postcard that just arrived in our USPS mail, declaring “The Bridge Is Back” on that date, in eight languages. (Added: SDOT tells us it was “sent to about 58,000 addresses in West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley.”)
SURVEY: In case you don’t do QR codes, the survey the postcard points to is here. It’s officially labeled a “Reconnect West Seattle followup survey,” asking how you’ve been getting around these past two and a half years since the high bridge closed.
DISTRICT 1 COMMUNITY NETWORK BRIEFING: The repair work is almost over, but SDOT still has a lot to do in our area before and after the bridge reopens. That’s what the District 1 Community Network heard from bridge-program director Heather Marx on Wednesday night. First she reaffirmed the reopening date and then went through the list of what’s happening now:
And here’s what’s happening next – including, as we reported earlier this week, the “load testing” starting Tuesday:
Marx stressed that bridge monitoring that’s already being done has left them confident of no surprises when the formal load testing is done. Meantime, as previewed in our traffic roundup this morning, a lot of preparatory work on routes leading to the bridge is planned for this weekend.
Once the high bridge reopens, the low bridge work – done by the same contractor, Kraemer North America – will intensify. Marx said some of the recent problems – the low bridge getting stuck open – will be addressed by pump replacements scheduled in October.
And Marx reiterated that the moment the high bridge is open, the low bridge goes back to being open to all 24/7.
In addition to low-bridge work, SDOT has some other remaining West Seattle projects after the high bridge reopens – these have all been reported before, so this was a recap:
About a controversial item on that list, the West Marginal Way protected bike lane, Marx said they still plan to “collect more data” along the route after the high bridge reopens, particularly traffic from/to Terminal 5 and businesses on the east side of the street.
She also noted that new SDOT director Greg Spotts (interim, pending confirmation vote) had toured the West Seattle bridges earlier and shared photos on Twitter. (This one’s from inside the high bridge.)
Inspection platform for future monitoring pic.twitter.com/pSUh97UBGU
— Greg Spotts (@Spottnik) September 7, 2022
In Q&A with D1CN attendees, Marx was asked again about SDOT’s decision not to allow a community-planned event on the bridge (a run/walk/ride was being discussed earlier in the year). She said that “the very, very strong response we got was ‘never mind the party, just open the bridge’.” She said SDOT is mindful of the fact that this isn’t an occasion to celebrate – “the largest asset in SDOT’s entire system failed and (by reopening it) we’re just getting people back to their normal lives.”