Search Result for : low bridge opening

WEST SEATTLE LOW BRIDGE: After repairs today, possible extended marine opening tonight

The problem that closed the West Seattle low bridge to vehicle traffic for hours on Wednesday, and hindered marine traffic for longer, is fixed, according to SDOT. But they put out an alert to let you know that might result in a “longer than usual’ marine opening tonight:

Earlier this week, a part broke inside the low bridge, preventing us from swinging the bridge open fully so large boats could pass through on the Duwamish Waterway below. Our bridge repair team has been working diligently to get the bridge operating again so important shipments can make it to their destinations. 

Today, we are able to complete the repair of the problem part and we expect the bridge to be working properly again late tonight. If our plan works and the bridge swings open fully, then we may keep it open for longer than usual to clear the large boats that have been waiting upriver. 

People planning on driving, walking, and biking over the bridge tonight when it’s open to marine traffic can detour to the 1st  Ave S Bridge. And remember that you can see what’s happening on the low bridge and surrounding streets by checking SDOT’s Travelers Map and clicking the camera icons nearest the bridge. 

Throughout this process, we’ve been in regular contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, Port of Seattle, and the shippers and maritime businesses located upriver of the bridge. We thank them for their collaboration, support, and patience while we worked to get everyone moving again.

FOLLOWUP: Will Terminal 5 opening delay mean more West Seattle low bridge access?

(File photo)

Access to the West Seattle low bridge has been limited, in part, to save space for the port truck traffic expected when Terminal 5 goes back into the cargo business, after the first phase of a $340 million modernization project. That was supposed to happen this June. Then suddenly, late Thursday, the Northwest Seaport Alliance announced T-5’s new north berth won’t open until the first quarter of next year. That means the city is saving space for trucks that won’t need it for a year or so – by which time the high bridge should be close to reopening. So as promised, we followed up with SDOT today to ask what that means to low-bridge access policy. In short: They’re working on it. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson told WSB, “We plan to address this as part of our update to the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force next week. We’re developing a staff recommendation now in response to this new development, and would then still plan to work with the Low Bridge subcommittee to formalize any changes to the access policy.” The Community Task Force meets at 4 pm next Thursday (February 11th). Meantime, we also asked NWSA for elaboration on the “unforeseen circumstances” cited as factoring into the T-5 delay; spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh would not comment except to reiterate that details will be provided at the March 2nd meeting of the NWSA’s managing members (Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners).

From the ‘in case you wondered too’ file: About this week’s frequent low-bridge openings

A Harbor Island worker emailed us wondering why the “low bridge” was opening and closing relatively frequently at midday a few days earlier this week without vessels going through. We checked the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed and found verification of the multiple closures, each lasting about 10 minutes. Testing? Trouble? Or? We asked SDOT, whose spokesperson Ethan Bergerson checked it out and replied: “They were training a new bridge operator. In order to ensure that all staff have a thorough understanding of how to operate the bridge safely, all new (ones) spend three days of training opening the bridge 12 times per day. Yesterday was the final day.”

VIADUCT-TO-TUNNEL: West Seattle ‘low bridge’ to temporarily restrict maritime openings

(March 2010 view of the “low bridge,” from its tower, by then-Councilmember Tom Rasmussen)

With the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s permanent shutdown and tunnel transition now three weeks away – 10 pm Friday, January 11th – recaps and reminders are rampant. New information continues to emerge, too. In her weekly update, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold includes this:

(T)he U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates bridge openings, has approved a temporary restriction from January 11 to February 9 to limit Spokane Street Bridge openings (i.e. the “lower bridge” adjacent to the West Seattle Bridge). The restrictions will be in place from 7-10 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m., and prohibit openings for vessels of 5000 or more gross tons (see page 3 of the Coast Guard’s Notice to Mariners).

Though the “low bridge” is a city-owned structure, the Coast Guard has jurisdiction over the waterway’s use for maritime traffic, and it’s generally rejected calls over the past decade-plus for longer-term restrictions on the times when it “closes” to vehicle traffic. The Coast Guard did agree to pm restrictions during the 2011 closure related to demolition of the AWV’s southern section.

