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UPDATE: Crash closes eastbound West Seattle Bridge after 99 exit for 3+ hours

5:23 AM: Thanks for the tips. The eastbound high bridge is closed right now because of a crash investigation. Police radio suggests this could last at least until after 6:30 am. (added) Archived SFD/SPD radio indicates this happened around 3:30 am near the 1st Avenue South exit and was described as a single-vehicle crash, a Tesla Model 3 from which one person needed to be extricated.

5:47 AM: A commenter and one of the few operating SDOT cameras in the area indicate that the closure is at the 99 overpass; you can get onto the bridge but you’ll be diverted onto NB 99.

6:10 AM: Added screengrab from SDOT camera looking west toward the crash scene and the 99 overpass and exit. The wrecked car, which is white, is partly visible.

6:53 AM: Officers just told dispatch that the bridge should reopen soon after SDOT finishes cleaning up the scene.

7:01 AM: All but one lane of the EB bridge has now fully reopened, We’ll update this story with whatever followup information we get later about injury/circumstances.

8:45 AM: Here’s the summary from SPD:

On Friday July 19, 2024, at 0326 hours a white Tesla was travelling at a high rate-of-speed eastbound on the West Seattle bridge. The vehicle failed to maintain its lane of travel and careened between the north and south cement barriers before coming to rest, quite a distance later. The 33-year-old male driver showed obvious signs of impairment and was placed under arrest. The 25-year-old female passenger suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. She was transported to Harborview Medical Center via Medic One. It was expected the adult male driver would be booked into King County Jail for Investigation of Vehicular Assault, pending medical evaluation by hospital staff.

CRIME WATCH: Gunfire on the West Seattle Bridge

Police have just reported finding a casing on the westbound West Seattle Bridge, before the Harbor exit, after a driver reported being shot while driving in that area this past hour. The victim is reported to have subsequently driven to Harborview Medical Center; we haven’t heard the extent of his injury, but officers told dispatch that the victim’s car has four bullet holes. They also say the victim described the other vehicle as an electric-blue Toyota Camry, possibly with a black roof. If you have any information on this, call 911.

UPDATE: Crash on westbound West Seattle Bridge

11:54 PM: A crash on the westbound West Seattle Bridge is blocking most lanes near the Admiral Way exit. No injuries, according to SFD, so its units are clearing quickly, but police remain on scene and are arranging for at least one tow truck.

12:33 AM: Haven’t heard or seen an all-clear, but the live camera shows the bridge traffic flow moving normally.

12:49 AM: Not clear yet. Officers just told dispatch they’re temporarily diverting all WB traffic off the bridge at Admiral.

1:02 AM: Reopened, police just informed dispatch.

UPDATE: West Seattle Bridge lanes reopen after gravel spill

11:02 AM: As the screengrab from the West Seattle Bridge traffic camera shows, lanes are currently blocked on both sides of the West Seattle Bridge while crews clear away “debris” – apparently gravel – spilled on both sides, near 99. This isn’t the only trouble on that stretch of the bridge, which also saw a crash earlier, as noted in our morning traffic roundup.

11:10 AM: According to police radio, the gravel is from a truck that hit the barrier.

11:47 AM: Just checked the live camera; the cleanup continues.

12:09 PM: The cleanup has wrapped up and all lanes are open again.

PHOTOS: Emerald City Ride crosses westbound West Seattle Bridge, circles peninsula

7:17 AM: That’s a screenshot from a few minutes ago as the SDOT traffic camera at the crest of the West Seattle Bridge showed the first bicyclists crossing the bridge on the Emerald City Ride. Between now and 9 am, the riders, who started near the stadiums and are accessing the bridge via southbound 99, will head over the westbound bridge and onto Harbor Avenue to continue the ride around West Seattle. The ride is on the westbound lanes only; eastbound remains open to motorized traffic. After riding around Alki and down to Fauntleroy, they’ll head back through eastern West Seattle and via the regular path on the low bridge. (Here are ride details sent to riders.) Updates to come.

7:27 AM: That’s from our photographer along Harbor Avenue, as the post-bridge riders head north/west along the West Seattle waterfront.

(added) And some video:

Meantime, the SDOT camera at 1st/Dearborn just showed another wave heading onto the short closed stretch of southbound 99, which closes to riders at 8 am.

This is a ride, not a race, so departures are going in waves.

7:46 AM: Still crossing. Noticed a recumbent rider too.

