WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Another trouble-spot followup; plus, overnight work this week

Two West Seattle Bridge notes:

WESTBOUND TROUBLE SPOT: After yet another crash Thursday night where the westbound West Seattle Bridge meets the ramp from southbound Highway 99, we inquired again with SDOT, which had told us after the first four crashes that it couldn’t figure out any particular problem there. In the meantime, we received this dash-cam video today from a reader who reported being involved in Thursday night collision – you’ll see it about :30 in:

Also, in a comment on last week’s crash report, a reader posted this link to a compilation of traffic-cam video from the prior recent incidents. Meantime, here’s the reply sent by SDOT today in response to our Friday inquiry:

We continue to monitor the area after each request. We have not found any construction related issues as we have not worked there since the opening of the bridge in September. Given the number of crashes to date, those vehicles could be leaving oil and other fluids on the roadway. We will take a closer look at this on nights this week as we will be doing work on the West Seattle Bridge. While we do that work we will take a closer look at the trouble spot again and will try to get a sweeper if available, to pass over the area.

(As we were writing this, an SPD dispatcher told officers they’d received a call about a new problem at that same spot, but we watched the live video camera as SDOT’s control center scanned the area looking for evidence of a crashed or stalled car, and none was found.)

OVERNIGHT WORK: Regarding the aforementioned work, here’s that SDOT announcement:

We will be conducting overnight closures of westbound lanes on the West Seattle Bridge Tuesday, November 8 through Thursday, November 10 to complete sign installation and adjustment work.

11:00 p.m. Tuesday – 5:00 a.m. Wednesday: Right hand lane and off-ramp to Harbor Island closed for westbound travelers on the Spokane St Viaduct approaching the West Seattle bridge.

11:00 p.m. Wednesday – 5:00 a.m. Thursday: All westbound travel lanes on the Spokane St Viaduct approaching the West Seattle bridge closed. Access to westbound lanes on the West Seattle Bridge from southbound SR-99 will be maintained during this period.

11:00 p.m. Thursday – 5:00 a.m. Friday: All westbound travel lanes on the Spokane St Viaduct approaching the West Seattle bridge closed. Access to westbound lanes on the West Seattle Bridge from southbound SR-99 will be maintained during this period.

A signed detour route, directing travelers across the Spokane St Swing Bridge (low bridge) will be in place during the closure. Once work is complete, all westbound travel lanes on the bridge will be restored.

41 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Another trouble-spot followup; plus, overnight work this week"

  • admiral admirable November 7, 2022 (4:40 pm)

    seems like hydroplaning – drainage is terrible. real lost opportunity to fix it over 2.5 years.

  • Anxious Driver November 7, 2022 (5:13 pm)

    That compilation video just reaffirmed my decision to avoid the bridge for the next 6 months.  So many people are saying jUsT dRiVe SlOwEr but the truck at 3:08 couldn’t be going faster than 30 mph.

  • NW November 7, 2022 (5:40 pm)

    Thank you for posting this. I drive for a living and will completely avoid westbound West Seattle bridge when wet. This is puddling that is happening from a clogged drain and pavement issue. I was on a route 21 earlier just this evening the driver took the low bridge to avoid this area completely I believe!! City need to get their act together!!!

  • Mike November 7, 2022 (5:42 pm)

    SDOT seems to be hiding their heads in the sand. Or somewhere. Are they going to wait until someone gets seriously hurt, or worse, to get serious about figuring out what the problem is and fixing it?

  • Olive November 7, 2022 (5:49 pm)

    Don’t blame the bridge.  We all see how people drive…..

    • Flivver November 7, 2022 (7:46 pm)

      Olive. You’re sure there’s NO road condition issues? EVERY accident/spinout is 100% drivers’ fault?  

    • Ferns November 8, 2022 (3:44 am)

      You are ignoring the fact that the same type of accident recurs in a specific location. Coincidence? No. Even with “bad driving” in existence, something else is involved. The org responsible for road safety and building that road must take responsibility to investigate and mitigate the danger. At this point I’m concerned they are setting themselves up for a lawsuit since it’s a known problem even though they are pretending it’s not a problem. 

      • Jort November 8, 2022 (1:27 pm)

        Hey, good idea! Maybe the estates of the dozens of cyclists and walkers who’ve actually died on Seattle roads due to intentional, hostile and negligent cars-first design practices can sue the city for not keeping them safe. But, you know, as in actually dying and not having a fender-bender oopsie. 