Alaskan Way Viaduct closure: Limited low-bridge openings

(March 2010 view of the “low bridge,” from its tower, taken by Councilmember Rasmussen)
Though they’ve rejected previous requests to limit low (swing) bridge openings during rush hours, the U.S. Coast Guard has agreed to do so, temporarily, for pm rush hour, during the upcoming 9-day, 10-night Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. That’s according to a statement just in from City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s office, which includes formal announcement of the October 10th closure-info open-house meeting we’ve been previewing here – read on for details:Read More

West Seattle(-bound) traffic alert: Long ‘low bridge’ opening today

Out of the inbox, forwarded by a few folks (thank you!), SDOT’s Paul Elliott sent out this alert regarding the “low bridge” during the evening commute:

I just was told that we expect NOAA to bring two large vessels through the swing bridge this afternoon, probably about 5:30, but perhaps ten or fifteen minutes earlier. We expect the openings to last in the 25-30 minute range. Apparently we didn’t get notification until yesterday afternoon, hence this last-minute push to get the word out.

Also remember that SDOT sends word of imminent rush-hour low-bridge openings via Twitter, but this is an earlier heads-up in case you want to plot an alternate path/time to go home.

Ramp-closure countdown: SDOT to tweet “low bridge” openings

Wednesday afternoon, SDOT used its Twitter account to say the Spokane Street Swing (“low”) Bridge was “closing” – as in, closing to vehicle traffic so marine traffic could get through. We asked if that was a preview of things to come after the 1st Avenue South ramp to the westbound West Seattle (“high”) Bridge closes as of next Monday (part of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project) – and indeed, per an announcement this morning, it is. Though the U.S. Coast Guard said no to officially restricting bridge openings during rush hour, this is part of the “voluntary notification” process worked out – read on to see how you can be sure to get these advance warnings:Read More

Restrict low-bridge openings at rush hour? New “voluntary” plan

(March 2010 photo taken during bridge tour, courtesy City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen)
Three weeks ago, we brought you the letter the city sent to the Coast Guard asking again for restrictions on opening the “low bridge” – this time, because its vehicle usage is about to increase dramatically, especially in the afternoon, with the May 17th closure of the 1st Avenue South onramp to the westbound high-rise West Seattle Bridge. (Here’s the detour map.) At last night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, Pigeon Point rep Pete Spalding asked about the status of the request, and SDOT’s Stuart Goldsmith indicated they’d gotten word it wouldn’t be granted. That’s just been confirmed today by SDOT communications manager Rick Sheridan, but he says there’s a “voluntary” plan:

Though we have not received official written notification, the US Coast Guard (USCG) has indicated that it will not support a suspension of peak hour openings of the lower Spokane Street Swing Bridge. In order to minimize traffic disruptions after the First Avenue S on-ramp closure, the parties involved in the decision agreed to a voluntary system for minimizing p.m. rush hour openings of the bridge. Waterway users, the Port of Seattle, the USCG and SDOT have jointly agreed to this. SDOT will monitor the impacts of bridge openings on traffic during this phase of construction and, should a sustained pattern of traffic disruptions occur, the Coast Guard is committed to working with the city to address the issue.

Looking ahead to increased traffic on the low bridge as the Spokane Street and Alaskan Way Viaducts’ construction projects approached, the city asked in 2008 for the peak-hour restrictions, and was turned down (WSB coverage here) without any “voluntary” attempts to make it happen. Meantime, if you’re tracking all the effects of various construction projects in the metro area, including the two viaducts, here’s the latest update from SDOT.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s what we saw atop the West Seattle Bridge after today’s briefing

A little over one hour after today’s “final repairs have begun” briefing about the West Seattle Bridge (WSB coverage here), SDOT allowed media crews onto the bridge to photograph the work. It was our third visit in three months. SDOT has been saying that the first work would include hydroblasting attachment points for the work platforms, and that’s what was happening this afternoon.

Before the actual blasting, workers were measuring and marking:

These workers are with Rampart Hydro Services, a Pennsylvania-based company that describes itself as “the world’s leading hydrodemolition firm.” Their work will be done before the platforms go up next month (we’ve asked SDOT for a more specific date). Much of the rest of the $45 million dollar repairs will subsequently be happening beneath and inside the bridge.

As we reported in our coverage of this morning’s briefing, the city and contractor Kraemer North America agreed to a “substantial completion” date of the end of June, and SDOT says completion of work would be followed by up to two weeks of testing before reopening the bridge to traffic.

P.S. Adding two notes – more explanation on the repair work is here; next public update will be during the Community Task Force meeting on December 9th.

