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WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Repair status (updated)

3:49 PM: We’ve been checking again this week with SDOT regarding the status of the high-bridge repair work. They’re still awaiting two more pours of specialized structural concrete and are working on that schedule, we were told in multiple inquiries this week. Today’s weekly update shows what they’ve been doing in the meantime:

We continued working on post-tensioning anchorage forms [above] in the West Seattle Bridge’s south girder. These anchorages contain lots of steel reinforcement and must be assembled with sleeves or openings. These sleeves allow for utility lines and new post-tensioning strands to pass through them. All of these components must be placed together correctly so that when the new post-tensioning strands are stressed to more than a million pounds, the bridge and all of its existing systems compress and strengthen the bridge as intended.

During the structural concrete pours, we are completing a review of the post-tensioning work completed so far, which includes the rebar we’ve installed, the holes we’ve drilled for the post-tensioning system, and the performance of the concrete.

As we complete this review, we’re making real-time adjustments to our work so we’re confident that the post-tensioning elements and the future post-tensioning system will ensure a safe and long-lasting repair.

SDOT has said repeatedly that they won’t be able to estimate the reopening date until those two remaining concrete pours are done. They’ve also said they expect to be able to provide the date with one month’s advance notice.

P.S. Reminder – the eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct continuation of the bridge east of Highway 99 is scheduled to close for expansion-joint and pothole work from late tonight through early Monday.

8:25 PM: Councilmember Lisa Herbold writes in her weekly newsletter, circulated tonight, that she’s been told the two structural-concrete pours are expected next week, and that “SDOT expects to make a time-frame announcement on June 9th.”

FOLLOWUP: Why vehicles under the West Seattle Bridge got spattered with concrete

Last night we published Stephen‘s reader report about his car getting spattered by concrete and rocks while he was driving under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge on Monday afternoon. Others reported in comments that it had happened to them, We asked SDOT about it this morning. This afternoon, we have their reply:

Yesterday, crews were grinding the bridge deck in preparation of the concrete overlay coming to the Fauntleroy Expressway. The grinding machine removes old concrete and preps the surface for paving and sprays water while it’s working to keep dust under control. Unfortunately, [it] went deeper than expected, and a combination of the existing concrete and water dripped through the bridge deck and onto the ground and some cars below. Initial inspections show no serious damage to the bridge structure or deck that won’t be fixed when the new pavement is laid.

If someone believes their private property – including their vehicle – was damaged, then they can file a damage claim with the city through our online portal at Filing a Damage Claim | seattle.gov. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused for anyone who has been affected.

The Fauntleroy Expressway is the formal name of the west end of the bridge, before and as it curves up toward Fauntleroy Way.

ADDED: In response to a followup question, SDOT spokesperson Mariam Ali said the problem was caused by failure of a “sensor,” which has since been replaced.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: 3 finalists unveiled in reopening-party design contest – vote for your favorite!

The community coalition planning a celebration for the reopening of the West Seattle Bridge (no date yet) has unveiled three finalists in the design contest (announced last month). See them, and vote for your favorite, by going here. Winner gets $500 and “VIP treatment” at reopening events.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Overnight/evening traffic alerts this week for safety work

4:42 PM MONDAY: Nighttime traffic alerts are out for four of the next five nights because of surface-street work related to the West Seattle Bridge repairs. We got the first hint at this with an unexplained Metro detour advisory issued late last week, and obtained the full list of alerts from SDOT just now:

This week, crews will be installing safety measures beneath the West Seattle High Rise Bridge and Fauntleroy Expressway as a precaution for upcoming overhead work. Crews will need space to stage equipment beneath the bridge while equipment is being installed, leading to some late-night detours on SW Spokane St, West Marginal Way and East Marginal Way on certain nights this week.

Here is the full detour information for each night this week.

10 PM Monday, April 25 to 5 AM Tuesday, April 26:
Closure of eastbound Spokane Street Between Avalon Way & Delridge Way
Detour in place: Southbound on SW Avalon Way, east to SW Genesee St, North on Delridge Way SW

7 PM Tuesday, April 26 to 6 AM Wednesday, April 27:
Closure of southbound right lane of West Marginal Way.
Pedestrian path to be closed from 10 PM to 5 AM

10 PM Wednesday, April 27 to 5 AM Thursday, April 28:
Closure of East Marginal Way U-turn lane and right lane approaching the U-turn

10 PM Thursday, April 28 to 5 AM Friday, April 29:
Closure of westbound Spokane St between Delridge Way and Avalon Way
Detour in place: south on Delridge Way SW, west on SW Genesee St, northbound on SW Avalon Way

10 PM Friday, April 29 to 5 AM Saturday, April 30:
Closure of S Spokane Street to northbound East Marginal Way; closure of Northbound East Marginal Way at Spokane Street.
There will be a signed detour to Eastbound Spokane St.

