West Seattle Bridge Safety Project 213 results

VIDEO: Still too soon for a reopening date, West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force told

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

43 years ago today, the West Seattle Bridge’s predecessor was abruptly taken out of service by an off-course freighter.

Will one more of those anniversaries pass before the current bridge finally reopens?

Even without an official schedule update, the repair timeline was a major topic at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force. The video is above; our report is below.

WHAT’S UP WITH REPAIRS: SDOT’s Greg Izzo says “everything’s on schedule and on track” now that Kraemer North America has been chosen as the contractor – though, it was mentioned later, the contract has yet to be finalized.

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WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Replacement-plan introduction, and what else is planned for Thursday update

The next public updates on the West Seattle Bridge and related projects are expected Thursday (June 10) during this month’s Community Task Force meeting. One new item: “an introduction” to the Long-Term Bridge Replacement Study. Last month, the task force was told some design work had continued on the “rapid span replacement” concept introduced just before Mayor Durkan chose to pursue repair rather than replacement in the short term; they’re spending $5 million on that, while making it clear that replacement studies would continue because a new bridge will be needed someday. Here are the other scheduled agenda highlights:

West Seattle Bridge Updates
– Rehabilitation progress and other bridge updates – Contractingupdate
– Priority Hire federal authorization

Low Bridge Access Updates
– Access Request Form Roll-Out update – Planning for next policy update
– Data and monitoring report

Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan
– Reconnect West Seattle Updates
– Traffic Trends
– Mobility Action Plan
– Commute Seattle Worksite Survey

(See the full agenda here.) Community members are welcome to watch the meeting; here’s the YouTube link for the stream. It starts at 4 pm Thursday. If you have comments or questions before then, westseattlebridge@seattle.gov is the address.

Hopelink mobility management, SDOT bridge updates @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition

Two guests headlined the latest West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting:

HOPELINK: When you think of transportation, does Hopelink come to mind? No? This service would like to change that. Hopelink’s Bebhinn Gilbert was the guest, explaining what Hopelink’s mobility-management service is and does. Here’s her slide deck:

Hopelink’s service area includes all of King County, and its goal is to try to help people navigate their transportation options, so that transportation is a resource, not an obstacle. Hopelink itself is both a provider and a coordinator – as explained here. Non-emergency medical transportation is one of their services, as is helping people better utilize the transportation options that are available from a variety of providers. One big emphasis right now: Helping people get to COVID-19 vaccine providers. If you need help with that, you can reach them via findaride.org or 425-943-6706.

In Q&A, Gilbert was asked if the West Seattle Bridge closure has been an obstacle. She says they’ve worked with all the transportation providers to ensure that’s factored into any trip to or from West Seattle.

Speaking of the bridge …

SDOT UPDATE: West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Safety Project director Heather Marx recapped the recent announcement that a contractor has been chosen for both the high-bridge repairs and low-bridge work (WSB coverage here). She also recapped the status of low-bridge access authorization (same stats reported here).

In Q&A, Marx was asked if capacity restrictions were expected when the high bridge reopens next year. Answer: No. Another attendee asked for clarification on who’s getting low-bridge warnings and who’s getting citations. She said that the first time you’re caught crossing the low bridge without authorization, you get a warning; second violation and beyond, you get a citation with a $75 fine.

WSTC BOARD RECRUITING: One position remains open. Interested? Email info@westseattletc.org.

NEXT MEETING: 6:30 pm June 24th, still online, with Washington State Ferries expected to send a guest.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s how West Seattle low-bridge access applications are going

Four weeks after SDOT opened applications for more categories of drivers to use the low bridge during restricted hours (5 am-9 pm weekdays, 8 am-9 pm weekends), we wondered how many they’ve received and how many have been approved. Here’s what we heard back: 800 businesses and individuals have applied for authorization. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB, “We have approved 469 of these applications (including 100% of the people with lifesaving medical needs).” Applications received by May 15th were reviewed for authorization to start June 1st – here’s the breakdown so far:

105 people with lifesaving medical needs
201 on-call medical providers
116 West Seattle area businesses
47 maritime / industrial businesses

The next round of applications are due by June 15th to be reviewed for possible authorization July 1st (except patients with lifesaving medical treatment, who will be reviewed/approved as quickly as possible, the city says). Application links are here.

