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WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: 3 notes, including emergency-training plans

(Image from West Seattle Bridge cam, 11 am today)

Three West Seattle Bridge notes:

EMERGENCY TRAINING: We’ve been reporting on SFD training at a redevelopment site north of the bridge. Now we have word from SDOT that responders will be training ON the bridge the next few mornings:

The Seattle Fire Department will be conducting training exercises and safety drills on top of, and inside, the West Seattle Bridge each morning this week. The public can expect to see emergency first-response vehicles and workers on the bridge each morning until Thursday, December 9. People may also see fake smoke coming from inside the bridge during a drill that will simulate the challenges of conducting a rescue operation inside an enclosed space with limited visibility.

This is a planned training exercise and should not be a cause for alarm. Completing this safety training exercise is an important first step in resuming construction on the bridge. This is one part of the larger safety plan to keep workers and the public safe during construction and keep the project moving smoothly by preventing accidents and ensuring that we are well prepared to respond to any unplanned situations.

SPEAKING OF CONSTRUCTION: Since crews working on the bridge last week were hydroblasting attachment points for new work platforms (WSB coverage here), we asked SDOT how soon those platforms will go up. Spokesperson Ethan Bergerson says, “We’re working to finalize the permits which will allow us to schedule the installation of the work platforms. We’ll be able to say more specific timing once that has been done.” We also asked SDOT if the concrete strike will affect bridge work; spokesperson Mariam Ali says no – “Concrete is not a major part of the current work stage on the West Seattle Bridge.”

TASK FORCE MEETING THURSDAY: The next scheduled public briefing on the bridge will be at 4 pm Thursday, during the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force‘s monthly meeting. The viewing link is here; we’re hoping to get the agenda tomorrow. (Added: Here it is.)

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.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Repair update expected Monday

(WSB photo, last week)

One week ago, after Mayor Durkan‘s visit to Husky Deli, we reported that we had talked there with SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe, who told us to “expect some good news right after Thanksgiving” regarding West Seattle Bridge repairs. That news is scheduled for Monday morning (November 29th), when he and the mayor will brief media reps at what the announcement calls an event “marking the start of (the) final phase of West Seattle Bridge repairs.” Contractor Kraemer North America. which also handled the stabilization work on the bridge last year, has begun on-site preparation work, SDOT said last week.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Repair contractor starts on-site preparations

(WSB photo, Wednesday afternoon)

We went to southeast Admiral on Wednesday afternoon for that look at the 20-months-closed West Seattle Bridge, just in case some work was in view. Turned out not to be much of a viewpoint for that, but today we did get a brief update from SDOT on what its repair contractor is doing:

This week, crews started early site prep in advance of beginning final bridge repairs. Contractor Kraemer North America began loading work shacks and equipment for erosion control onto the high bridge to be ready for construction work.

The next activities you can expect to hear more about are hydro-blasting to create access for work platforms, as well as more details about those work platforms being assembled and transported to the bridge.

Last week SDOT told the WS Bridge Community Task Force that it was very close to finalizing the “maximum allowable construction cost” contract with Kraemer NA. But that hadn’t happened yet when we checked earlier this week.

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.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: When will work start? Updates expected Wednesday @ Community Task Force

It’s November, and that’s when SDOT has said work will start on the repairs that will make it possible to reopen the 19-months-closed West Seqttle Bridge. We’ve been asking SDOT when and where we can photograph and report on the first work – or at least the preparations for it; no specifics yet. But the major updates every month have been presented to the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, and noon tomorrow (Wednesday, November 10th) is that group’s next meeting. We just received the agenda – see it here; it includes a bridge update with these points:

-What’s about to happen
-What to expect while the bridge is under repair

We also have the link you can use tomorrow to watch live – go here. The meeting does not include a public-comment period, but you can send comments or questions to westseattlebridge@seattle.gov.

‘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)

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West Seattle Bridge meeting, WS Art Walk, and more for your Thursday

(Photo by Jerry Simmons)

Quick look at highlights from our calendar for the rest of today/tonight:

GLASS-BLOWING DEMO & ART-GLASS PUMPKIN PATCH: Live demos are back at Avalon Glassworks (2914 SW Avalon Way) – 11 am to 4 pm today – as part of Refract. And while you’re there, check out/shop the Pumpkin Patch!

MEDICARE Q&A: Consultations with Patrice Lewis at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon), 11 am-1 pm – call to register at 206.932.4044.

GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING: 2:30 pm, Gov. Jay Inslee holds his next briefing/media Q&A about the pandemic. You will be able to watch the livestream (updated link) here.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE COMMUNITY TASK FORCE: 4-6 pm online, the latest bridge info and other updates, as previewed here. You’ll be able to watch the livestream here.

WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: 5 pm “until late,” with a record number of businesses participating, as previewed here – some with art, some with food/drink specials to enhance your night out. The list/map:

Browse the featured artists by going here.