6:42 PM TUESDAY: Updated above, with Wednesday night work added, and Thursday scope changed.

‘When? When? When?’ West Seattle Bridge reopening questions – and birds! – @ Community Task Force meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A big part of the role of West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force members is to serve as community liaisons to circulate information to and from fellow community members. When the CTF met online today, one member explained all she’s hearing from everyone with whom she talks is “When? When? When?” regarding a bridge-reopening date.

No date yet. But today’s meeting had a definite “light at the end of the tunnel” – well, bridge – mood.

BRIDGE UPDATES: SDOT’s Heather Marx recapped what’s happening now with repairs, including the first two deliveries of specialized structural concrete Saturday and Wednesday.

The nesting pair of peregrine falcons on the bridge have required coordination with the state and creation of a “falcon management plan,” just approved today, less than a week after the nesting birds were found.

Read More

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, Alki Community Council, more for your Thursday

(Trees along Harbor SW by Don Armeni Boat Ramp, photographed by Marc Milrod)

From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar and inbox, reminders for the rest of today/tonight:

2 SCHOOL DINE-OUT FUNDRAISERS: Have pizza, help schools! Follow the links for details:
Madison Middle School ASB benefit at MOD Pizza (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW), now through 10 pm tonight
Highland Park Elementary PTA benefit at Proletariat Pizza (9622 16th SW), 4-9 pm

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE COMMUNITY TASK FORCE: At this 4 pm online meeting, you’ll find out what’s up with bridge repairs, among other topics. Here’s the agenda; here’s the livestream link.

BOARD GAME NIGHT: Come try something new at Meeples Games (3727 California SW), 6:30-10 pm.

WEST SEATTLE SKYLINK INFO + MUSIC: At The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW) tonight, West Seattle SkyLink is having an informational session/Q&A tonight at 7 pm along with a music showcase hosted by The Brodcast. $10 cover. All ages until 10 pm.

ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm, open to everyone to attend in person (Alki UCC, 6115 SW Hinds) or online – agenda and attendance info are in our calendar listing.

Have an event to list on our calendar/in our daily lists? We’re adding more daily – email westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Contest launches for reopening-celebration design/slogan

(SDOT image from Saturday)

As we’ve been reporting, a community coalition led by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and West Seattle Junction Association is planning a celebration for the West Seattle Bridge reopening – not a celebration of the closure/repairs, but a celebration of the restored connection with the rest of the region. We noted last month that a logo/slogan contest was planned – and now organizers have sent the announcement that it’s on:

On behalf of the West Seattle Chamber and our West Seattle community, we are excited to announce a contest to feature a community-selected artist’s design for all marketing and swag! The winning design (and slogan, if desired) will receive $500, VIP treatment for all bridge-reopening events, and of course good ol’ bragging rights

The deadline for rough drafts is April 30th and the community will vote the 1st week in May. Please note: while we welcome all submissions, artwork needs to be family-friendly to qualify for voting and selection. Your entry submission means you are allowing West Seattle to use your art across all forms of marketing.

We’re looking forward to seeing all your ideas!

Notes:
* Any and all bridge events in no way, shape, or form impact the reopening date of the bridge, which is still unknown. The City of Seattle and Department of Transportation have granted us access one week before the bridge is set to open, which will happen regardless of the date it actually opens.
* Contest is open to West Seattle residents.

Apply HERE.

The celebration funding, including the contest prize, is from community sponsorships.

As for the bridge repairs – here’s our update from Saturday. The Community Task Force meets again 4 pm Thursday (April 21st) – that’ll be streamed here.

VIDEO: Specialized concrete arrives for West Seattle Bridge repairs

(SDOT image)

SDOT just announced another milestone in the West Seattle Bridge repairs, albeit a belated one – the first pour of strike-delayed specialized structural concrete, a key ingredient for strengthening the bridge before reopening it. SDOT’s announcement explains that this concrete “will be used to form structures inside the bridge to hold the new steel cables for the improved post-tensioning system” – summarized as “46 miles of steel cables … capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force.” SDOT sent this aerial video of today’s pour – the truck’s atop the bridge but the concrete’s destination is inside:

As reported previously, the project received two deliveries of non-structural concrete earlier this month for new expansion joints, part of the maintenance work that’s being done before the bridge reopens. Today’s announcement adds, “This past week, SDOT completed the final core drills through the bridge’s pier structures, which is another major milestone to get ready for installing the new post-tensioning system. SDOT and its contractor have also be been continuing to make progress filling existing cracks with epoxy and installing carbon wrapping on both the interior and exterior of the bridge.” As for when the bridge will reopen, SDOT reiterated today that they can’t reassess the schedule until all the concrete pours for the post-tensioning are complete.