Same contractor that stabilized the West Seattle Bridge wins competition to fix it: Kraemer North America

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

First, six firms submitted proposals to fix the West Seattle Bridge (and do some low-bridge work too). Then the field was narrowed to three. Less than two hours ago, the three final proposals were opened – and the winner was Kraemer North America, same firm that stabilized the bridge last fall.

The proposals were not strictly price bids but rather for what’s called a General Contractor/Construction Manager. From SDOT‘s announcement:

Kraemer was selected based on their qualifications, experience, price proposal, and history of success, which all indicate that this firm can finish the final phase of repairs and reopen the bridge on schedule. Next, SDOT will engage with Kraemer to develop a pre-construction scope of work so they can immediately participate in progressing the rehabilitation design.

The repair design has already been under way with SDOT consultant WSP; now Kraemer will plug into the process, and the next update with a more-specific timeline is expected when the design reaches the 60 percent stage by July. Though the repair work itself isn’t expected to start before fall, SDOT has said there may be some other “early work” that can be done on the high bridge, described in today’s announcement as possibly including “replacing bridge expansion joints or repairing pavement.” (SDOT explains that also could include “injection of epoxy into cracks.” The high-bridge repair will focus on more “installation of carbon fiber wrapping and steel post-tensioning cables.”) In the meantime, SDOT tells us, these are the next steps: “SDOT will engage with [Kraemer] to develop a pre-construction scope of work so they can immediately participate in progressing the rehabilitation design. We expect to finalize the contract and issue a Notice to Proceed by the end of June.” Estimated reopening of the bridge remains “mid-2022”; the early cost estimate of the work involved in this contract is $72 million.

P.S. The other two finalists, as announced at this afternoon’s opening (which we watched online), were Granite and Kiewit Faison. Here is the document displayed showing how the three scored. During the last Community Task Force meeting, it was mentioned that the contractors not chosen could choose to file a protest; SDOT tells us they have 3 days to do that.

VIDEO: The questions people keep asking, what’s next on the road to repairs, low-bridge data and more @ West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force’s May meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

On a day that began with a one-two punch that rendered the 415-days-and-counting West Seattle Bridge closure extra-painful, the Community Task Force‘s monthly online gathering brought some news, as well as discussion of the ultimate Frequently Asked Question – why isn’t it fixed yet? – and a few other common questions.

That’s where we begin this month’s coverage of the advisory group’s meeting.

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WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Repair-finalist interviews begin

When last we checked on the next step in West Seattle Bridge repairs – choosing a contractor – SDOT told us they’d received six proposals, and that a “shortlist” would be chosen by the start of May. Checking back, we’re told there are three teams on that shortlist. Interviews inviting them “to show how their experience and qualifications make them the best fit for the work” began yesterday, SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB, adding that the interviews “will be followed up by asking the candidates to submit price proposals and then developing a pre-construction scope of work. We expect to finalize the contract by the end of June.” The contractor will be doing low-bridge work as well as the high-bridge repairs, totaling about $72 million. The next public bridge briefing is tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon, when the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets (here’s the livestream link).

WEEK AHEAD: Next West Seattle Bridge briefing Wednesday @ Community Task Force meeting

More of what’s ahead this week: The next big public briefing on the 13 1/2-months-closed West Seattle Bridge is at noon Wednesday (May 12th), when the Community Task Force meets. The briefing will be streamed live here. The agenda’s not out yet, but it’s likely to include updates on the process of hiring a contractor for high-bridge repairs and low-bridge work (when last we checked in, a “shortlist” was expected by the end of April), as well as low-bridge access applications, and Reconnect West Seattle projects such as West Marginal Way, where the protected-bike-lane decision is still pending. The CTF is an advisory group that meets monthly; to comment before/during/after their meetings, email WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov.