  • Larsgo November 7, 2022 (5:55 pm)

    How about the lines on Admiral?? People can barely see. Someone is going to crash!

    • G-Man November 7, 2022 (7:14 pm)

      Totally agree on this. No striping/marking on Admiral hill many weeks after repaving was completed. When the road is wet at night, it is impossible to see lanes.

    • Frog November 7, 2022 (9:44 pm)

      I think they did it over the weekend.

    • Alkibean November 8, 2022 (8:14 am)

      I wrote to the city on their ‘fix it’ app over a month ago about this. I hope it’s true that they finally painted them last weekend… I haven’t headed over that way for a few days.

  • Flivver November 7, 2022 (6:01 pm)

    What SDOT should be doing is pressure washing those slick areas. 

  • Oerthehillz November 7, 2022 (6:06 pm)

    If they haven’t pressure washed here then they haven’t done enough. Hopefully they can get that sweeper out there asap. It should have been done weeks ago.

  • Morgan November 7, 2022 (6:32 pm)

    Anyone see the giant lake that opened up on the base of the off ramp to Admiral hill as you exit from the bridge but before you climb the hill? New drainages problems

    • anonymous November 7, 2022 (10:35 pm)

      Yes – I drove through that lake – thought I was a goner ! Driving slow to begin with due to downpour at 11pm-ish, wipers double time, and the wave of water fully blinded my windshield.   This drainage issue has to be fixed.

  • Colonel Mustard's Wrench November 7, 2022 (6:55 pm)

    I had hoped that new leadership at SDOT would mean SDOT would be more responsive and proactive. 
    WS Blog, who at SDOT is responding to concerns about these repeated accidents ? (Please tell me it is NOT Heather Marx !)

    We need a name and job title of who at SDOT is taking ownership of this problem !

    • Jon Wright November 7, 2022 (8:55 pm)

      Heather Marx deserves sainthood and a huge bonus for patiently and respectfully dealing with every aggrieved know-it-all in West Seattle over the past two years.

    • Jethro Marx November 7, 2022 (9:17 pm)

      I stepped in a puddle once, and I thought it was shallow, but actually my foot went all the way in and got my foot completely wet. I would like someone else to take responsibility for that also, preferably someone in government. 

  • mnw November 7, 2022 (7:05 pm)

    I am appalled at the lack of urgency about this issue. It sadly seems it will take a fatality to occur for them to take it seriously. Anyone who watched these videos can clearly see something is wrong. Agree with others that at minimum, they could have come out and pressure washed the area by now. I will continue to take the detour route home when it’s raining until the road conditions are addressed.

  • WSEnvironmentalist November 7, 2022 (7:47 pm)

    Yes, name and contact info for responsible SDOT party, please.  In 2.5 years, SDOT did nothing to mitigate the water that sheets off from the bridge surface.  It still comes down in huge waves onto Spokane Street from Avalon and Harbor Ave SW – unpleasant and unnerving surprise.  And since there have been a mirad of accidents on the bridge surface in both good and bad weather, there appears to be a design flaw coupled with signage and lighting issues.  SDOT has been advised and WSB in on the record with written notifications. 

    • WSB November 7, 2022 (8:57 pm)

      SDOT’s contact info is 206-684-ROAD. Who personally is accountable for this? Don’t know. Ultimately it’s director Greg Spotts. (If you use Twitter, tag him at @spottnik .) I hope everyone who says they’ve experienced a problem has already reported it directly to the department. (You can also use Find It Fix It, but multiple city department reps have said phone reports get through quicker.) – TR

  • BP November 7, 2022 (10:01 pm)

    SDOT not acknowledging the problem only confirms they are incompetent. It’s clearly designed poorly.

  • M November 7, 2022 (11:24 pm)

    The bridge didn’t have this magnitude of problems in that spot for 30 years. What changed? 2 years of non use. I am completely disappointed that SDOT isn’t urgently addressing this issue. Just like many homeless encampments, the city doesn’t do anything with a problem until someone dies. Is that what it will take for SDOT to seriously look into the issue? What if it was simple as heavy pressure washing and looking for drainage issues? Why isn’t our Mayor addressing this?