Video:

FOLLOWUP: Repairs about to start for hole in West Seattle Bridge ramp to northbound Highway 99

(SDOT photo)

12:06 PM: During the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force‘s February meeting (WSB coverage here), we got first word of a plan to repair a hole in the pavement on the ramp to northbound Highway 99 (which has remained accessible via eastbound Spokane Street). The ramp is a state structure, not a city structure, so we asked WSDOT for details, but at the time they had few. Now they do. The ramp is scheduled to close next Monday (April 18th) for about two weeks, explained by WSDOT as follows:

We are going to break up and remove the concrete around the hole all the way through to the girders underneath the surface to expose the rebar. The rebar strengthens the concrete under the tension of vehicles driving over it. Once we chip the concrete, we will repair the rebar and then pour concrete to fill the void where the hole in the deck used to be. That process will take about a week. To finish, we’ll need an additional week while the ramp remains closed for the concrete to cure. We need dry weather in order for the concrete to cure properly so the schedule may change depending on the weather.

So far, next week’s weather looks rainy.

3:30 PM: As commenters pointed out, this will affect Metro buses. There were no reroute advisories when we published this, but after we inquired with Metro, an advisory went out – see it here. Rerouting, but no missed stops, Metro says.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Concrete progress report

(SDOT photo, April 5th)

One week ago today, SDOT announced that the West Seattle Bridge repair project finally had started receiving concrete again. The initial delivery, SDOT said, was going toward expansion-joint work, part of the maintenance that’s scheduled to be done before the bridge reopens to traffic. The deliveries were made possible by the decision of some concrete drivers to return to work though their labor dispute with suppliers hadn’t been resolved; in the past week, the strikers expanded that decision, announcing they would all return to work while negotiations continued. So today, we asked SDOT what’s happened since those first deliveries last Tuesday, particularly whether they’ve started receiving concrete for the post-tensioning (strengthening) that’s a key part of the repairs. Spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB, “We expect to begin receiving structural concrete for the post-tensioning system this weekend. We’re pleased that the concrete work is moving forward as fast as possible, given the concrete supplier’s delivery constraints. In total, the project needs 245 cubic yards (about 30 truckloads) of structural concrete for the post-tensioning system. Last week, 2 truckloads of non-structural concrete were delivered for the expansion joints.” SDOT has said they won’t be able to offer a revised reopening timeline until the last of that concrete is poured. We’re likely to get an update next week when the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets at 4 pm Thursday, April 21st.

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force gets briefed. Viewing link here.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Concrete pouring begins

(SDOT photo)

10:30 AM: Just in from SDOT:

Concrete trucks arrived early this morning on the West Seattle Bridge. The first pours are for new expansion joints as part of major maintenance work being done while the bridge is closed.

Following the expansion joint concrete pours, we’ll then pour concrete inside the bridge for the improved post-tensioning system that will provide additional strength for the repaired bridge. These bridge repairs require 245 cubic yards – or about 30 truckloads of specialized concrete. Once the concrete structures are done, they’ll be capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force for decades to come.

While we’re encouraged that our construction crews have begun the concrete work delayed by the strike, we now need to see how the deliveries will go and manage the pours for the next month or so. After the pours are done and the work inspected, we’ll be able to revisit the project schedule and share an update about the timing of the reopening, originally scheduled for mid-2022.

It’s now six weeks past the February 20th deadline the city originally cited for needing concrete in order to stay on that schedule. The labor dispute between concrete drivers and suppliers hasn’t been resolved yet, but some drivers represented by striking Teamsters Local 174 recently said they would return to work for some suppliers in order to get things moving on the West Seattle Bridge and other major public projects. SDOT’s contractor Kraemer North America was then in talks with supplier Cadman to ensure the necessary specialty mix would be available, and then to determine a schedule. We’ll be asking a few followup questions.

12:39 PM: Still awaiting followup answers. In the meantime, Mayor Bruce Harrell has issued a statement – here’s an excerpt:

Reopening the West Seattle Bridge is the top transportation priority for my team and getting concrete today is an encouraging step that brings us closer to that goal. Throughout this strike, I’m continuing to have intense discussions with both sides to urge a fair resolution to this contract dispute. I want to again thank the Teamsters for taking the extraordinary, good-faith action of returning to work with three concrete companies. Despite those companies having no existing agreement with our contractor to work on the bridge, my administration immediately engaged to identify which business could meet our specific needs and worked relentlessly to help facilitate concrete delivery. Thank you to Cadman for their willingness to assist and help expedite a solution.

West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has published a similar statement – read it here.

5:24 PM: SDOT has sent replies to our followup questions. They’ve confirmed that Cadman committed to all 245 yards of concrete the bridge project needs. Will the concrete situation add to the repair-project cost? “We’re hoping this doesn’t add extra cost, but won’t know for sure until all the concrete is delivered. We don’t anticipate any cost increases to the overall contract, which includes built in contingency that could be released to cover additional costs if needed.” Anything else causing delays right now? No, SDOT says.