LOW BRIDGE: Access applications now open for more driver categories

(View of low bridge from SDOT camera, 11:29 am today)

SDOT has opened applications for more categories of new low-bridge access authorization. They were all announced earlier this month; applications first opened for one added category, people undergoing life-saving medical treatments, and SDOT had already approved 27 as of a week ago. The new applications are for less-urgent categories, so applications received by May 15th will be reviewed for potential authorization starting June 1st. From the SDOT announcement:

The following user groups can now apply for access to drive on the low bridge:

*On-call medical workers (only for traveling to and from an on-call work shift; employer verification required)

*West Seattle-based restaurants and retail businesses (limited to urgent trips to pick-up equipment or supplies)

*Rideshare vehicles (vans, shuttles or official carpools with a state-issued rideshare license plate. This does not include Uber and Lyft)

And as already announced:

*People traveling to and from lifesaving medical treatments (authorization from your medical provider required) via West Seattle; includes driving to treatments via the Fauntleroy Ferry.

The application is available here, in these languages: English, Spanish, Korean, Somali, Chinese (Traditional), Vietnamese, Oromo, and Khmer. Questions/problems? Call 206-400-7511 or email WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov. SDOT also notes, “Access does not begin immediately after receiving confirmation because license-plate information must be processed into the photo enforcement system.”

LOW BRIDGE: Expanded-access update; plus – West Seattle Transportation Coalition briefing tonight

(From SDOT camera, 11:14 am today)

Two weeks after SDOT announced expanded access to the West Seattle low bridge (officially the Spokane Street Swing Bridge), two notes:

HOW THE ACCESS EXPANSION’S GOING: SDOT‘s Meghan Shepard, point person on low-bridge access, was a guest at last night’s Morgan Community Association meeting, She said that 27 people have already had applications approved to use the low bridge for access to life-saving medical treatments, one of the new access categories. You can find the application link here. That’s also where you’ll find the application link(s) next week for the other added access categories:

Shepard stressed that you are not authorized until you get email from SDOT saying so. (Our full report on last night’s MoCA meeting, with this and many other topics, is coming up later today.)

BRIEFING TONIGHT: SDOT is on the agenda to talk about the low bridge at tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, 6:30 pm online. All welcome.

Zoom Meeting ID 880 0834 8817
Passcode WSTC
On the web
Via phone: +12532158782,,88008348817#,,,,*477234#

The other major topic at tonight’s meeting will be the Terminal 5 project.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: What’s next, now that repair proposals are in

(Slide from March presentation to Community Task Force)

This past Monday was the deadline for prospective contractors to submit to SDOT their proposals for the West Seattle Bridge project – spanning high-bridge and low-bridge work. Six proposals were received, SDOT tells WSB. So now what happens? According to spokesperson Ethan Bergerson, “We expect to announce a shortlist of candidates for interviews by the end of April, and will invite contractor teams to show how their experience and qualifications make them the best fit for the work. Shortlisted firms will be interviewed in May and June.” SDOT expects to choose the contractor in time for the next major schedule update and design milestone in mid-summer; they are using a process that enables the contractor to be brought in before design is complete, GCCM (General Contractor/Construction Manager). The design is being led by a consultant with whom the city’s already been working, WSP. The high- and low-bridge work is expected to cost about $72 million; more details are in this post from March. Until that expected July update, the estimate for completion and high-bridge reopening remains “mid-2022.”