VIDEO: West Seattle Bridge briefing as ‘final repairs’ begin

11:05 AM: Just under way, livestreaming above, the mayor and SDOT are announcing the start of “final repairs” on the West Seattle Bridge, 20 months after it was abruptly closed for safety concerns. We’ll be reporting today’s updates in two parts – first, this online briefing; second, what we see and learn when media crews are escorted onto the bridge in a few hours (some of the work is already visible via this city webcam). We’ll add notes from this briefing every few minutes.

11:11 PM: Mayor Jenny Durkan thanked the “residents and businesses of West Seattle” and the Duwamish Valley for enduring the bridgelessness. She said it’s “exciting” that “we are closer than ever to reopening the bridge.” She described the project as “on time and on budget.” $19 million in federal funds and $9 million in port funding are assisting in covering the cost. “We know how much impact this has,” she reiterates. She describes the work as “extensive,” adding 91 tons and 46 miles of steel cable, two football fields of carbon-fiber polymer, among other things, to the bridge, which she says will be restored “to as close to new as possible.”

SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe got into the details. He says steel cables (post-tensioning strands) will be installed throughout the bridge, which will be wrapped in carbon-fiber polymer, with cracks being injected with epoxy. And “while we have contractors on the bridge” they’ll do “major maintenance” including replacing expansion joints, repaving, and replacing signs. He also noted the low bridge is getting carbon-fiber wrap and epoxy injections too.

11:22 AM: They’re in Q&A now. We asked about the projected completion date in the now-finalized agreement. End of June 2022, said Zimbabwe. Are there incentives for finishing sooner? No, he said, partly because of federal rules.

Mike Lindblom of The Seattle Times asks why they didn’t just keep Kraemer North America, which also was the contractor for stabilization, on to continue with repairs, Zimbabwe says he doesn’t think that would have saved time – he says the process of designing the repairs and assembling the funding was done in parallel and would have still required time post-stabilization. He insists, “I don’t think we’ve lost any time in this.”

11:35 AM: We also asked whether the bridge is going to reopen a lane or two at a time in mid-2022 as had been suggested before. No, said Zimbabwe, they expect that when it reopens, they’ll reopen it fully – after a period of up to two weeks for “load testing” among other things, Zimbabwe was also asked about whether reopening the bridge partly, early, could have been possible. He said no – it needs this next round of repairs to be able to safely carry traffic. He also said the repairs are expected to restore the bridge to where it should have been at this point – 40 more years of life.

11:44 AM: The briefing is over but you should be able to view the video on instant playback above. Look for our separate report later on what’s actually happening on the bridge now (among the work, Zimbabwe said, is hydroblasting to prepare for the new work platforms to be hoisted).

2:41 PM: Back from the bridge, separate story later. The city’s post about today’s announcement, includes quotes from elected officials and others who were on the call but didn’t speak, is here.

UPDATE: Low bridge reopens; here’s what went wrong

11:01 AM: Metro is rerouting buses onto the 1st Avenue South Bridge right now because of a “mechanical issue” on the West Seattle low bridge – which is closed to all surface traffic. More info when we get it.

12:07 PM: Its status isn’t clear right now – it’s open so a barge can get through, said SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe when we asked for an update before the high-bridge briefing ended, but he believed it would return to normal surface traffic after that. We’ll keep checking.

12:58 PM: Just reopened.

ADDED 4 PM: The reopening happened just as we were being escorted onto the high bridge for photos of the work crew. We also saw this truck backup that built up during the low-bridge closure:

ADDED 6:12 PM: We asked SDOT what went wrong. Their reply:

Operations on the Spokane St Bridge (West Seattle Low Bridge) were interrupted today due to two separate mechanical issues related to the bridge’s hydraulic system and center-locking mechanisms. This incident was unrelated to mechanical issues which affected bridge operations earlier this month, from November 3-5.

At about 11 a.m. this morning, the bridge was swung open to allow a ship to sail through. SDOT bridge operations crews observed irregularities in the bridge’s movement, and discovered a hydraulic fluid leak in one of the pump lines at the West Pier which allow the bridge to swing open and closed (a different pump than the one that was replaced earlier this month). While crews were able to return the bridge to a closed position despite the hydraulic fluid leak, they were briefly unable to open the traffic gates that allows vehicles to use the bridge due to safeguard in the bridge’s center-locking mechanism which was triggered by a faulty mechanical switch which was sending an incorrect signal that the center-lock had not been engaged. Crews were able address the center-lock safeguard and reopened the gate for vehicle traffic shortly before 1 pm.