THE ART OF MUSIC: Two locations during tonight’s West Seattle Art Walk, 6-7:40 pm:

The Art of Music, presented by the West Seattle Junction Association on upcoming Second Thursday Art Walk Evenings during October through December, returns on October 14th. Performances with free admission begin at 6 pm and will be at two locations: Verity Credit Union (4505 California SW) in the Alaska Junction and Sopranos Antico Pizza & Pasta (2348 California SW) in the Admiral Junction. Click here for more information.

WORDS, WRITERS, SOUTHWEST STORIES: 6 pm online, Barbara Johns will give a presentation on her book “Kenjiro Nomura, American Modernist: An Issei Artist’s Journey.” The Southwest Seattle Historical Society presents the WWSWS series; get viewing information by registering here.

PIANO BAR: 8 pm-11 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon), exploring the Great American Songbook. More info in our calendar listing.

Got an event coming up? Email us the info – westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Here’s how to watch Thursday’s Community Task Force meeting

(WSB photo from last month’s media tour of the bridge)

Tomorrow brings SDOT‘s next public briefing on the status of West Seattle Bridge repair planning, during the monthly online meeting of Community Task Force members. Here’s the agenda for the 4 pm Thursday (October 14th) meeting. Along with updates on the preparations for repair work, SDOT reps will present detour-route traffic and collision data as well as low-bridge information, including its upcoming work. Task Force members will also get a chance to talk about their recent tours of the bridge. Once the meeting begins, you’ll be able to watch the livestream by going here.

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force November 2021 meeting

Watch live here. Info about the task force is here.

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.”

VIDEO: West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force hears about ‘early work,’ low-bridge access changes, more

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The plan to extend 7-day-a-week West Seattle Water Taxi service through the fall and winter – reported separately here – was the biggest news from today’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting, but not the only news. You can watch the entire meeting above, and/or read the toplines below:

BRIDGE UPDATES: Bridge program director Heather Marx said they’re reviewing the 90 percent repair design and also have received approval for “early work” that’ll start in October.

Here’s what the “early work” will involve:

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WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Updates tomorrow

(WSB photo from July: West Seattle Bridge seen from Harbor Avenue rooftop)

The next major public updates on the West Seattle Bridge are expected tomorrow, when the Community Task Force meets online. We just obtained the agenda – see it here. SDOT has said previously that a repair-schedule update was expected this month as consultant WSP approached completion of the repair design and contractor Kraemer NA started gearing up for the work. Along with high-bridge updates, the agenda also includes a briefing on how low-bridge-access policy is expected to change when Terminal 5‘s first modernized berth opens early next year, and a discussion of West Seattle transit service. You can watch live (or archived afterward) at noon tomorrow (Wednesday, September 15th) at this YouTube link.

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting

Watch the meeting here.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: How the ‘Priority Hire’ plan will work

(August photo by Long Bach Nguyen)

Another Labor Day note about jobs: SDOT announced last week that the federal Department of Transportation had approved the plan to use the Priority Hire program to fill bridge-related jobs. The city explains the program as “promot(ing) access to construction careers for women, people of color and others with social and economic disadvantages.” So how will this work? We asked a few followup questions; the replies below came via Melissa Mixon of the city Department of Finance and Administrative Services:

How many jobs are expected to be part of this?

The West Seattle Bridge should provide significant opportunity for construction workers in our communities, with a need for several hundred workers over the course of the project. Based on performance on other Priority Hire projects, the City estimates that workers from economically distressed ZIP codes could earn an additional $600,000 in wages on the West Seattle Corridor Bridges Rehabilitation and Strengthening project due to Priority Hire. Other apprentices, women and people of color who live outside the economically distressed ZIP codes will earn additional income.

Who will do the hiring?

Kraemer, their subcontractors, construction union partners and apprenticeship programs will work together to hire Priority Hire workers on the project. The project will have a Community Workforce Agreement (CWA), which sets basic terms and conditions of employment on the project it covers. Contractors on the project will hire apprentices and experienced journey workers through union hiring halls and associated apprenticeship programs.

When and where will those openings be posted?

If you or someone you know is interested in working in construction, learn more about getting in the industry (and potentially working on the West Seattle Bridge) by viewing the Apprenticeship Guidebook. These programs will work directly with contractors to place workers on the project. You can also connect with our community-based partners to learn more about construction opportunities:

Outreach

Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle: 206-702-8011
Rainier Beach Action Coalition: 206-914-1762

Training

ANEW: 206-381-1384 or info@anewaop.org
Carpenter’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program: 206-437-4235
Ironworkers Pre-Apprenticeship Program: 206-244-2993 or info@iw86appr.org
Seattle Central Colleges PACT Program: 206-934-2943 or PACT.Central@seattlecolleges.edu

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: See SDOT’s new recap video

(WSB photo from August tour atop the West Seattle Bridge)

Last time the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met (WSB coverage here), and in other meetings, there’s been recurring discussion about ways SDOT could communicate what’s been going on in the past year and a half since the bridge closed. One suggestion was a video recap. SDOT produced one and has just made it public.