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Tagging vandalism cleaned up

Thanks to Conrad for sending the photo! City crews were out today cleaning up some of the tagging that vandals have been doing on the West Seattle Bridge. Conrad (who has organized recent volunteer cleanups on the ground in the area) told us, “I wanted to shout out SDOT and SPU for spending the morning removing several audacious graffiti tags on the WS Bridge. These tags were a highly visible stain on our peninsula that has already been tested so greatly over the past year with the bridge closure. Huge kudos to all involved in the removal!!” We have some followup questions out to SDOT and will add anything more we find out.

WEST SEATTLE LOW BRIDGE: Here’s how access is about to expand

(File photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The rules for who gets to drive on the West Seattle low bridge, and when, are changing.

SDOT is announcing the new access rules at today’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting (watch here). We and other media got a pre-meeting briefing on the changes.

First, the key points; we’ll get into the details after the short version.

OPEN-TO-ALL HOURS: Three more hours are being added on Saturday and Sunday mornings, 5-8 am, which means the low bridge will be unrestricted 9 pm Friday to 8 am Saturday, 9 pm Saturday to 8 am Sunday, and 9 pm-5 am the other five nights/mornings.

That’s the only added access that doesn’t require SDOT approval for drivers. All the rest will be via pre-authorized license plates:

PATIENTS WHO NEED LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL TREATMENTS: Applications for this will open tomorrow.

ON-CALL HEALTH-CARE PROVIDERS: Applications for this previously announced change will open soon.

RETAIL AND RESTAURANT BUSINESSES: All West Seattle businesses in these sectors are welcome to apply for access to use the low bridge.

RIDESHARING: They’re going to expand the definition to align with what the state Department of Licensing allows via special ride-share plates, which, for example, could open low-bridge use to a family who uses its vehicle to transport multiple families’ children to schools on the other side of the river.

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WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: Community Task Force gets high, low updates tomorrow

(SDOT camera, 11:26 am today)

Updates on the high and low bridges are expected when the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, April 8th). When the CTF last met on March 10th (WSB coverage here), SDOT announced it had opened the bid process for prospective contractors to work on both bridges; the window for applications ends next Monday (April 12th). There was also a promise they would be working out details for increased low-bridge access, particularly the issue of how to allow people to use the low bridge to get to and from life-saving medical treatments on the other side of the water. Tomorrow’s meeting starts at 4 pm and will be streamed live via YouTube; here’s the link.

From buses to bridges @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Will West Seattle get back some of the bus service it’s lost? And what’s the deal with some of the most-challenged policies post-West Seattle Bridge closure? Those were the two big topics at this month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, online this past Thursday night.

METRO’S FUTURE: King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and Metro planner Graydon Newman were the guests for this topic. McDermott said it’s a subject with which he has personal experience, since he took the 56/57 to downtown pre-pandemic, though now his commute route is a set of stairs in his home. However, he said, the council doesn’t get into the details of route planning – it sticks to big-picture issues. With that, Newman took centerstage. Having just launched the spring service change, he said, Metro is now in the thick of “service restoration planning” for September – “making a big effort” to restore some suspended service.

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West Seattle Bridge closure, 1 year later: 5 things happening now

Throughout the day, we’ve been observing the one-year anniversary of the West Seattle Bridge’s sudden, shocking closure. One last report as promised: So what’s happening now?

(Slide from presentation at this month’s Community Task Force meetingO

REPAIR DESIGN: SDOT‘s consulting firm WSP is designing the repair work that is expected to start this fall. The design work reached the 30 percent milestone earlier this month.

ACCEPTING REPAIR BIDS: Along with the design milestone, the city announced that it is accepting bids from prospective contractors to handle work on both the high and low bridges. That process is under way now; the deadline for submissions is April 12th.