Since that time, crews have continued to work to double check other bridge systems and repair the hydraulic fluid leak. This work can be done while traffic drives over the bridge. We will only open one leaf of the bridge at a time while these repairs are occurring, but do not expect this to have a noticeable effect on vehicle or ship traffic. We may also perform brief bridge openings to test the systems later this evening, after peak-period traffic is over.

Low bridge, West Marginal, the distant future: Here’s what else West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force heard about this week

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After the update on impending high-bridge repairs – as reported hereSDOT briefed the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force on the low bridge, West Marginal work, and more.

LOW BRIDGE PROBLEM POSTMORTEM: The recent trouble forced SDOT to do pump work that was already on the schedule for just days after the breakdown, noted bridge-program director Heather Marx. She also said the pump problem affected maritime traffic much more than vehicle traffic, delaying barges with cargo including perishable groceries for Southeast Alaska. So they expedited to November 4-5 a pump replacement that originally had been scheduled for November 9th. They also discovered “a filter had broken” and that added extra work – 16 barrels of hydraulic fluid had to be drained and replaced. There’s one more project ahead, a cylinder replacement planned December 10th-13th:

There’s no impact expected to vehicle traffic but openings for marine traffic will be restricted. Meantime, separate from all this, the controls upgrade for the low bridge is currently set for mid-2022, after the high bridge reopens.

LOW BRIDGE ACCESS: SDOT’s Maureen Sheehan led these updates. Here’s how access is going:

Read More

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Repair contractor’s crews will be on it ‘this month,’ SDOT tells Community Task Force

First update from this afternoon’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting is the latest on Topic A – the repair work that’s about to begin. (That wasn’t the only topic discussed, but we’ll get to the others in a later report.) From the slide deck, the announcement that the Maximum Allowable Construction Cost (MACC) contract is almost ready to be signed:

Bridge program director Heather Marx said, “You will see Kraemer North America [repair contractor] crews back on the bridge this month,” first bringing equipment and materials onto the bridge. They’re building work platforms offsite. Much of the current work happens inside the bridge or off the bridge – but she said you will see work crews, trailers, and equipment. Also ahead: Hydroblasting to create lifting points for the work platforms; there are old ones from the stabilization process but they have to create new ones for the “tail spans” – sections of the bridge on which work was not done during the stabilization process.

(WSB photo from August visit atop the bridge)

There will be some “short-term” low bridge, street, and waterway closures for the platform installation, and they’re promising lots of advance notice. Here’s the timeline:

Carbon-reinforced polymer wrapping starts around the first of the year, and low-bridge work – including more of that – also starts in the first quarter.

“As soon as we sign the contract, we’ll be free to talk about when the work is expected to be done,” Marx promised. Asked later if that contract would be viewable post-signing, Marx said it’s a public document, so yes. But she also said the work is “risk-loaded”:

The work also could go “better” than planned, she noted. The activities mentioned in the slide above include a planned “celebration” for the community – but she promised that will not delay the reopening.

Also addressed at today’s meeting – the low bridge, recent West Marginal Way work, and the study for a bridge replacement that’s likely 40 years in the future (more from SDOT Blog here). We’ll get into all those details in a separate report later.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s why the West Seattle low bridge was broken for 2 hours this morning. UPDATE: Evening trouble

(SDOT camera image during morning closure)

3:21 PM: As covered in our morning traffic watch, the low bridge was out of service for about two hours this morning, reopening to vehicle traffic just after 10 am. Here’s what SDOT says happened:

Early this morning, one of the three pumps needed for the bridge’s operation started to lose pressure and exhibit atypical noises, requiring SDOT to cease bridge operations while our crews inspected the issue and performed the necessary actions to restart the bridge.

Over the course of the next few days, we will determine if the pump should be replaced or can be repaired. During that time, SDOT will station electrician and mechanical crews at the low bridge during the morning and afternoon peak periods in the event the pump requires additional attention.

On Tuesday, November 9, SDOT planned to replace a different pump on the bridge. There will be no traffic impacts to vehicles when replacing this pump on Tuesday. Any repair or replacement activities required for the pump that malfunctioned today can be performed at that time.

7:35 PM: SDOT says the same pump is having trouble tonight and they’re working on it, but the traffic cam shows it’s still open.

7:57 PM: SDOT says that while it’s open to vehicle traffic, currently the low bridge cannot open for marine traffic.