Thanks to Debra Salazar Herbst for this view of riders on Alki Avenue:

8:10 AM: This is the first Emerald City Ride since 2019; previous rides have included other iconic roadways such as the Alaskan Way Viaduct pre-demolition. The riders, meanwhile, are down to a trickle; SDOT has turned the high-bridge camera to look eastward:

Unrelated to the ride, a car has stalled/broken down on the low bridge (thanks to Rose for the word on that) so access to the westbound low bridge is backed up.

8:27 AM: Watching the live camera pointed north/west on the high bridge again. A few stragglers are still crossing.

That was as of a few minutes ago. Now they’re picking up the cones, so it looks like the bridge part of the course has cleared.

8:35 AM: Down on the low bridge, some riders are headed back to the SODO start/finish line, via the regular path:

8:45 AM: Haven’t seen cars on the high bridge yet (15 minutes remain until the official preannounced “no more bridge access” cutoff).

8:51 AM: High bridge now reopened to motorized vehicles. We’ll check with Cascade later to see what the final registration total was for the ride.

ADDED 5:24 PM: Thanks to Allyne Armitage for rider’s-eye-view photos:

UPDATE: Crash on westbound West Seattle Bridge

(Added: SDOT image)

2:58 PM: Thanks for the tips. A crash is blocking multiple lanes on the westbound bridge just west of 99.

3:44 PM: SDOT says the scene is clear.

4:25 PM: Listening back to archived radio exchanges, officers and firefighters at the scene reported the same thing as officers below – two people walked away from the crash. Police checked the plates and the car, registered to a West Seattle address, had not been reported stolen.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Westbound West Seattle Bridge offramp closure Tuesday

April 22, 2024 6:36 pm
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC ALERT: Westbound West Seattle Bridge offramp closure Tuesday
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

ORIGINAL MONDAY ANNOUNCEMENT: We received this Tuesday traffic alert from SDOT late today:

Tomorrow morning, the Seattle Department of Transportation’s urban forestry and signs and markings teams will be closing the westbound off-ramp to SW Admiral Way from the West Seattle High Bridge at around 9:30 a.m. This closure is necessary due to a broken limb that requires removal, although our team has already stabilized it earlier today.

Detour signage will be in place to guide drivers to SW Admiral Way. The designated detour route is as follows: continue on the West Seattle High Bridge onto Fauntleroy Way SW. Then, turn right onto SW Oregon St, followed by another right onto California Ave SW, which will lead you to SW Admiral Way.

They’re not sure yet how long the work will take.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: SDOT says the ramp should reopen by 3 pm.

Checking on the West Seattle Bridge, on 4th anniversary of sudden shutdown

(West Seattle Bridge cracks in March 2020, from sdotblog.seattle.gov)

This is a notable date in West Seattle history: Four years ago today, just before 3 pm on March 23, 2020, the city announced it would shut down the high-rise West Seattle Bridge indefinitely because of safety concerns, and did so a few hours later. (Here’s our as-it-happened report on the announcement.) The bridge didn’t reopen until two and a half years later, on September 17, 2022; a pivotal moment along the way was on November 19, 2020, when then-Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the bridge would be repaired, not replaced.

Looking ahead to today’s anniversary, we asked SDOT a few questions. When was the bridge last inspected? It got an in-person inspection back in January, responded SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson, and inspectors found “no notable new developments.” And it remains under continuous electronic monitoring, he adds: “There have not been any new developments since we published our one-year monitoring report this past September saying that the West Seattle Bridge remains safe and strong. The bridge is continuously monitored by an extensive and sophisticated structural-health monitoring system which allows us to detect subtle movements or any growth of existing cracks. This monitoring system runs 24/7 and automatically alerts engineers immediately of any issues that would require further inspection.” (You can read the September update here; it in turn links to this 10-page report.)

Next up, as we first reported earlier this week, is a big project for the bridge’s eastern half, the Spokane Street Viaduct, a separate structure that was not involved in the 2020-2022 closure: Resurfacing its eastbound (corrected: south) side. Bergerson says, “Construction will likely begin this summer and occur over several weekends. Once we select a contractor, we will work with them to schedule the exact dates and notify the public beforehand.” Since the project just went out to bid, it’ll be at least May before that happens.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Spokane Street Viaduct resurfacing project just went out to bid

New on the city’s bidding website: The project to resurface the eastbound lanes of the West Seattle Bridge’s eastern half, formally known as the Spokane Street Viaduct, has just gone out to bid.