SEEKING REPAIR FUNDING: The price tag SDOT has announced for its entire “program” – including high and low bridge repairs and traffic mitigation – is $175 million. When that figure was announced, we asked SDOT for a breakdown of where the money’s coming from, and this was the reply:

SDOT has secured $124M in funding sources, including:

Federal grants ($14.4M for high bridge rehabilitation and $1.5M for Reconnect West Seattle)
Seattle Transportation Benefit District ($8M)
City of Seattle REET-backed bonds ($100M)

We are actively seeking federal grants, such as Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA), and local partnership funding opportunities. We are closely monitoring the development of potential Washington State transportation packages.

INFRA is a federal grant program administered by USDOT. The grant is for highway and freight projects of regional significance. We are requesting $17-21M for the West Seattle Bridge Program.

This new post on SDOT Blog gets into details of the INFRA application, and invites you to sign on to a “community letter” of support.

RECONNECT WEST SEATTLE PROJECTS: On and around the detour routes, SDOT has a long list of small-ish projects it’s working through, from traffic-calming to pothole-filling.

ENCOURAGING MODE-SHIFT: The city also continues to warn that as schools, businesses, and offices reopen, traffic will become unbearable unless some people mode-shift to non-single-occupancy-car travel at least part of the time.

(Bicycle rack on West Seattle Water Taxi – photo by Paul Dieter)

Ideally, the city says, the single-occupancy car’s share of daily travel would be down to 35 percent while the bridge is out – less than half its pre-closure, pre-pandemic 81 percent share.

SO WHEN WILL THE BRIDGE REOPEN? SDOT first said on April 15, 2020, that it didn’t expect the bridge to reopen before 2022. That was 7 months before the mayor’s November 19, 2020 decision to repair rather than replace. Now, four months after that, the estimated reopening date remains “mid-2022.”

West Seattle Bridge closure anniversary: Laughing because otherwise we’d cry

One of the ways in which people have coped with the West Seattle Bridge closure – one year ago today, and expected to continue for another 15 months or so – is through humor, in the “laughing because otherwise we would cry” mode. Above, one of the signs that popped up around the peninsula in the early going – photographed today in the window at Beveridge Place Pub. A popular meme is that the bridge outage has turned the peninsula into an island – that gave birth to stickers sold to raise money for the West Seattle Food Bank. And remember the T-shirt design contest? Three designs won a community vote last summer from among 63 entries:

NOAH BELL-CRUZ – Greetings from Accidental Island


REBECCA DAHLIN – So Close Yet So Far

The West Seattle Junction Association, which organized the design contest, says the winning T-shirts are still available at Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor), Alair (3270 California SW), Capers Home (4525 California SW), Wild Rose (4529 California SW).

‘Here we are. One year later’: What the city’s saying on the West Seattle Bridge closure anniversary

(WSB file photo)

At their March meeting, some members of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force voiced hopes the city would make a grand statement on the first anniversary of the bridge’s sudden shutdown. We’re told this SDOT Blog post is the only statement planned for today – so we’re republishing it here as we continue marking the anniversary:

Dear West Seattle and Duwamish Valley communities,

It’s been a tough year. Just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take its toll around the globe, your communities suddenly faced another major challenge: the emergency closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge on March 23, 2020.

Here we are. One year later.

While closing the bridge was a necessary step for public safety, the effects of the closure have been widespread and undeniable. All of you have been affected. Your trips have taken more time; your routines have been disrupted. Traffic patterns have changed, with detours sending people driving onto neighborhood streets that weren’t intended for so many cars.

We’ve taken steps – and will continue to do so – to help ease some of the strain. Later this week, we’ll talk more about where we’ve been over the past year and where we’re headed. We remain laser-focused on repairing and reopening the High Bridge in mid-2022 so the closure no longer weighs heavily on your day-to-day life.

But this message today isn’t about what we at the City have done. It’s about what you and your neighbors have endured. Today, we simply want to thank you for your perseverance over the past year.