10:21 PM: SDOT’s latest update:

At approximately 5:30 pm this evening, the same pump on the Spokane Street Bridge (West Seattle Low Bridge) once again began experiencing mechanical issues preventing the bridge from being opened for maritime traffic. This only affected ships, and authorized vehicles were able to continue driving over the bridge as normal.

SDOT mechanical crews responded to the situation quickly and were able to open the eastern side of the bridge, allowing ships to pass through. We plan to expedite repairs of the malfunctioning pump as soon as possible, and will only swing open and close the eastern side of the bridge until these repairs are complete (normally, both halves of the bridge swing open). This will only affect certain marine traffic, and will not impact vehicles authorized to drive over the bridge.

TRAFFIC, ROAD WORK, TRANSIT, WEATHER: Wednesday, with low-bridge breakdown (update: reopened)

8:26 AM: Thanks for the tips. The low bridge is having trouble and traffic is being diverted.

8:37 AM: Here’s the traffic camera view from above:

8:51 AM: No estimate yet on how long this will take, but we have an inquiry out to SDOT.

9:27 AM: No ETA yet per SDOT spokesperson: “Our repair crew is working with urgency to assess the issue and determine next steps to reopen the bridge to traffic as soon as possible.”

10:02 AM: We are at the bridge. WB vehicles are crossing now. WB too.

10:30 AM: We’ll have a separate followup whenever we hear from SDOT what caused this. As you might recall, various repair/maintenance projects are in the works for the low bridge as well as the high bridge (detailed here).

==============

Earlier:

6:07 AM: Good morning.

WEATHER

Another day with some rain, some clouds, maybe some sun, maybe even a 60-ish high.

FALL BACK

Time to start reminding you that this Saturday night/Sunday morning, we “fall back” an hour.

BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES

592nd morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are views of other bridges and routes:

Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available here for some categories of drivers.)

The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):

South Park Bridge:

West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:

Highland Park Way/Holden:

The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):

Are movable bridges opening for boats or barges? The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed is working again as of early this morning; 1st Ave. South Bridge openings are tweeted on @wsdot_traffic.

See all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also on this WSB page.

ROAD WORK

26th SW – Continuing southbound closure between Roxbury and Barton for RapidRide H Line prep work. Also, new work at 26th/Roxbury is starting. This flyer has full details.

15th SW: Still closed at Roxbury, on the south side of the intersection.

Admiral Way: Crews have been working on the stairway on the downhill slope, just before the Avalon cutoff.

BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES

Regular Metro schedule, except for the rerouting in RapidRide H Line work zones – on 26th and 15th SW in particular. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of trip cancellations.

For ferries and Water Taxi: WSF continues a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates. The Water Taxi continues on its new schedule (no weekend or off-peak shuttle buses).

Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.

TRAFFIC, TRANSIT, WEATHER, ROAD WORK: Pre-Halloween Friday notes & weekend alerts

6:02 AM: Good morning!

WEATHER

After a very rainy night, drying out today – the forecasters promise – just in time for Hallo-weekend.

WATCH OUT FOR TRICK-OR-TREATERS

From the WSB West Seattle Halloween Guide, Admiral District businesses welcome trick-or-treaters 3-6 pm today, Alki Beach businesses do it 10 am-noon tomorrow, The Junction 10 am-2 pm Sunday, and then of course there’s Halloween night everywhere … everybody be careful!

BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES

587th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are views of other bridges and routes:

South Park Bridge:

Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available here for some categories of drivers.)

West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:

Highland Park Way/Holden:

The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):

The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):

Are movable bridges opening for boats or barges? The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed has stalled again, but 1st Ave. South Bridge openings are tweeted on @wsdot_traffic.

See all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also on this WSB page.

ROAD WORK – TODAY, THIS WEEKEND, BEYOND

26th SW – Ongoing closure between Roxbury and Barton for RapidRide H Line prep work, at least a few more weeks, the county says.

THIS WEEKEND: Here’s the multi-location SDOT advisory:

This weekend, we’ll be completing the concrete street panel work started a few weeks ago on 16th Ave SW and SW Austin St in the northbound direction. This work is anticipated to begin as early as 7 AM Saturday and is expected to be completed by 5 PM. You can expect to see some travel lane closures throughout the day on Saturday, but traffic will be maintained in both directions. After completing the work, we will place steel plates Saturday evening to allow the concrete to fully harden. You can expect minor traffic impacts on Sunday afternoon as concrete crews remove the steel plates.