(Framegrab from SDOT camera. Eastbound SSV at left, westbound at right)

Bidding opened this morning. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB, “This project will include repaving the eastbound lanes, as well as drainage improvements and bridge deck repair on the westbound lanes.” The city got a $5 million federal grant two years ago to help cover the cost. The (corrected) eastbound (south) side of the Spokane Street Viaduct is the older side, built in the ’40s; the westbound (north) side was built in the late ’00s/early ’10s. It was closed several times for repair work during the 2 1/2-year-long full closure of the rest of the West Seattle Bridge; pothole problems have persisted on both sides, and as SDOT described it in 2022, “The existing concrete deck overlay exhibits significant signs of ‘alligator skin’ cracking and damage.” As part of preparation for this project, a “deck scan” was done in 2021. When will the SSV work start and how long will it last? TBD, says Bergerson: “Once a contractor is selected, we will work with them to determine the exact construction timeline.” It is expected to be complete by the end of the year, though, he added. Bidding is open for three weeks, so a contractor won’t be chosen for more than a month.

UPDATE: 4th offramp from West Seattle Bridge reopens after fire response

4:08 PM: That’s smoke, not fog, drifting over the West Seattle Bridge in our framegrab from an SDOT traffic camera near the 4th Avenue South exit. That exit is blocked off right now because of what’s logged as an “encampment fire” toward the end of the ramp. So if you’re headed for 4th any time soon, you’ll want to use 1st and surface Spokane Street instead.

4:41 PM: SFD has cleared the scene and the ramp is reopening.

Emerald City Ride and West Seattle Bridge closure

Preview info here.

Ever wanted to ride your bicycle on the West Seattle Bridge? Here’s your chance

(Course map, from Emerald City Ride website)

The westbound West Seattle Bridge will be briefly bicycles-only one morning in May as part of the Cascade Bicycle Club‘s Emerald City Ride. This big in-city ride is returning this year for the first time since pre-pandemic 2019. It usually includes a stretch of major highway infrastructure – past examples have included the Highway 520 floating bridge and I-5 express lanes – and this year for the first time, that’ll be the high bridge. This is set for Sunday, May 5th, a 20-mile route that starts (at 7 am) and ends in the SODO Stadium District, outbound over the West Seattle Bridge and around Alki, to Fauntleroy, through Delridge, then returning over the low bridge. (See the course map here.)

We just talked to Cascade’s executive director Lee Lambert and media-relations manager Paul Tolmé about the ride plan. On the morning of the ride, they’ll close the bridge, plus southbound 99 from the stadium zone to the bridge onramp, from starting at 5:30. Riders start at 7, in waves, and bridge access closes at 8; all riders have to be off the bridge by 9, and the bridge will reopen by 9:30. Those are the only road closures – once off the bridge, Lambert says, it’s “rules of the road,” though he notes, “There’ll be a LOT of bicycles.” How many? Tolmé says they’re expecting at least 2,000 riders; Lambert says they’re capped at 4,000. In addition to the full 20-mile route, there’ll be shorter options, too, 7 to 10 miles. Registration opens next Tuesday (March 12) at 10 am.

VIDEO: Duwamish Tribe asks for equal share in West Seattle Bridge art project, as council committee tables it again

(Image from December 2023 council-committee agenda, incorporating Google Maps photo)

Not including the Duwamish Tribe in a highly visible Native-art project barely a mile from their Longhouse would be a “systemic erasure,” the City Council’s Transportation Committee was told by tribal officials this morning.

The committee, chaired by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka, was scheduled to be briefed and to possibly vote on the project at today’s meeting, three months after the previous membership of the committee tabled it at the request of Saka’s predecessor Lisa Herbold. At the start of the meeting, Saka announced that it would not be voted on today; then after the previous two (unrelated) agenda items ran long, he announced the art-project briefing would be tabled entirely, “possibly” to an unspecified later date.

Though this project has been in the planning stages for almost two years, it was not mentioned publicly until the agenda emerged for a committee meeting last December. The project is proposed to involve the Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes, sharing an estimated 15 West Seattle Bridge columns and $133,000 from the West Seattle Bridge repair/mitigation project. The Duwamish say the art project was never even mentioned to them (and the slide deck prepared for the meeting bears that out). At the committee briefing in December, SDOT countered by saying the Duwamish Tribe was involved with a different art project – but it turned out to involve the sidewalk close to the Longhouse, and, according to the tribe, was in the works long before this came to light.

