LOW-BRIDGE CLOSURE: Bicycle-detour map and other notes

Tomorrow will mark one week since mechanical trouble closed the West Seattle low bridge to road and path users. Tonight, some updates, starting with a map for the bicycle detour:

“This is a long detour,” SDOT acknowledges in this post about options for getting around while the low bridge is out of service, adding “We have been working this week to clear recent windstorm debris from the route, install detour route signs, and review the asphalt condition to see if spot improvements can be made to support riders.” Also of note, SDOT says, “Should the closure extend much beyond two weeks, we’ll consider other options for enhancing travel without a car.” (Back during an emergency low-bridge closure in 2018, a shuttle was implemented.)

So how long might the closure last? Still no estimate. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson told WSB today, “Crews have been in the bridge every day since the recent incident, working to create a repair plan and timeline. We haven’t finished our analysis yet, but this is a high priority and we are working to fix the bridge as fast as we can.” SDOT also has published a recap of work that had already been done on the bridge, and what was planned – including this photo of work back in October:

Most of the low-bridge work was part of the same contract under which Kraemer North America repaired the high bridge. Looking into our archives, this July report projected that much of the low-bridge work was at the time expected to be done by year’s end.

39 Replies to "LOW-BRIDGE CLOSURE: Bicycle-detour map and other notes"

  • Sam-c December 29, 2022 (10:27 pm)


  • Mj December 29, 2022 (10:39 pm)

    The City needs to prioritize and fully fund infrastructure maintenance first and foremost over other spending!  

    • Question Authority December 29, 2022 (11:52 pm)

      I myself would prefer City services such as Police, Fire and 911 to be funded first, Water, Sewer and Power next and Criminal Prosecution a close third.  Without any of those fully functional first there will be no reason for roads or bridges except to leave an uninhabitable wasteland.

      • Brian December 30, 2022 (2:40 pm)

        You’re gonna have to expound further because this statement makes absolutely no sense on its own. 

        • Question Authority December 30, 2022 (6:18 pm)

          I’m replying to “MJ” and his Infrastructure Maintenance funding priorities.

  • Kathy December 29, 2022 (11:39 pm)

    How about offering loaded bus cards to people so they can put their bikes on the bus racks to get across? Also, make sure West Seattle bus service and routes are fully staffed and not cancelled so often. Maybe even restore routes that have been suspended since the pandemic hit. How about filling in the missing bike infrastructure link between the West Seattle Bridge and the West Duwamish Trail that was postponed until after the high bridge opened up? So you don’t have to ride on a narrow sidewalk with two lanes of speeding traffic spraying you with rooster tails.  How many more decades do we have to wait for safe and economical alternatives to driving everywhere when a bridge gets broken?

    • Michael December 30, 2022 (8:37 am)

      Great suggestion, Kathy – offering free bus or Water Taxi passage to anyone with a bike would be a simple short-term workaround.  MUCH safer, too.

    • wetone December 30, 2022 (12:09 pm)

      Just curious as to why some of the bike community feels free services should be available to them ? When highrise was shutdown there was nothing offered to people using it.  I agree that SDOT should have a couple vans with trailers to shuttle riders and walkers during the repairs as has been done in past. There was very poor execution from SDOT with this shutdown as was with highrise. Especially since it was only a matter of time with swing bridge before these repairs were knowingly needed leaving bridge out of service for awhile. There are many unanswered questions from SDOT along with little accountability as to how these type of issues are being handled lately. 

      • YES2WS December 30, 2022 (7:09 pm)

        @wetone; Flip your Trip was rolled out during the bridge closure offering free trips. It was pretty cool

      • bill December 30, 2022 (7:24 pm)

        Why do the bike community feel free services should be available to them? Because the city has ignored developing safe routes in Georgetown and SODO for decades. We have asked, pleaded, for meager bits of safe right of way. Now an entirely predictable, and indeed expected event has severed the main bike connection from West Seattle. The city had oodles of time to provide a plan B but failed. So yes, we are owed. 

    • SLN December 30, 2022 (5:59 pm)

      I’m with you too! Offering some variety of shuttle will be needed if this is an extended closure. Though, my bike is ~55lbs, which exceeds the bus rack weight limit of 50lbs. For that reason, I think free/reduced Water Taxi fares would be a good solution.