There’s no new information in the 5-minute video, but that wasn’t the point – SDOT says the video is meant to help people:

*Learn more about the West Seattle Bridge closure
*See how SDOT is responding in partnership with community members
*Learn what you can do to help reduce congestion and impacts on your neighbors

It’s viewable with subtitles in English, Spanish, Somali, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Khmer, Oromo, and Vietnamese. Speaking of which, SDOT’s announcement about the video also notes:

SDOT has also recently implemented a new phone system that offers in-language messaging options so you can speak to someone in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Somali, Khmer, or Oromo – in addition to English – about the West Seattle Bridge? Call 206-400-7511 to use the new phone service, and someone who speaks your language will then call you back to talk about the bridge.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Deck-scan plans

(WSB photo, taken atop the bridge last week)

Next week, SDOT plans a “deck scan” of the Spokane Street Viaduct – that’s the section of the West Seattle Bridge that’s still open, east of 99. The announcement explains, “A deck scan is one way we understand the condition and performance of our streets and bridges to keep them safe and durable. … Our contractor will be conducting the deck scan to identify any potential defects with the following tools: A sound scan that uses sophisticated audio equipment to listen to the road with an array of microphones. The scan notes changes in acoustic response as it drives over the roadway, which helps us identify spots on the concrete deck that may result into future potholes. … Ground penetrating radar (that) uses electromagnetic waves to locate potential concrete delamination – or a layer of unbonded concrete – on the deck. Finally, we’ll use an overhead 4K camera to complete infrared imaging to take an in-depth view of the surface of the roadway.” This work won’t close the SSV but will lead to slowdowns, 7 am-5 pm Monday (August 30th) through Friday (September 3rd) next week. SDOT says a deck scan also is planned for “closed portions of the West Seattle Bridge and streets and ramps leading to it.” The north half of the Spokane Street Viaduct is less than a decade old, completed in 2012.

West Seattle Bridge coverage links

August 19, 2021 12:00 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Bridge coverage links
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Click here for the WSB report from our visit to the bridge August 18, 2021.

Click here for our coverage archive of everything that’s been happening with the bridge since its sudden closure in March 2020.

Here’s what the top of the West Seattle Bridge looks like now, after 17 months of closure

(WSB photos/video except for bridge-interior photos)

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

For the first time since the West Seattle Bridge’s sudden, shocking shutdown almost a year and a half ago, we were back on the bridge, briefly, today. The reason: Reporters and photographers were invited to accompany a delegation from D.C., Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. The feds are contributing to the funding for repairs, so the tour was touted as a chance to see where the money’s going.

The bridge visit was part of a morning tour that started at Terminal 5 in West Seattle (a separate story is coming about that). The cars and vans carrying the dignitaries and media left from Terminal 46 on the downtown waterfront and crossed the high bridge to get to T-5, seeing this work on the way (slow going because it’s a 10 mph construction zone):

That crane, we learned later, was lowering fiber-optic cable into the bridge, part of relocating monitoring equipment in preparation for the repair work this fall. (We reported recently that this kind of advance work is happening now, while the repair design and schedule are being finalized.) The crew was done and the crane was gone by the time we returned and were able to get out onto the bridge, but here’s what else we saw:

SDOT recently reiterated that one reason it’s not safe to even partly reopen the bridge is that there are holes in the deck. The ones above line the outer edge of the south side of the center span – they were cut for those platforms suspended from the bridge during the stabilization work last year, as SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe explained in a quick briefing setting the scene for visitors:

We took note of other openings in the bridge deck – such as this hole used for ventilation:

That ensure safe breathing conditions for people inside the bridge, explained SDOT’s roadway-structures division director Matt Donahue – sometimes the air that comes in from openings on the underside can be overwhelmed otherwise with, for example, diesel fumes from trains passing below (he was wearing a monitoring device just in case). In the westbound lanes, there’s a covered hatch with the warning NO DRIVE written all around it:

But the main access for workers – and visitors – is surrounded by this repurposed shipping container:

Donahue accompanied Sen. Cantwell, Dep. Sec. Trottenberg, and interested media crews down into the heart of the centerspan. We chose not to make the climb down, but obtained photos from SDOT:

In that last photo are the steel cables added to stabilize the bridge (with more planned as part of the final repairs).

After everyone emerged, Cantwell and Trottenberg took questions for a few minutes, calling the bridge “incredibly important”:

By then, they were running behind on a packed schedule that sent them to I-90 this afternoon to visit the Sound Transit light-rail expansion project. We and the rest of the media crews were shuttled back to Terminal 46, after another look at a view that we used to take for granted:

PREVIEW: From DC to the West Seattle Bridge

We are on the West Seattle Bridge right now for the first time in a year and a half. Two federal government reps are touring it today – Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg and US Senator Maria Cantwell – to see what federal dollars will help fund.

This followed a visit to Terminal 5. Full coverage later!