ANNIVERSARY: One year since West Seattle Bridge reopened

(September 2020 photo by Tony Welch – bridge with stabilization-work platforms)

No commemorations are planned that we know of, just the daily drumbeat of vehicles making the crossing, but we wanted to note that today marks one year since the West Seattle Bridge reopened. The city closed it with just a few hours’ notice March 23, 2020, after cracking left engineers concerned about collapse risk. Stabilization work ensued, followed by repair work, and finally after 2 1/2 years, the bridge was reopened to traffic just after 9 pm Saturday, September 17, 2022. Our coverage of how those 2 1/2 years unfolded is all archived here (reverse-chronological order, as per our publishing format).

15 Replies to "ANNIVERSARY: One year since West Seattle Bridge reopened"

  • North Delridge September 17, 2023 (2:33 pm)

    Obviously a great occasion for our neck of the woods but I want to use this chance to recall my favorite comment ever on this blog after the bridge closed someone suggested “why don’t we build a bunch of little bridges” we were all hard up for solutions!

    • Derek September 17, 2023 (4:12 pm)

      Works for Portland!

    • west sea neighbor September 17, 2023 (5:36 pm)

      Would the bridges in PDX be able to accommodate the marine traffic that goes through the duwamish under the seattle bridges? Maybe there are topographical reasons we can’t do it? I’m just positing, would like to know this as well.

  • Plf September 17, 2023 (3:33 pm)

    Any data on utilization versus prior to it’s closing doesn’t seem as crowded 

    • bolo September 17, 2023 (8:46 pm)

      Yes that is because if you will remember there were many who did not believe a bridge repair could ever be made safe for travel so they refused to use it unless there was a complete teardown and new build.

      That is why you are noticing less traffic, because they are still refusing to use it. They did not like the way the bridge was originally constructed, they did not like the repair methods, they did not like the scheduling, they did not like the materials used, they did not like the testing program, they did not like the maintenance plan, etc., etc., etc.

      I am probably missing a few reasons– someone can help remember I’m sure…

      • Herongrrrl September 17, 2023 (10:06 pm)

        I think there are still many people working remotely. The pre-covid bridge traffic was one of the biggest reasons I left the job I had then for one that requires me to leave WS only occasionally.

      • WS Res September 17, 2023 (10:27 pm)

        Ah yes, the “bridge deniers.” Big influence, I’m sure.

        • Christopher B. September 18, 2023 (8:31 am)

          They did their own research! LOL

    • Rhonda September 18, 2023 (12:31 pm)

      Many drivers got used to alternate routes and are still using them. I feel queasy up on that patched-together ruin so I avoid it completely.

  • WSCurmudgeon September 17, 2023 (10:59 pm)

    The volume of urban commute traffic nationwide is down because so many businesses have permitted remote work, and so many people have increased online purchases and decreased shopping at stores, especially in downtown cores.  I’ve seen zero evidence that any substantial number of people in Seattle avoid the West Seattle Bridge because they don’t trust the rebuilding process. 

  • Watertowerjim September 18, 2023 (6:18 am)

    The only positive from this fiasco are the traffic improvements made to improve traffic flow on the alternate routes. When the Westbound WSB is backed up due to freight traffic I find myself taking Michigan to West marginal.  It’s still longer but enjoyable!  

  • Jethro Marx September 18, 2023 (8:08 am)

    Do we have any reports on how the patch materials are handling a year’s worth of sun and weather?  I’m curious as to the maintenance and inspection timelines.

  • Brandon September 18, 2023 (1:08 pm)

    Cool. Been a year now. Ever going to raise back the speed limits in the alternate routes to pre-West Seattle Bridge Closure, or no? I thought the reasons for those were the higher traffic, so surely the reason is long longer applicable.  How about taking out the speed bumps too?  How about removing those street closure signs too so we stop having to drive around them constantly?  Did people forget how things were?

  • Elizabeth from T.O. September 19, 2023 (9:09 am)

    This is Seattle’s equivalent of the Gardiner Expressway in T.O.  It’s another crumbling highway that shouldn’t be rebuilt but replaced with something better.  Rebuilding the old highway is a waste of taxpayers money, which is better spent on housing and other infrastructure.

  • WSB September 20, 2023 (1:05 am)

    For the record, SDOT posted Tuesday (two days late) to commemorate the anniversary:

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