“A year later after the West Seattle Bridge closure as we struggle to keep our communities safe and healthy from road traffic and additional emissions for both of our communities Georgetown and South Park, I am pleased to say we have been centering community voices and concerns prioritizing equity and environmental justice and will continue to make sure this is a key element moving forward. Thankful for our community and our SDOT partners.” – Paulina Lopez, West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Co-Chair and Executive Director of Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition

“It has been a long, hard year for folks in West Seattle and Southwest Seattle. But finally we see a light at the end of the bridge.” – Greg Nickels, West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Co-Chair and Former Mayor of Seattle

“Thank you for your patience as we work to repair this critical piece of Seattle’s infrastructure. We know that the bridge closure has deeply impacted communities and business, and we appreciate your flexibility in learning new ways to get around. Thank you to all the community members who have helped guide our efforts, through emails, surveys, and public meetings. You have helped set us on a path to success.” – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan

“Better days are ahead. After successfully completing stabilization measures on the bridge late last year, we’re preparing to hire the construction team that will rehabilitate the bridge and work to reopen it to traffic. As that work proceeds, you’ll continue to see us in the community telling you what’s happening, humbly asking for your feedback, and steadfastly making improvements.” Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation

This remains a long emergency and remain committed to staying on schedule and reopening a safe bridge as soon as possible. Still, we recognize that this is one of many losses you may have endured this year, and you’ve had to look for new and novel ways of coping and coming together as a community. We hear you and we will continue to do everything we can to return the bridge to service and supporting all of the communities affected by detour traffic.

As mentioned in this pictorial look back that we published earlier today, we’ll look later today at where things stand and what’s next. Our entire year of coverage is in this WSB archive, newest to oldest.

13 scenes from a year without the West Seattle Bridge

(Illuminated traffic sign shortly after the closure began, March 23, 2020)

One year ago tonight – at 7 pm March 23, 2020 – the West Seattle Bridge was closed, just 4 hours after the city announced it was unsafe for traffic. The last-minute word of that 3 pm briefing came minutes after a reader emailed us to say they just heard a rumor the bridge had to close for a year-plus of emergency repairs. We found it hard to believe … but it was true. Hours later, crews were blocking off the bridge entrances:

(35th/Fauntleroy bridge entrance, March 23)

West Marginal Way – a street some West Seattleites had never traveled – was suddenly a major route to and from the peninsula.

(West Marginal Way traffic beneath the bridge, March 24)

Traffic through Highland Park increased dramatically. Within a week, a rush-installed signal was up at the long-suffering intersection of Highland Park Way and Holden.

(March 29)

In April, we learned the bridge wouldn’t reopen before 2022. By May, ramps were more enduringly blocked off:

(May 2020, Delridge onramp)

Police – and later, cameras – worked to enforce restrictions on the low bridge:

(April 2020 reader photo by Dean)

Streets beyond West Seattle filled with cut-through drivers to and from alternate bridges; though SDOT was working on mitigation plans, South Park neighbors took action of their own:

(June 2020 reader photo by Robin)

Work began to keep the bridge from falling down before the replace-or-repair decision could be made:

(June 2020 SDOT photo – taking samples off side of bridge)

(July 2020 – workers atop and under the bridge)

In case of complete cutoff, emergency personnel made sure they could get to West Seattle no matter what:

(June 2020 Airlift NW/Seattle FD drill at Alki Playfield)

Winter came. Still bridgeless, but the stabilization work was done, and the work platforms came down by year’s end.

(November photo by Tony Welch)

In February, a spooky sight as the traffic-free bridge filled with February snow, unplowed

(February 14 image from SDOT camera over the high bridge)

And now … in spring … the empty bridge awaits permanent repairs:

(Reader photo by Mike Burns)

Later today, more anniversary coverage, including where things stand now.