P.S. The next major public briefing on the bridge will be at the Community Task Force meeting at 4 pm April 21st.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Concrete update; six more ‘progress reports’ obtained; celebration planning

Three West Seattle Bridge updates:

(SDOT photo: Expansion joint rehab, also awaiting concrete)

CLOSER TO CONCRETE? When last we checked with SDOT regarding whether some striking drivers’ offer to return to work would result in concrete for the bridge, they said contractor Kraemer North America was talking with potential supplier Cadman about the “recipe” for what they need. Today, when asked for an update, SDOT told WSB, “At this stage in the project’s pursuit of concrete, the city has evaluated and approved Cadman’s concrete mix designs. Kraemer is now working with Cadman to determine their delivery capacity and schedule.” SDOT’s response to our inquiry also said, “We are still aiming to reopen the bridge in mid-2022.”

PROGRESS REPORTS: The bridge project team continues to have “progress report” meetings on Tuesday. As explained here in early March, we requested the reports from those meetings and were told they could only be released through the public-disclosure process, which has been taking about a month. So we continue to file requests for them. We just received six more, from the meetings January 25th, February 1st, February 8th, February 15th, February 22nd, and March 1st; the only notable point is that the concrete situation is recapped weekly, with the February 1st notation, “Project can endure strike without schedule impacts through about February 20th. After this date, impacts will be day for day.” That was eight days before the city publicly announced the February 20th date; also of note, we hadn’t heard the “day for day” point before; SDOT has repeatedly said that the schedule impacts won’t be known until the last pour for the post-tensioning (strengthening). February 8th brought a mention of concern about “exposed rebar” somewhere on the bridge deck. And the February 15th report noted an incident: “Westbound Highrise vehicle drove into perimeter gate. No injuries or major damage. Security could not locate car.” That week’s report also mentioned a possible “mayoral visit” to the bridge, but no further notations about whether that ever happened.

CELEBRATION PLANNING CONTINUES: As also previously mentioned, a community coalition has been working on plans to celebrate the reopening of the bridge, whenever it happens. Members of the subcommittees are holding an online meeting every other Tuesday to check in, and today brought one of those meetings. Many specifics are still yet to be decided, but here are a few toplines. Instead of just a logo contest, they’ll ask community members to suggest slogans too. Watch for the announcement of that. They’ve settled on some verbiage, though – there’ll be a website at westseattlebestseattle (dot) org, and they’ll encourage use of the #westseattlebestseattle hashtag – this, to underscore a goal of the reopening celebration, to encourage the rest of the region to come visit. They’re also still seeking sponsors for the celebratory event(s).

2 years without the West Seattle Bridge: More Q&A about what’s next, including low bridge’s future

(SDOT traffic-camera image, this afternoon)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In our first report noting the second anniversary of the West Seattle Bridge’s sudden closure on March 23, 2020, we looked at what’s happening right now with repair work.

Before the night’s out, here’s one more report – including what happens once it’s back open.

We talked again late today with SDOT’s Heather Marx, the West Seattleite who is in charge of what’s become the West Seattle Bridge Program, encompassing not just getting the high bridge fixed and reopened, but also repair/maintenance work on the low bridge, as well as offshoot programs to calm detour traffic and encourage commuting alternatives.

Our questions included some that recur in discussion of bridge stories, even though they’ve been asked and answered before. For one – when the bridge reopens, will it reopen gradually, or all lanes at once? “It’s still the plan to open all lanes at once,” Marx said, again. There will be a two-week-or-so testing period once contractor Kraemer North America says they’re done – a plan has already been drafted for that, she adds – and then, it’ll be fully reopened.

Will the low-bridge restrictions all go away once the high bridge is reopened? Yes, Marx said. Private vehicles will have full access again, and transit will return to the high bridge.

Speaking of the low bridge, we asked if those fears about truck traffic from reopened Terminal 5 have come true. Basically, no. She said that T-5 has been making use of its rail capabilities, and that’s lessened the truck volume. So they’re not going to have to cut back on low-bridge access as they warned for months might be necessary: “We wanted to be sure people were emotionally prepared for the worst-case scenario.” But they’re not going to relax restrictions, either – the current status quo will remain until the high bridge reopens.

Meantime, “a hundred little projects” for the low bridge are continuing, though the big work – carbon-fiber wrap and epoxy injection, like the high bridge – is on the back burner while the high bridge stays in the spotlight. The “hundred little projects” are moving ahead, Marx said, including rerouting control wires and cables through an underground tube.

And as mentioned in a past briefing, they’re also working on what you might call an “undo list” – things that need to be removed (think of all those detour signs) or changed once the high bridge reopens. Marx explains that requires more logistics than you might expect, ensuring that crews “have space on their summer calendar,” for example.