    • brian November 8, 2022 (8:42 am)

      It’s impressive that you somehow took this issue and flipped it around to complain about the homeless. 10 points for sticking the landing.

  • bill November 7, 2022 (11:32 pm)

    That video is terrifying, not least for the two cars that fly by on the right. While the traction problem seems to be in the ramp lane the cars slide all the way across the left lanes. I’m another who will exit at Harbor Island in wet weather until this issue is resolved.

  • Watertowerjim November 8, 2022 (5:46 am)

    Wait.  Where are all the “are you an engineer!” comments?  Remember when you couldn’t use common sense to question things? The government says nothing is wrong, then nothing is wrong!

    • Jethro Marx November 8, 2022 (8:33 pm)

      No one is wondering if you’re an engineer; meanwhile, engineer or not, those of us with common sense don’t need to look for a government Boogeyman in that video as the bad driving is pretty obvious.

  • flimflam November 8, 2022 (7:49 am)

    Well, time to shut the bridge down I guess!😀

  • Buddy November 8, 2022 (8:00 am)

    They should have blown the entire bridge down and rebuild the bridge since future humans will have to pay to have it rebuilt!  I actually remember when the bridge was actually built when I was younger and I’m still alive and driving. It’s sad knowing that my children will have to pay again to have this bridge blown up and replace in their life time knowing it was repaired in 2022.  It is a well known fact that people speed on the bridge and cars have flipped over on the bridge since it has been built due to people who speed or drive reckless and dangerous! 

  • Sue November 8, 2022 (8:09 am)

    Wow, that video was scary. I don’t leave West Seattle much now that I work from home, but when I do I’m generally on 99. I guess it’s fortunate that most of the time I’m not fully coming back that way and I’m only taken that entrance once since the bridge reopened. I’m going to avoid it until they figure things out.

  • Karen B November 8, 2022 (9:15 am)

    As an interim measure until the problem is resolved, could SDOT put some new temporary signage there to warn drivers? I worry for all the people who aren’t seeing the news coverage here, who may have no idea that others have lost traction there.

  • Mj November 8, 2022 (12:21 pm)

    I just replaced my tires and have noted a big difference in traction when streets are wet!

  • Crystal November 8, 2022 (12:58 pm)

    If I am understanding correctly all the DOT construction research of this problem is happening to far west on the viaduct. DOT might want to start researching further east up the hill where the dirty/oily water is draining from.

  • ok not normally shy about my real name November 8, 2022 (7:26 pm)

    i know we’re supposed to blame the government not the drivers but I BET I NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. ;) I won’t be blaming SDOT when I slide my own damn vehicle all by myself. Conditions are volatile, I try to just really monitor traction at all times (there i said it) eek!

    • Auntie November 8, 2022 (7:55 pm)

      Don’t come crying to me when you hit that slick spot and lose control of your car through no fault of your own – just like has happened to many, many motorists, most of whom were NOT speeding.

  • Tivasi November 8, 2022 (9:01 pm)

    I reported a crash there at that exact spot yesterday (Monday 11/7) afternoon at 3:40. A Jeep coming onto the bridge from the on-ramp slid across all three lanes into another car.  

  • Dean W Fuller November 8, 2022 (10:09 pm)

    240p video?  Seriously?

  • loveswestseattle November 8, 2022 (11:25 pm)

    WSB editors:  Any comments from Lisa Herbold on this? As our city rep,  she should have been on this after the first 4 accidents in that same spot, especially with SDOT’s response along the lines that they would do nothing unless there were more accidents in the same spot. Also, kudos for covering this story repeatedly, with all the updates – I don’t know how we managed to get any information about local news before the west seattle blog – thank you for being there!  (I also wonder if you get any sleep….)

  • Josh November 9, 2022 (6:33 am)

    It seems maybe all of these crashes are RWD vehicles in the rain and I wonder how many of them are people trying to merge into the center lane too soon and spinning out by accelerating on the solid white paint while still having a bit of a cantor coming off the turn.  While it seems so design mitigation is in order it also seems people driving RWD vehicles around a bend while accelerating in the rain should be more patient and mindful of all of those conditions.

  • OK NOT NORMALLY SHY ABOUT MY REAL NAME November 10, 2022 (7:27 pm)

    Exactly what Josh said, that’s exactly correct.That’s what I meant but he said it way nicer.  Story of my life.  Thanks Josh!

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