      • wetone December 31, 2022 (11:41 am)

        SLN, the reason I mentioned van and trailer is because just a you mentioned weight of bikes today. Many of the ev bikes today can be upwards of 80lbs.  Bill, that’s a reason haha, where are the funds supposed to come from for your owed bike paths ? I have been paying gas taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, boating, car, motorcycle taxes as in sales and tabs….. for 45+years guess I’m owed something also…….;)

        • Mark47n January 3, 2023 (5:00 am)

          Because funds continually get earmarked for bicycle infrastructure and there is no progress toward those promises that are paid for. Hence, owed.

  • K December 29, 2022 (11:47 pm)

    Thanks to SDOT for delaying the safety improvements for cyclists on WMW 😕 Let’s see if they do it at all!

  • Lisa December 30, 2022 (5:27 am)

    Oh the irony of bicyclists and harbor island workers being able to (relatively) easily head east only now to be the ones who are re-routed. We feel your pain! Just glad that this didn’t happen at the same time the upper bridge was closed. Also – this city is a mess!

    • bill December 30, 2022 (5:03 pm)

      Cyclists were doing a public good by avoiding driving, lessening traffic somewhat. Apparently this was lost on you. 

    • Kathy December 30, 2022 (7:27 pm)

      Well, Lisa, other than a couple of road rage incidents (bikers experience those, too), was the motorized vehicle detour extremely dangerous, or was it just annoyingly slow?  If there was an emergency, didn’t they also have the option of driving on the low bridge?  SDOT should look into the liability of suggesting people bike on a dangerous detour route with no bike infrastructure.

  • bill December 30, 2022 (6:30 am)

    That bike “detour” would be funny as the product of a car-oriented SDOT employee if it wasn’t so dangerous! West Seattle Blog, please take it down! This is a far better route from a knowledgeable bike commuter. Thank the city’s long standing disregard for bike safety for its circuitous nature. Murray, Durkan, and Harrell are the most recent culpable parties. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34419471

    • Dennis December 30, 2022 (12:09 pm)

      Agree with Bill, I would never ride on 1st S as suggested– use 6th

    • Keven Ruf December 31, 2022 (9:00 am)

      Just take airport way into downtown, I ride that way all the time. Convoluted routes like the one you posted are fun and interesting if you are out for a Sunday ride, but not for commuting.

  • NW December 30, 2022 (6:42 am)

    Back when the low bridge was being built a van service with a trailer for securing bikes on would taxi bike riders to and from either end of the West Seattle bridge. 

  • Wow ok December 30, 2022 (7:27 am)

    I don’t know why anyone would want to ride in WMW500 anyway.  That road needs help with speeding, road rage etc…

    • Kathy December 30, 2022 (7:33 pm)

      We don’t, that’s why one lane should have been converted from general use to 2-way protected bike lane between the West Seattle Bridge and the signalized crossing to the West Duwamish Trail. As was promised by SDOT after the high bridge was re-opened. But now under new city management we are going  spend more time and dollars studying it.

  • Mj December 30, 2022 (7:51 am)

    QA – I do not disagree with police, fire & 911 being higher priority.  However without bridges police and fire response times can be adversely impacted.  Water, sewer and power are infrastructure.

    • Question Authority December 30, 2022 (6:24 pm)

      Or, don’t live where Bridges are one of the primary access means or and island served by Ferries if you want to get around.

  • DRC December 30, 2022 (8:20 am)

         How long will this fix last?

  • Don Brubeck December 30, 2022 (8:37 am)

    Here is a bike detour route that is longer but less risky than SDOT’s route along S Michigan and 1st Ave S. This uses the permanently signed route through Georgetown on S River St and 6th Ave S. Try it in daylight before using it in darkness.  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34419471 This closure shows why transportation advocates asked for safer bike routes to the 1st Ave S bridge from West Seattle, South Park and Georgetown  when the high bridge was closed.  Didn’t happen, so now we pay the price.