Yes, she said “summer.” So that brings us back to the concrete concern. As we reported earlier today, contractor Kraemer NA is now talking with supplier Cadman – one of the companies to which striking Teamsters Local 174 drivers said they’d return – about what’s needed for this project. In our conversation late today, we asked Marx for more specifics on those talks. She said they’re working on a “mix design,” aka recipe, for the “self-consolidating” concrete that’s needed for the post-tensioning (strengthening with steel cables). So what happened to the concern that even once the concrete was flowing again, the West Seattle Bridge wouldn’t be anywhere near the head of the line, because a relatively small amount is needed? Marx said it turns out “there’s not a very long line for this kind of concrete.” She also said Mayor Bruce Harrell has been “encouraging” Cadman to prioritize the bridge.

Here’s something that hasn’t changed: The estimated completion date can’t be calculated until the “last concrete pour” for the post-tensioning, Marx reiterated. And she’s not willing to estimate how long it’ll take Kraemer and Cadman to work out the details to get to the pouring point.

Two years ago today, in announcing the closure, SDOT warned repairs could take “months”; three weeks later, they warned the bridge might not be fixable, and even if it was, it wouldn’t reopen before 2022. Now, one-fourth of the way into that year, it’ll be a while longer before we know when in 2022.

2 years without the West Seattle Bridge: Here’s where repairs stand, with concrete hope on the horizon

(WSB photo, this morning)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At 7 pm tonight, it’ll be exactly two years since the city’s emergency shutdown of the crack-plagued West Seattle Bridge, announced just hours before the closure took effect.

There’s still no date for its reopening, and the unavailability of concrete because of a months-long labor dispute has left the long-estimated “mid-2022” in question.

But there’s new hope today that concrete could be flowing soon, in the wake of Teamsters Local 174‘s recent announcement that some striking drivers were willing to return to work to get public projects moving again. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB, “Our construction contractor is currently in the process of developing a contract with Cadman, and communicating with them about their ability to produce the specialized concrete required for the repair and ensure that it meets the necessary quality specifications.”

Concrete is needed for several aspects of the work but most critically, the added “post-tensioning” – strengthening via steel cables. SDOT says the work to prepare for this is being done now: “This includes drilling holes through the inner walls of the bridge for the post-tensioning strands to pass through, building and positioning forms for the various concrete components that will support and anchor the post-tensioning strands, and installing rebar for these components.” Once concrete is available, the post-tensioning cables themselves will be installed.

We asked what else is currently being done while awaiting concrete: “Right now, crews are focusing on epoxy crack injection and carbon-fiber wrap work at various points of both the bridge’s interior and exterior. This process involves cleaning concrete surfaces that contain cracks and using pumps to inject epoxy into the cracks. Once the epoxy cures, crews smooth the surface and apply carbon-fiber sheets injected with a similar compound.”

As explained when the project manager from the repair contractor, Kraemer North America, briefed the Community Task Force extensively in December (WSB coverage here), maintenance work is under way too. Bergerson says one key component of that involves the bridge’s expansion joints: “Over the past few weeks, we removed and cleaned older joints and are now installing new joints. Once concrete becomes available, we will finish the installation of the new joints that are currently ready for pouring.”

SDOT’s bridge-project director Heather Marx has said they can’t estimate a date for reopening until the concrete pours are happening, but as of her last public briefing, she was still hopeful “mid-2022” was in reach. On the occasion of the closure’s two-year anniversary, Marx tells WSB, “We haven’t missed a day of work on the West Seattle Bridge in the two years since it closed. This project is – and has been – Seattle’s number one transportation emergency and priority. I’m so thankful and appreciative of my West Seattle family, friends, and neighbors who weathered this closure with our team and me. And I’m grateful to folks in Highland Park, South Park, Delridge, and Georgetown who’ve been sharing their neighborhoods with detour traffic for so long. In the bingo game of challenging circumstances we’ve all been living through these past two years, I didn’t have ‘concrete strike’ on my board. We’re managing that with our contractor, and I’m looking forward to getting concrete soon. Right now, our primary focus is to keep moving forward on every inch of bridge repairs that we can. Only one type of repair system is waiting on concrete.”

All of our bridge-closure-related coverage since March 23, 2020 – 271 stories and counting – is archived here, newest to oldest.

TRAFFIC, WEATHER, ROAD WORK: Wednesday watch, 2 years after West Seattle Bridge closure

6:03 AM: Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022. Two years ago tonight, the city closed the West Seattle Bridge with just a few hours’ public notice. We’ll have an update on the repair work later this morning. First – the morning-commute check-ins:

WEATHER

Rain is expected to return by tonight, and the high’s back down in the 50s.

ROAD WORK:

The 35th/Findlay sewer work is expected to continue.

BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES TODAY

Metro is on its regular weekday schedule – final reminder, the twice-yearly service change took effect Saturday. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of reroutes/cancellations.

Water Taxi‘s on its regular schedule.

Ferries: WSF continues the two-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth. Check here for alerts/updates.

BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES

729th morning without the West Seattle 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.)

1st Avenue South Bridge:

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 vessels? Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed; 1st Ave. S. Bridge openings are also tweeted by @wsdot_traffic.

