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West Seattle Bridge

SDOT Finally Announces the West Seattle Bridge’s Opening Date

The Seattle Department of Transportation has established a date for the reopening of the West Seattle Bridge, which was closed for more than two years. On Sept. 12, the West Seattle Bridge, which has been closed for more than two years after discovering cracks considered to be hazardous, is slated to reopen after a lengthy restoration process.

As per the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the West Seattle Bridge has traditionally been the city’s most-trafficked bridge, transporting an average of 100,000 cars every day.

The bridge’s reopening date is many months behind the city’s original estimate. As a result of a lengthy concrete workers’ strike, the city’s high-profile projects and others around the area have been delayed.

Concrete pouring was slated to begin at the start of the year, but the contractor didn’t begin until mid-April, a month behind schedule. The structural concrete pour was completed on May 26 by the construction team.

In order for the bridge to reopen, technicians need to complete pouring epoxy into fractures, encapsulating carbon fiber to strengthen the structure, and post-tensioning using steel cables.

There are still “difficult and complicated” tasks ahead, and SDOT warns there may be unanticipated issues that might influence on the timetable, even though it says it would keep its contractor responsible to reach the revised timelines.

When inspectors observed fast-increasing fractures in the 40-year-old bridge on March 23, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee had already ordered a stay-home order because of the pandemic. Repairs to avoid future cracking were finished in 2020 and the last phase of the project started in 2021, SDOT said.

It was at this point in time that the city was debating whether to repair or rebuild the bridge, which could have taken millions and kept the route closed until at least 2026 if the bridge was completely replaced.

During Jenny Durkan’s first term as mayor, she said that the city will rehabilitate the bridge as a means of boosting the economy, which depends on transportation.

The West Seattle Bridge Project History

Traditionally, the West Seattle Bridge has been the city’s busiest thoroughfare, with an average daily traffic count of more than 100,000 people.

Since its completion in 1984, the concrete bridge has served as a vital artery for the movement of people and products between West Seattle and its surrounding neighborhoods, including SODO and the Duwamish Valley.

The 1,300-foot-long, three-span bridge rises 140 feet over the Duwamish River at its highest point. Because the bridge was built on-site, workers built segments on each side of the piers until all segments were linked, making it an overhanging and segmental concrete bridge.

Travelers and companies in South Park, SODO, West Seattle, Georgetown, and Seattle meanwhile have been affected by the shutdown. SDOT is grateful for everyone’s perseverance and sense of camaraderie as they work through this difficult closing.

The 1st Avenue S Bridge and the South Park Bridge are two possible diversions. In order to guarantee quick emergency vehicle movement, the Spokane St. Swing Bridge has been limited to authorized users only.

Photo Credit: “Under west side of West Seattle Bridge” by theslowlane is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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