(WSB photo, Council Chambers today)

At the start of the meeting, the public-comment period included more than half a dozen people telling the committee that the Duwamish Tribe should be included in the bridge-columns project. Here’s our video of the entire public-comment period (including several speakers talking about other agenda items); the first speaker, reading a statement from Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen, was Longhouse director Kristina Pearson:

Several of the Duwamish representatives who spoke said they’re being excluded because their tribe is not federally recognized, a status they’ve been fighting for years to regain. And to add insult to injury, said one speaker, the project excluding the Duwamish Tribe is in “an area that is culturally sensitive to” them.

Saka noted from the dais that he will be visiting the Duwamish Longhouse soon for a meeting; before adjourning, both he and the committee’s vice-chair, District 3 Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth, thanked the Duwamish members for coming to City Hall. She said, “You being the original caretakers of this land, when you speak, we need to listen.”

(Side note – we will cover the rest of the meeting, which focused on the Seattle Transportation Plan and a “State of the Bridges” overview, in a separate report.)

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Bridge columns tribal-art project returning to City Council committee

(Image from last December’s council-committee agenda, incorporating Google Maps photo)

Three months ago, outgoing City Councilmembers shelved consideration of a plan to pay the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Tribe $133,000 for murals on up to 15 columns under the West Seattle Bridge – a mile from the Duwamish Tribe‘s Longhouse, funded with money left over in the bridge-repair project. In response to community concerns, then-Councilmember Lisa Herbold elicited SDOT acknowledgment that there had been no outreach to the Duwamish Tribe regarding the prospective pillar art, and a Transportation Committee vote was delayed at her request. According to the agenda published this afternoon, the proposal returns this Tuesday (March 5) to the committee, now chaired by Herbold’s District 1 successor, Councilmember Rob Saka. (The committee’s previous chair, Alex Pedersen, like Herbold, chose not to run for re-election last year.) Three of the committee’s other four members are new to the council as well.

Nothing in the agenda materials for Tuesday’s meeting indicates anything has changed since the December committee meeting at which the vote was postponed. In response to concerns about not involving the Duwamish Tribe in this project, SDOT reps mentioned at the December meeting that the Duwamish would be involved in a different art project closer to the Longhouse. They had few details to offer when we followed up at the time; that project has since been revealed to involve a stretch of sidewalk. Here’s an image the tribe included in an email to its members regarding a planning event for the sidewalk project:

Tuesday’s committee meeting is at 9:30 am at City Hall; it’ll include public comment, in person and remote, and the agenda explains how to participate. Other scheduled topics include an update on the newly released Seattle Transportation Plan and a State of the Bridges” briefing.

UPDATE: Crash on eastbound West Seattle Bridge

11:36 PM: Police are blocking all lanes of the eastbound West Seattle Bridge except the exit lane to northbound 99, because of what so far appears to be a one-vehicle crash, with the driver apparently having walked away from the scene – possibly westbound in the eastbound lanes.

12:07 AM: Officers just told dispatch that all lanes on the bridge have reopened. The mystery of the driver hasn’t been solved yet; officers went to the South Seattle residence of the vehicle’s registered owner but reported back that no one answered the door. (Added: The vehicle is a Hyundai Sonata.)

Our area’s new City Councilmember Rob Saka hires former SDOT West Seattle Bridge boss

As announced last month, District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka is chairing the Transportation Committee – so you might not be surprised to hear he’s just hired a former top-level SDOT manager to join his staff. You might even recognize her: Heather Marx was the most visible SDOT manager during the 2020-2022 West Seattle Bridge closure, as the head of the bridge-stabilization-and-repair program. So visible, that her name appears in WSB archives 105 times – although the first few mentions are from her pre-bridge role as Downtown Mobility Director during the Highway 99 viaduct-to-tunnel project. Most recently, Marx has been working at the Seattle Police Department. And now she’s Policy Adviser for Councilmember Saka, who announced this in his latest newsletter, sent this afternoon. From the announcement:

Heather brings 25 years of city policy experience to the role, with a particular focus on transportation. Before joining our team, Heather served as Strategic Initiatives Director at the Seattle Police Department, and as the Program Director for Seattle Department of Transportation’s West Seattle Bridge Safety Program. While at SDOT, she led the Department’s efforts to successfully reopen the West Seattle Bridge. She brings a wealth of policy expertise in the critically important issue areas of public safety and transportation. Heather is a long-time resident of District 1 where she raised two children in Seattle Public Schools and lives in the Fauntleroy neighborhood with her husband.

Marx joins Councilmember Saka’s two previously announced staffers, Chief of Staff Elaine Ikoma Ko and District Relations Director/Scheduler Leyla Gheisar. You can see Saka’s full newsletter here.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Crash on westbound West Seattle Bridge

Police were dispatched to this crash on the westbound West Seattle Bridge right after we received this photo from a texter, who describes the location as “just before 99 onramp.” No report of injuries so far.