All city traffic cams can be seen here; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are also on this WSB page

Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.

FOLLOWUP: Andover Bridge work resumes with ‘small amounts’ of ‘independent’ concrete, but West Seattle Bridge still waiting

(WSB photo, late this afternoon)

One small bridge project has resumed, but the West Seattle Bridge work still awaits concrete, despite drivers’ back-to-work announcement earlier this week. First, here’s what SDOT announced today about the Andover overpass over the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge:

We’ve resumed work on the SW Andover St Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge (Andover Bridge) seismic retrofit project. Our contractor for this project is using independent drivers to pour small amounts of concrete.

Remaining work includes landscaping around the new sidewalk and base of the bridge, installing and painting the handrail, and replacing fencing near the bridge. With work starting on the Andover Bridge again, we expect to complete the seismic retrofit in the next few weeks. We appreciate your patience and look forward to reopening the bridge after the work is done and it’s ready for use again.

After getting that announcement, we asked SDOT if there’s an update on the Teamsters Local 174 drivers’ offer to resume work for three companies in hopes of getting concrete to some projects including the West Seattle Bridge. The reply from spokesperson Ethan Bergerson:

Contractors have autonomy to select concrete suppliers and we were informed last week by the contractor for the Andover St Pedestrian Bridge Seismic Retrofit project that they would be pouring a comparatively small amounts of concrete using independent drivers.

This is not the same kind of concrete as is needed for the West Seattle Bridge. The West Seattle Bridge program requires specialized concrete which is capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force and must sustain its strength for decades for the bridge to remain standing. This is a different kind of concrete than what is used for most other transportation projects like streets or sidewalks, which does not need to hold up to the same kinds of force.

Kraemer has reached out to all the concrete suppliers to determine who can supply the special type of concrete needed for the West Seattle Bridge and other details about timing and logistics. We are still awaiting more information from the concrete suppliers.

As for the drivers, they have a new statement online tonight, saying drivers for one company – Salmon Bay – are back at work, but alleging another company, Cadman, is dragging its feet on setting a date for drivers’ return.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Concrete followup; party-planning update

Two West Seattle Bridge notes this afternoon:

(SDOT photo – inside the bridge, awaiting concrete)

CONCRETE FOLLOWUP: As reported here Monday, striking concrete-truck drivers say they’te willing to return to work at three of the four companies involved in the labor dispute, to get concrete going again for projects including the West Seattle Bridge. Today the companies have released a joint statement, saying only two of the companies had heard from Teamsters Local 174, but that they’d be happy to welcome those drivers back to work. Meantime, we have another update from SDOT this afternoon, after their earlier response that bridge-repair contractor Kraemer North America is contacting the suppliers named in the Teamsters announcement: “We are working closely with Kraemer as they urgently seek a concrete supplier for the bridge and continue to reorder and evaluate the repair schedule. We are talking with them every day about ways to keep the bridge repairs moving forward and minimize delays as much as possible.”

PARTY-PLANNING UPDATE: Though we don’t know when the West Seattle Bridge will reopen, a volunteer community coalition is continuing to plan celebrations. This is entirely a grass-roots effort, coordinated by the executive directors of the West Seattle Junction Association and Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is two-fold: Both to celebrate the end of the closure, whenever it happens, and to ensure the rest of the region is invited to head back this way. Nothing’s finalized yet but the first thing you’re likely to hear about soon is a logo contest with a theme along the lines of “I Survived the West Seattle Bridge Closure” – they’ll be looking for a logo for T-shirts and other merch. As for events, there’s talk of a run/walk on the bridge at some point before it reopens, followed by an afterparty, and a “business activation” event/campaign after it reopens, as well as neighborhood-specific celebrations. This is all privately funded so far, and one of the subcommittees is actively seeking sponsors, after signing STS Construction Services (WSB sponsor) and Compass Real Estate as lead sponsors.

CONCRETE STRIKE: Drivers say they’ll return to work at 3 companies without a settlement ‘to allow concrete to flow to critical projects’ including West Seattle Bridge

(Image from SDOT bridge-top webcam)

5:44 PM: There could be a partial break in the 3-month-old strike by more than 300 concrete-truck drivers against four local companies, which has left worksites including the West Seattle Bridge repair project waiting for concrete. According to an update on the Teamsters Local 174 website, the drivers are offering to return to work at three of the companies as of tomorrow – Cadman Seattle, Lehigh Cement, and Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel. The update says in part:

… This decision will allow some concrete to flow to critical projects in and around Seattle, with a dedicated and professional Teamster workforce operating equipment they know well, including the West Seattle Bridge, Sound Transit, the Convention Center, and the Hwy 520 Bridge. Negotiations for a new contract will continue with each Employer individually until contracts are reached. This includes the three companies whose workers have offered to return to the job. …

The update includes the letter the union says it’s sent to the three companies, which says in part:

… After much consideration, and on behalf of the bargaining unit we represent and who you employ, which is currently engaged in an unfair labor practice strike against your company, the Union hereby accepts your March 4, 2022, offer to permit our members to return to work “at any time” for the Seattle Location. We designate the beginning of the workday on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, as the time when our members will return to work. To maximize efficiency, please promptly inform our members who are employed by you regarding their work assignments on that day. …

The company not included in the offer is Gary Merlino Construction, which the union says made “a regressive offer” last week. We’ll be seeking reaction from city reps among others; the four concrete suppliers involved in the strike have been posting statements here, but there’s nothing about today’s Teamsters announcement yet. It’s been three weeks since the February 20th date by which the city said concrete needed to be available to keep the bridge repairs on schedule.

6:09 PM: You might recall that the February 20th “need concrete by” date was announced by Mayor Bruce Harrell at a joint media briefing with King County Executive Dow Constantine in White Center, as Constantine announced a plan for the county to seek alternate suppliers. The county executive (a West Seattle resident) is first in with a reaction to the Teamsters’ offer:

For more than 100 days most of the region’s construction has stopped as a result of a dispute between several sand and gravel companies and their employees, who are represented by Teamsters Local 174. Thousands of construction jobs have been impacted, tens of millions of dollars lost, and critical infrastructure projects delayed including wastewater, transit, bridges, and housing.

Today’s offer by Teamsters to return to work at three locations could help critical projects get back on track while negotiations for a three-year contract continue. I appreciate the Teamsters members and leaders who are continuing to bargain in good faith to get a fair contract. Now it’s time for the sand and gravel companies to do the same and return to the negotiating table, secure a fair and long-term contract, and get our region moving again.

ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: We asked SDOT for comment last night and here’s what spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells us this morning: “The City’s contract language for public works projects like the West Seattle Bridge gives contractors autonomy to select concrete suppliers. Kraemer North America has flexibility to get concrete from any supplier, and is currently reaching out to all three companies listed in the Teamsters press release.”

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: What we learned from the first 9 ‘progress reports’

(SDOT bridge-top camera image, noontime today)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

As part of the West Seattle Bridge repair contract, weekly progress reports are required. In late January, we asked SDOT for those reports; they told us our request had to go through the city’s public-disclosure-request system, which subsequently estimated our request would take a month to fulfill. It did. This week we received minutes from the first nine weekly progress meetings, from November 23rd through January 18th.

The documents show that these meetings are held at 8 am Tuesdays. The reports, usually two to three pages long, are not detailed, and the ones we’ve received don’t reveal anything dramatic, but there are a few points of interest. Most notable is that the concrete-drivers strike first turns up in the January 11th report, with this notation:

Ongoing Teamsters strike against the concrete suppliers locally has shut down many jobsites. While there are no impacts to the project yet, concern for concrete availability once suppliers are allowed to deliver again. Concrete suppliers will address in order of priority based on volume. Given the lower volume of the project, concerns with meeting the schedule deadlines are being monitored and schedule options are being explored to condense the concrete delivery timeframe.

That note appeared four weeks before Mayor Bruce Harrell stood before media crews and warned that the strike would delay the bridge reopening if concrete didn’t become available by February 20th.

Other notes of interest include a COVID outbreak reported among the bridge crew in the January 18th report – three confirmed cases and one suspected case; the report adds that “all were fully vaccinated.” From mid-December to mid-January, there were multiple mentions of logistics for the raising of the bridge work platforms.

(WSB photo, January 29th, just before second half of second platform went up)

They were at one point expected to be hoisted in December, but instead went up in January; progress-meeting minutes indicate that working with the railroad took extra time – “railroad comments” were cited as a reason for a resubmittal of documents related to the hoisting.

The reports are on forms with a preset list of discussion topics, and lists of invitees/attendees, from repair contractor Kraemer North America, SDOT, consultant (and repair designer) WSP, and in addition to SDOT’s in-house communicators, representatives of communications consultant Stepherson and Associates. We have put in public-disclosure requests for the weekly reports filed since the ones we received, and are waiting for estimates on how long that’ll take.

P.S. As for what’s happening now with the bridge, work continues, minus concrete. Last week, SDOT told the West Seattle Transportation Coalition they still hope to be able to reopen the bridge in mid-2022.

On the strike front, the drivers’ union, Teamsters Local 174, says it wants to bargain individually with the concrete suppliers; the suppliers responded with a statement today accusing the drivers of trying to “bully the construction industry.”

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: One month away from two years of closure

(SDOT camera image, during Tuesday morning’s snow)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One month from today – on March 23rd – the West Seattle Bridge closure will mark its second anniversary. Yesterday, as noted in our morning traffic watch, marked 700 days since the shutdown.

