Here’s how to stay up-to-date on the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge updates & some FAQs

On a typical spring day, 100,000 vehicles travel along the West Seattle Bridges.

Today, due to safety concerns, the High-Rise bridge is closed to all traffic.

The West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure has a real impact on West Seattle residents, especially those who now have to travel five miles out of their way to get to essential work duties.

West Seattle, we hear you, and we feel your frustration.

Last Monday, we made one of the hardest decisions a City can
make when we closed the West Seattle Bridge and disrupted your normal travel
routine and access. The impact is only compounded by the fact that this accelerated
deterioration occurred during an already challenging time with the COVID-19
outbreak and stay-at-home order.

Though this is a difficult moment for many, we’re grateful to
our team for having the systems in place necessary to make sure we could act
quickly to preserve life and safety.

As we
shared in-detail on Monday
, the discovery of rapidly expanding cracks on the morning of
March 23 required us to make an immediate decision to close the bridge that
day.

We want to be very clear that during our frequent inspections of the West Seattle Bridge over the past several years, there was no indication that the bridge was unsafe for ordinary use or that preventative maintenance plans would impact normal use of the bridge until very, very recently.  In the last few weeks, third party experts suggested that lane reductions or closure may be necessary for repairs at some point in the future. As we were preparing to share that news, accelerated cracking in the bridge over the course of a few days – caught by our close monitoring process — forced us to make the difficult decision to close the bridge, immediately.

This outcome, without a robust opportunity for public engagement and mitigating surprise, is never one we want and it’s our hope that recent efforts to engage West Seattle around existing projects make that clear. Please know that we are thinking of the people and businesses of West Seattle every day as we work tirelessly to reopen the bridge safely. 

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Although bringing community together is hard right now, we remain committed to listening and finding ways to engage you remotely with technology in an equitable way.

Below are some of the way’s we’re staying connected. If you have additional questions, you can contact us at 684-ROAD@seattle.gov and 206-684-ROAD

West Seattle Bridge website

We created an information hub on our website that we will update regularly as new information unfolds.

Today we added a Frequently Asked Questions section that we will continue to update as we hear more questions and gain more answers.

West Seattle Bridge email updates

Sign up for email updates to stay informed every time we post a new West Seattle High-Rise Bridge blog or have a community update to share.

Economic Impact Survey for business

The Office of Economic Development is collecting information with their Economic Impact Survey. If you own a business, please fill out this survey so we can best understand the impact COVID-19 and the bridge closure are having on the economy.

SDOT Blog Posts

We’ll continue to share regular bridge updates on our blog. In case you missed them, here are some posts from the last week:

Photo of West Seattle Bridge by Tim Durkan

Here are a handful of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted on our website:

See the whole FAQ list of questions and answers on our website. If after reading the FAQ list you still have an unanswered question, send an email to 684-Road@seattle.gov or call 206-684-ROAD. Our customer service team will relay all new questions to the West Seattle Bridge project team, and we’ll try to get to get you an answer as soon as we are able.

Q: Can bicyclists and pedestrians continue to the Low Bridge (Spokane Street Bridge)?

A: The Low Bridge remains open to pedestrians, including people using mobility devices, and bicyclists.

Q: How are you limiting traffic on the Low Bridge (Spokane Street Bridge)?

A: Currently, detour signs are posted and Seattle Police Department officers are stationed at either end of the Low Bridge to direct general purpose traffic away from the bridge. We are monitoring traffic on the Low Bridge and as new traffic patterns develop, we may be able to adjust access.

Q: How are you prohibiting traffic from the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge?

A: Currently, we have standard vehicle barriers in place as we plan for a more permanent barrier. We first need to better understand the length of closure to determine the best type of permanent barrier to use. To do this, we and our partners are currently assessing what near-term repairs need to be made, how long they will take, and how to fund them.

Q: When will the bridge reopen?

A: We and all of our partners have made the reopening and mitigation of the West Seattle Bridge closing a top priority with teams working tirelessly to safely restore access.

At present, however, the bridge will remain closed until further notice. At this time, we cannot give a definitive date for when the High Bridge will reopen, but we anticipate a lengthy closure. In the immediate term, we will take all measures to preserve the integrity of the bridge so a long-term solution can be put in place. We and our partners are working tirelessly to assess what near-repairs need to be made now and in the future, how long they will take, and how to fund them. We will continue to share updates as we have them.

Q: Are you looking for contractors to assist with repairs, maintenance, monitoring, and other bridge work?

A: We are continuing to work with the engineering consultant that recently assessed the cracking on the West Seattle Bridge. Future work requiring a bid will be posted on our procurement website.

See the whole FAQ list of questions and answers on our website.

Seattle

Author: Seattle