WEST MARGINAL WAY: Last call for comments on proposed bike lane

If you have something to say about SDOT‘s proposal to close the gap in the Duwamish River Trail with a two-way protected bicycle lane replacing part of a general traffic lane on West Marginal Way, time is running out. Tomorrow is the last day for nearby businesses to answer this survey; everyone else can send comments via WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov. The latest updates on the proposal happened this week at meetings of the Seattle Freight Advisory Board and Maritime Town Hall. Those yielded some new information about what it would take to build the path in the sidewalk area on the west side of West Marginal south of the bridge – one of four options reviewed:

The sidewalk path, Option A, would cost $2.5 million, SDOT estimates – 80 percent of that because of utility poles that would have to be moved – compared to $400,000 for the in-street lane:

SDOT wants to build the in-street version, Option B:

The freight board opposes the bike lane and supports removing the “lane drop” by the Duwamish Longhouse, where part of the southbound outside lane was removed as an interim safety measure pending the future nearby crossing light, and some street parking was added. But the board supports the crossing improvements, noting in a November letter to city government that the crossing project is entirely separate from the bike-lane matter.

WHAT’S NEXT: SDOT says a decision memo will be “drafted” later this month, with a decision finalized in April. If the decision is to build the bicycle lane, that’ll happen in August, when a temporary version of the new crossing signal near the Longhouse goes in.

VIDEO: City Council committee’s West Seattle Bridge briefing

Six days short of one year after the sudden closure of the West Seattle Bridge, the City Council’s Transportation and Utilities Committee got a briefing from SDOT today. You can see it in the meeting video above, starting one hour and two minutes in. It was fairly short – no new information if you’re caught up with what was announced one week ago (WSB coverage here): The repair design is at the 30 percent mark, and the city has officially launched the search for a contractor. SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe and bridge-project leader Heather Marx also recapped the projected price tag: $58 million for the bridge repairs, as part of a $175 million package including everything from the completed stabilization work, to high and low bridge repairs, to the ongoing traffic-mitigation projects scattered through neighborhoods in West Seattle, South Park, and Georgetown. On the subject of money, the committee’s agenda item right after the briefing was formal acceptance of a $14.4 million federal grant that’s being routed to the city by the Puget Sound Regional Council (part of the $124 million the city has already secured). The councilmembers didn’t have many questions for SDOT, but one did yield an answer of interest: SDOT reiterated that traffic would be phased in once the repair work is done at “midyear” next year – but how? Marx said it “makes sense” to go with larger vehicles like buses first, but they’re working on a plan to “generate as little confusion as possible.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Prospective contractors are invited to apply through April 12th; once one is on board and joining SDOT and consultant WSP in the design process, they expect a major design and scheduling milestone in July. Until then, they can only project that work will start “late this year.” SDOT continues guesting at many neighborhood meetings, so watch for our ongoing agenda announcements.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: City Council briefing next week

The agendas for next week’s City Council meetings have gone public, and there’s one item of extra interest – the Transportation and Utilities Committee meeting at 9:30 am Wednesday will include a West Seattle Bridge briefing. The slide deck is already available – most of it is information we reported earlier this week (bridge status here, low-bridge access discussion here), but there are a few more details on funding, for example:

(SDOT presentations are usually framed in blue, but this one appears to be green – with shamrocks – since the meeting’s happening on St. Patrick’s Day.) As with all City Council meetings, this one will be streamed live on Seattle Channel (cable 21 or online here).

Why isn’t low-bridge access increasing more quickly? It’s ‘complicated,’ West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force told

(SDOT camera view of low bridge earlier this evening)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two months after enforcement cameras switched on, and one month after the port’s announcement that Terminal 5 won’t open until next year, SDOT is still keeping West Seattle low-bridge access tightly restricted.

There’s been only one recent change – allowing on-call health-care providers to use it. A few other loosenings are under consideration, but still at least a month away, the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force was told today, at a meeting that began with news of a high-bridge repair-planning milestone (we covered that separately here). An intense discussion ensued (see it here on video), with some members of the task force telling SDOT staff that changes should be made sooner.

First, SDOT’s bridge-project leader Heather Marx< showed traffic-volume changes on the low bridge since enforcement began: Read More