Also, it’s been exactly two weeks since Mayor Bruce Harrell said the ongoing concrete-drivers strike would delay the reopening if it weren’t resolved by February 20th. We’re now three days past that date. Not only is there no sign of a resolution, there’s not even a hint of progress; the most recent development involved the employers taking the strikers to court to try to limit picketing, while the strikers sent a letter “demanding to return to negotiations immediately.”

So where does all this leave the schedule for reopening the bridge? Even before this, no exact date had ever been announced. The contract between the city and repair contractor Kraemer North America set a “substantial completion” deadline of June 30th, so the city has long said it expected reopening in “mid-year 2022.” SDOT won’t say whether each day without concrete is an added day past midyear; when we checked in with them at the end of last week, a department spokesperson said they “are still monitoring the situation and continuing to advance other work to keep the overall project moving forward.” Last week, for example, some of the tangential maintenance work – like removing the Jersey barriers for replacement – was under way. This week, according to the most-recent weekly update, crews planned to “continue assembling scaffolding on the east work platforms so we can begin exterior epoxy crack injection and carbon-fiber wrapping on that side of the bridge.”

SDOT reports to the mayor, so we asked if he’s doing anything further to try to avoid further delays. Here’s the response we received last night from spokesperson Jamie Housen:

Mayor Harrell recognizes how crucial restoration of the West Seattle Bridge is for the neighborhood’s — and entire City’s — transportation needs and quality of life.

The mayor has continued to advocate to both sides to come back to the bargaining table so they can reach a fair agreement and end the work stoppage. That includes offering City Hall as a place to meet (during his State of the City address).

We are looking at alternatives and further workarounds. The biggest issue is logistical in that specialized reinforced concrete blocks and structures must be poured on-site to hold new steel cables, which are essential to strengthen the bridge. Concrete drivers from other counties are honoring the local strike and are unavailable. Concrete is meant to be mixed locally because of the nature of the product. It can only be in the truck for about 90 minutes before it starts to lose strength. Concrete isn’t available within a few hours’ travel time from the bridge construction site.

Meantime, public briefings about the bridge status are happening less frequently since the Community Task Force is only meeting every other month. The bridge contract requires weekly and monthly updates for SDOT from the contractor; even before the concrete-strike delay, we requested copies of those reports, and SDOT told us we had to go through the public-disclosure-request process (which takes weeks if not months). We may get some new information at tomorrow night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting – the WSTC is scheduled to talk with Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Barrier removal

(WSB photo)

12:22 PM: Notice something missing in that photo of the west end of the West Seattle Bridge? (Besides vehicles.) The jersey barriers that divide the bridge have been removed. After a tip from Jodi (thank you!), we went over for a look just as a crew was finishing removal in this area. Replacement of the barriers is among the maintenance tasks planned for completion during the repair work, and it was mentioned when contractor Kraemer North America briefed the WS Bridge Community Task Force on the work plan in December – to be specific, 4,000 feet of jersey barriers to be replaced. We have an inquiry out to SDOT for more details, as well as checking on whether Sunday is still the deadline for a concrete-strike resolution to avoid delays to the “midyear” reopening plan.

P.S. If you traveled through the Harbor/Avalon area this past Monday night and noticed a detour, we also got belated word that was related to the bridge work as well – “Our contractor was doing work at the intersection to install debris containment for expansion joint replacement along the corridor,” explained SDOT’s Mariam Ali.

7:12 PM: SDOT tells us, “The barrier is being replaced from just east of Fauntleroy to approximately Delridge.” As for the looming “need concrete by date,” the response was, “We don’t anticipate receiving concrete on Feb. 20, and are still monitoring the situation and continuing to advance other work to keep the overall project moving forward.”

VIDEO: West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force’s first briefing in 2 months

(SDOT’s webcam view from atop the bridge this afternoon)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

This week’s big news – the possibility of a bridge-reopening delay – headlined the first West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting in two months.

The meeting was held online Thursday afternoon/evening. Here’s the video:

Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell joined the meeting for the first half-hour. She assured CTF members that the West Seattle Bridge is “very important to our administration as well.” She says a multi-jurisdiction team has been meeting three times a week to talk about the concrete-drivers strike and “what can we do to bring the teams back to the table” to support a resolution. She briefly mentioned the King County effort to try to line up an alternate concrete supply, as announced Wednesday by County Executive Dow Constantine at the media briefing during which Mayor Bruce Harrell talked about the potential WS Bridge delay. “We are working on this as much as we possibly can” but “we don’t want to interfere in the process … we all support labor … we believe there is a positive resolution (possible) and we just need the parties to get back to the table.” Regarding rearranging the repair work “(SDOT has) juggled all the balls they can juggle.”

SDOT’s transportation-operation division director Adiam Emery affirmed that. She said they’re daily urging both sides to return to the negotiating table. She also urged CTF members “to reach out to both parties and let them know how (a bridge-reopening delay) would affect you.”

Bridge program director Heather Marx then got into the specifics of the potential effects – basically the same as we had discussed with her at the Wednesday briefing:

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