Crash near southwest end of westbound West Seattle Bridge

Thanks for the tips. Multiple readers have messaged about another crash near Walking On Logs, toward the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge. One lane is reported to be blocked. No major backup reported. The SFD response closed fairly quickly, which indicates no major injuries either.

UPDATE: Demonstration on westbound West Seattle Bridge

4:27 PM: Thanks for the tips. Flag-waving demonstrators are blocking the westbound lanes of the West Seattle Bridge at the crest. The only image we have so far is from a distance but it appears to be the Palestinian flag:

4:37 PM: It may have been a short-lived demonstration – 911 dispatch reports traffic is moving again. We can’t independently verify via traffic cameras as the video feeds remain broken (SDOT has no ETA on a repair). One reader says the demonstrators were in cars, not on foot.

(Added: Photo texted by Aaron)

4:42 PM: We’ve verified from the Fauntleroy end of the bridge that traffic is moving again, no further sign of the flag-wavers.

UPDATE: Crash on eastbound West Seattle Bridge

12:42 AM: Emergency responders are arriving at a two-car crash on the eastbound bridge, not far from the Fauntleroy entrance, and police are planning to block the eastbound bridge at that entrance shortly. A texter reports that “one car is spun around.”

12:52 AM: One eastbound lane is now opened. Police are telling dispatch that SDOT will have to reset the jersey barriers at the crash scene.

FOLLOWUP: Council committee delays vote on tribal art project under West Seattle Bridge

(Image from council-committee agenda, incorporating Google Maps photo)

Last night we previewed an item on today’s agenda for the Seattle City Council Transportation and Public Utilities Committee meeting (which just concluded after more than 2 1/2 hours), a plan to pay the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Tribe $133,000 for murals on up to 15 columns under the West Seattle Bridge – a mile from the Duwamish Tribe‘s Longhouse. At the request of District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who noted public comments voicing concern, the committee delayed a vote until it reconvenes next year (by which time both Herbold and the committee’s chair Councilmember Alex Pedersen will have left office). SDOT acknowledged there had been no “outreach” to the Duwamish Tribe on the bridge-columns project during the year and a half it’s been in the works, but said the Duwamish are involved with a separate public-art project planned near the Longhouse. (We’re following up to get more information on that and will update this story with whatever we learn.)

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Bridge bus-lane camera up and running and citing

A WSB reader texted:

Wondering if you might do a story on the new traffic violation cams on the high bridge – focusing on bus lane violators. I commute daily and take the 1st Ave exit right after the 99 exit and I wait until the last set of red painted lines that say BUS ONLY but I got a cautionary warning letter for this as a traffic violation . In the future the fine will be $75. Can you investigate where/ when it is legal to move over To the far right lane to exit on first?

It’s been three months since the last announcement about the new camera enforcement – when SDOT said in early September that installation was imminent. So first we asked SDOT if the camera – part of a “pilot” program also involving other locations in the city – was indeed up and running and citing. Yes: “The transit lane traffic safety camera on the West Seattle Bridge (high bridge), just east of State Route 99, has been activated. The first time someone is caught in a violation, they will be mailed a warning letter. For any new violations after that, they will be mailed a $75 ticket.”

How many warnings/tickets? SDOT refused to say:

This camera is part of an ongoing pilot program intended to evaluate the effectiveness of automated traffic safety camera enforcement in transit only lanes. The draft report on the effectiveness of the program will be submitted to the State Legislature in July 2024 and will also be available publicly at that time.

To get a report sooner, the spokesperson replied, we’d have to file a public-disclosure request.

To the original texter’s question, about the exact location to avoid if you don’t want to be cited: “The entire bus lane, which begins approximately 0.5 miles west of the exit to NB SR99, is restricted to buses only. The camera is located east of the exit to NB SR99. Drivers taking the exit to NB SR99 will not be impacted by the camera.” Here’s the design-document excerpt that SDOT sent us for a similar question pre-installation, showing the enforcement zone in yellow-green:

Meantime, no hint yet of when newly authorized camera types – like “racing” – might be installed, but we’re continuing to follow up.

UPDATE: West Seattle Bridge’s brief closure at Fauntleroy entrance

5:51 PM: Thanks for the tips. The bridge will be closed for a short time at the eastbound entrance by Fauntleroy/35th while SDOT resets barriers after an earlier crash.

5:56 PM: Reopened. No serious injuries reported in the crash.