    • bolo December 30, 2022 (10:32 am)

      Thanks. 6 mile detour, not too bad? Here are the directions. Quite complex. Hoping I don’t get too lost…

      From the trail intersection under the West Seattle Bridge, go southwest onto onto the Duwamish Trail 0.0 mi
      Use curg cut at street end onto Marginal Place Southwest 0.1 mi
      Keep right onto 17th Avenue Southwest 0.1 mi
      Slight left onto 16th Avenue Southwest 0.2 mi
      Turn left onto Southwest Dakota Street 0.3 mi
      Turn right onto sidewalk at West Marginal Way Southwest 0.3 mi
      At traffic signal use pushbutton to cross to Duwamish Trail 0.6 mi
      Cross tracks and turn right onto Duwamish Trail 0.6 mi
      Curve left on Duwamish Trail 1.0 mi
      Curve right on Duwamish Trail 1.1 mi
      Curve right on Duwamish Trail 1.3 mi
      Rough track crossing. Watch for trains. 1.3 mi
      Continue left on sidewalk/trail 2.4 mi
      Turn slight left onto Duwamish Trail 2.4 mi
      Turn slight left at trail junction 2.7 mi
      Go left up the ramp to bridge 2.7 mi
      Cross First Avenue South Bridge in bike lane 2.8 mi
      Turn sharp left onto 1st Avenue South 3.1 mi
      Turn left onto South River Street 3.2 mi
      Turn left on 4th Avenue S 3.4 mi
      Cross East Marginal 3.4 mi
      Turn right on sidewalk at Rizzo restaurant 3.5 mi
      Slight Left onto South River Street 3.5 mi
      Turn left onto 6th Avenue South 3.6 mi
      Turn left onto South Dawson Street 4.4 mi
      Turn right onto 3rd Avenue South 4.6 mi
      Turn left onto South Hudson Street 4.7 mi
      Turn right onto 1st Avenue South 4.9 mi
      Use sidewalk to cross viaduct over rail yards 5.1 mi
      Keep right onto 1st Avenue South crosswalks at South Spokane Street 5.8 mi
      Turn left to cross First Avenue South 5.9 mi
      Continue onto bike-pedestrian path on north side of South Spokane Street 5.9 mi
      Turn right onto East Marginal Way South 6.1 mi

  • Kyle December 30, 2022 (9:04 am)

    Free bus service/foot ferry for bikes would make more sense. But easier to just draw a long line on a map than work with other agencies I guess.

  • Singsong December 30, 2022 (9:28 am)

    Or take the water taxi if you can…..they should have mentioned that 

  • Rooster December 30, 2022 (10:53 am)

    I put my e-bike on the Water Taxi yesterday. It worked well. Pleasant even. I was on the the smaller boat which has less bike capacity.  So that could be a problem. I concur with the comments about the detour route  being dangerous. 

  • Jay December 30, 2022 (11:53 am)

    That’s a pretty dangerous detour route, but at least it fits in thematically with Vision Zero Safety.

  • Lorne December 30, 2022 (1:07 pm)

    The WSB July ‘22 report with SDOT statement that low bridge repairs (including hydraulics & control systems) would be repaired in 2022 needs emphasis. SDOT accountability is what needs reinforcement!

    • Question Authority December 30, 2022 (6:26 pm)

      What about that pesky Pandemic thing and it’s affects on parts and labor?

      • Lorne December 30, 2022 (9:52 pm)

        You saying by July ‘22 that SDOT didn’t know basic project management constraints? Or was that continuing incompetence?

    • Joe December 31, 2022 (5:26 pm)

      What about the money SDOT asked for and the City Council refuses to provide. The electro- mechanical systems of the low bridge have been in the budget for over five years and scratched off the list. The council funds the infrastructure repairs and keeps saying no. 

  • Eddie December 30, 2022 (4:16 pm)

    The bike counter display at the east end if the bridge has been inoperative for more than a year. I believe it still counts bikes, but it would be cool to fix the display while we’re in a “fix it frenzy”.

  • 22blades December 30, 2022 (7:57 pm)

    Sign a short term contract with the railroad complete with insurance waivers.Lay down a plywood deck on the rail bridge just south of the Low Span. Vuwalah!!!

    • Colonel Mustard's Wrench December 30, 2022 (9:29 pm)

      Splish Splash

      I do believe this could provide several the joy of underwater bicycling !

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