We’ll also be working on updating the painted street striping at the intersection between Corson Ave S and S Michigan St. This work is anticipated to last from 6 AM to 11 AM on Saturday. The left turn lane will be affected north of S Michigan St and the southbound through lanes will be affected south of S Michigan St for removal of paint lines and installation of new ones to support a slightly different operation.

In South Park this weekend, we’ll also be completing some minor street pavement repairs in various locations on Saturday from approximately 7 AM to 5 PM. We do not anticipate any major closures or detours for travelers.

NEXT WEEK: More RapidRide-related work at 26th/Roxbury, starting as soon as Monday. This flyer has full details.

BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES

Regular Metro schedule, except for the rerouting in RapidRide H Line work zones – on 26th and 15th SW in particular. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of trip cancellations.

For ferries and Water Taxi: WSF continues a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates. The Water Taxi continurs on its new schedule (no weekend or off-peak shuttle buses).

Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.

TRAFFIC, TRANSIT, WEATHER, ROAD WORK: Tuesday notes, with South Park Bridge closed

6:05 AM: Good morning!

WEATHER

More rain in today’s forecast – some wind but not as much as the past two days.

CLOSURE

The South Park Bridge and a stretch of East Marginal Way, between 14th Ave South and South 86th Place, are still closed for power line/pole repairs. Here’s the nearest camera:

OTHER BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES

584th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are views of other bridges and routes:

Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available here for some categories of drivers.)

West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:

Highland Park Way/Holden:

The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):

The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):

Are movable bridges opening for boats or barges? The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed is down again. But 1st Ave. South Bridge openings are tweeted on @wsdot_traffic.

See all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also on this WSB page.

ROAD WORK – TODAY AND THIS WEEKEND

26th SW – Ongoing closure between Roxbury and Barton for RapidRide H Line prep work, at least a few more weeks, the county says.

BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES

Regular Metro schedule, except for the rerouting in RapidRide H Line work zones – on 26th and 15th SW in particular. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of trip cancellations.

For ferries and Water Taxi: WSF is still on a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates. The Water Taxi remains on its new schedule (no weekend or off-peak shuttle buses).

Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.

WINDSTORM AFTERMATH: South Park Bridge still closed, and other cleanup notes

The forecast remains “breezy” through Wednesday, but not as windy as Sunday, so cleanup continues today. Above, Joel sent the photo of a tree that toppled in the 4100 block of Chilberg SW. But the worst toppling trouble in the area remains on East Marginal Way. Seattle City Light says 15 poles fell in the storm, closing part of East Marginal and blocking access to the South Park Bridge as a result.

The bridge and road might stay closed until “midday Tuesday” although SCL says they’re prioritizing the cleanup near the bridge’s east end in order to expedite the reopening. And if you’re wondering about the East Marginal poles that fell two years ago, here’s what City Light says:

These poles, located north of the stretch of poles that failed during a 2019 incident, were last inspected in August 2021. Three poles were identified for replacement and were in the process of being designed and permitted for replacement. As we clear the road, we are transferring the poles and equipment to a location for further inspection.

Meantime, SDOT has been out today sweeping leaf-deluged gutters – we saw this one on California SW in Gatewood:

They can’t be everywhere, though, so check on your nearest drain to ensure it’s not choked with all the leaves that have blown off th trees.

WEATHER, TRAFFIC, TRANSIT, ROAD WORK: Monday notes, with South Park Bridge closed

6:03=4 AM: Good morning!

WEATHER

More stormy weather in today’s forecast – south wind that could gust to 40 mph, and intermittent rain.

CLOSURE

As noted last night, the South Park Bridge and a stretch of East Marginal Way, between 14th Ave South and South 86th Place, are closed for power line/pole repairs, and might remain closed until tonight. Here’s the nearest camera:

OTHER BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES

583rd morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are views of other bridges and routes:

Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available here for some categories of drivers.)

West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:

Highland Park Way/Holden:

The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):

The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):

Are movable bridges opening for boats or barges? The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed is down again. But 1st Ave. South Bridge openings are tweeted on @wsdot_traffic.

See all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also on this WSB page.

ROAD WORK – TODAY AND THIS WEEKEND

26th SW – Ongoing closure between Roxbury and Barton for RapidRide H Line prep work. We checked on Wednesday – about another month to go. (They’ve had a procurement delay in signal loops.)

BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES

Regular Metro schedule, except for the rerouting in RapidRide H Line work zones – on 26th and 15th SW in particular. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of trip cancellations.

For ferries and Water Taxi: WSF is back to two-boat service on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates. The Water Taxi remains on its new schedule (no weekend or off-peak shuttle buses).

Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.

‘We are almost there’: As repair work nears, West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force gets updates

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Repair work to reopen the 19-months-closed West Seattle Bridge is now just weeks from starting.

That’s part of what the bridge’s Community Task Force heard during its monthly meeting, held online Thursday evening. Here’s how it unfolded:

BRIDGE-TOUR THOUGHTS: Since the advisory group’s last meeting, members had been invited to tour the bridge – in visits similar to the media tour we covered last month – and CTF co-chair Paulina López of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition invited members to offer their thoughts.

(SDOT photos)

Read More

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Port agrees to contribute $9 million – here’s what it gets in return

(WSB photo inside the West Seattle Bridge, last Thursday)

The Port of Seattle is giving the city $9 million to help cover the costs of the West Seattle Bridge project – and getting some commitments in return. Details are in a “memorandum of understanding” approved today by port commissioners. Here’s the draft document:

From that document, here’s where the $9 million fits in the funding picture:

Here’s what the port gets: Priority handling of city construction-related permits for the Terminal 5 modernization project, certain levels of access to the West Seattle low bridge, a chance to review the bridge-repair plans “to ensure maritime operations are fully considered.” And the port and city will work together on transportation projects including truck parking to minimize backups, the East Marginal Way corridor, and design of the West Marginal Way 2-way protected bike lane “to maximize safety for all users and minimize freight impacts.” The $9 million is to be paid in three installments, starting “after the City has reopened the West Seattle High Bridge with full access consistent with prior operations (7 lanes) and shown progress satisfactory to the Port on other provisions of the agreement (this is expected in mid-2022).”

Here are the details of the low-bridge access specified in the MOU:

a. SDOT will authorize up to 550 roundtrips per day for workers required to support international marine cargo operations at T5.
• Between 7 am and 3 pm, SSA Marine and ILWU will minimize trips to 100 one-way trips per hour within those daytime hours.
• Outside of those hours, SDOT will authorize up to 200 one-way trips per hour

b. In coordination with the Port and the NWSA, while the high bridge remains closed, SSA Marine will provide flex-hours for up to 180 ILWU workers to ensure that they arrive at T5 prior to 7 am as well as provide on-terminal truck queuing starting at 6 am.

c. “T5 Labor” includes ILWU Locals 19, 52 and 98, mechanics and SSA. Each entity and members will follow existing application procedures with applications due by the 15th of each month for authorized low bridge access in the following month.

d. The SSSB is to be used only by T5 Labor only when dispatched across the Duwamish or when traveling across the Duwamish between marine cargo terminals.

e. ILWU trips to terminals other than T5 continue to be authorized when a worker is dispatched across the Duwamish; however, those non-T5 trips are assumed and expected to NOT be higher than as of the date of this MOU (averaging 10 trips per hour maximum). These trips are counted as part of the authorized trip numbers listed above.

f. ILWU and mechanic individual trips are limited to no more than two-round trips per day.

g. ILWU and SSA Marine’s coordination is necessary to enforce the authorized trip target. A pattern of exceeding the authorized trip target will result in the City directly engaging with SSA and ILWU and giving both entities an opportunity to take corrective action with their users.
• Following engagement, any persistent and on-going patterns of excessive use by authorized users could result in a reduction of ILWU/SSA access to the low bridge.

h. Once T5 reopens to marine traffic, SDOT, ILWU, SSA Marine and NWSA will regularly communicate to ensure coordinated execution.

i. NWSA will work with SDOT in advance of Terminal 5 opening to develop a terminal data reporting strategy and provide regular terminal data updates to inform low bridge access predictions and management.

For truck access, the MOU says that for one “the City will continue design to rechannelize S Spokane St east of the T-18 main gate entrance to improve traffic flow near the East Waterway Bridge, and will carry out the project at the City’s cost in 2022 after the WSHB opens to traffic.” Also, the port and city will work “to establish multiple drayage truck parking areas … for the benefit of both Duwamish Valley residents and truck drivers serving the marine cargo terminals.” For possible parking area, one on 11th SW with 25 truck-parking spaces, and potentially “near East Marginal Way, under the Spokane St viaduct and nearby areas as depicted in Exhibit E with the intention to develop up to 70 additional parking spots.”

The parking spots are supposed to be ready by the end of 2022, pending City Council approval. Then in early 2023 the city and port would collaborate on a plan for at least 100 more truck-parking spaces at site(s) TBA, possibly on city-owned property along the east side of East Marginal Way between Hanford and Holgate, also noted in Exhibit E.”

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Another visit, with a look ahead to what’s about to happen

(WSB photos/video. Above, the repurposed shipping container covering entrance to bridge interior)

By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

A year and a half after closing the West Seattle Bridge, SDOT is giving tours while getting ready for repairs. Among those who are being offered a firsthand look, according to an SDOT email shared with us by a source, are “members of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, Technical Advisory Panel, and our governmental partners and supporters.” Plus, this afternoon – the media.

We were up on the bridge five weeks ago, but that was part of a visit by dignitaries from D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg. Today’s tour was intended solely to give reporters and photographers (attendance was limited to one person per media organization, so it was one or the other) a firsthand look. That included another view inside the bridge, where most of the upcoming work will happen:

Among the SDOT reps leading the tour, roadway-structures director Matt Donahue, the man who broke the news to city leaders in March 2020 that he’d discovered cracking that necessitated the emergency closure.

Donahue and bridge program director Heather Marx recounted the explanation of “why the bridge broke” (as covered here in August). Once the bridge was stabilized last year, that took care of the cracking problem. Intensive monitoring continues, with a few visible signs on top of the bridge.

Today in fact, some SDOT staff was on the bridge for a monthly monitoring visit (which is in addition to electronic monitors in place that are watched remotely). We talked with Marx about the “early work” that’s been mentioned as starting soon:

We asked Marx for a list of what “early work” is likely to entail:

Core Drilling
Hydro Demo
Ground Penetrating Radar
Scaffolding
Carbon Fiber-reinforced Polymer
Tug Service
Electrical
Surveying
Deck Grooving
Waterproofing
Saw Cutting
Traffic Control

As was the case when we visited the bridge in August, some work is in evidence now:

(Updated: Crane truck ‘lowering equipment through the deck in to the north center span girder’)

SDOT still isn’t getting any more specific about the projected reopening than “mid-2022.” They’ve said that the contractor was providing schedule estimates as part of design milestones; we asked for that proposed schedule and were told earlier this week by an SDOT spokesperson that “it’s part of an active negotiation with our contractor, so we aren’t releasing it.”

FOLLOWUP: SDOT launches ‘Flip Your Trip’ rewards

(SDOT camera image from this morning)

At last week’s meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force (WSB coverage here), SDOT previewed a rewards program for West Seattleites who try alternative ways to get around. Today – exactly a year and a half after the bridge closure, and as traffic continues to increase with schools and workplaces reopening – SDOT announced the “Flip Your Trip” initiative has launched. From the announcement:

Starting today, people who live or work in West Seattle can visit FlipYourTrip.org to sign up for a comprehensive travel options program that includes a $25 sign-up bonus for free rides on transit and scooter/bike-share, or free vanpool fares. The program also offers trip planning assistance, special informational events, as well as an opportunity to earn more free rides. …

Flip Your Trip West Seattle encourages people to replace car trips with other travel options such as transit, vanpooling, biking, scooting, or staying local. Anyone who lives or works in the West Seattle area is eligible to take a pledge to take the #FlipYourTrip pledge and receive an initial sign-up bonus worth $25 to use on the free rides of their choice. This incentive works on King County Metro buses, water taxis, Sound Transit, Seattle Streetcar and all local scooter and bike share companies (Lime, LINK, Spin, and Wheels).

The campaign will also support vanpooling—covering new King County Metro vanpool riders’ first month of vanpool costs and providing monthly fare beyond the first month for eligible participants. All official King County Metro vanpools can apply for access to use the West Seattle low bridge at all times of day.

The Flip Your Trip campaign features a new partnership with King County Metro, as participants can receive their free rides on Metro’s Transit GO Ticket mobile app (android | ios). Participants can redeem their initial sign up bonus by clicking on the new “rewards” button in the app menu, which will appear as 2,500 rewards points. Additional reward points can be earned by making transit and scooter/bike share trips. …

People who do not have smartphones can choose to receive an ORCA card and program updates through community organizations, instead of using the Transit GO Ticket mobile app.

Information about Flip Your Trip West Seattle is available in nine languages (English, Spanish, Somali, Oromo, Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Khmer).