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West Seattle Bridge Update, July 31; Age Friendly Seattle Virtual Events; Seattle City Light Scammers

West Seattle Bridge Update, July 31

Funding

The Council has received legislation to fund necessary 2020 work on the West Seattle Bridge and related projects.

The legislation authorizes two interfund loans for a total of $70 million. The primary loan is for $50 million from the Construction and Inspections Fund, with a secondary loan of $20 million from the REET (Real Estate Excise Tax) II Capital Projects Fund. The loans will be paid back in 2021 by issuing bonds, with Real Estate Excise Tax proceeds used to pay the debt service on the bonds. REET is authorized under state law for use for capital projects and maintenance.

This funding will support a preliminary two-year work plan, including bridge stabilization work that may include shoring and/or controlled removal (if for example a replacement is pursued), bridge replacement options analysis and design,  lower bridge repairs and enhancements, and implementation of Reconnect West Seattle projects.

SDOT will work to identify potential partnership funding; at a presentation earlier in July, SDOT identified bonds, federal and state grants, and other potential funding sources.

The summary also estimates project cost through 2025, for purposes of the City’s six year 2020-2025 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget at $191.9 million. That is the midpoint of cost estimate ranges from $159.2 million to $225.7 million. SDOT indicates this estimate will be reevaluated at 30% design. Clarity on whether repair or replacement will be pursued will also help inform future estimates.

Future bond sales are listed in the six-year 2020-2025 CIP page for a total of $150 million in funding, including 2021 and 2022 bond sales. In general, CIP funding sources beyond the current year are estimates that can vary year by year, especially in the early stages of projects; only the current year listed for CIP budget items will have appropriated funding, which is authorized annually by the Council.

Lower Bridge Use

SDOT published an update with additional details and a FAQ on their policies for use of the lower bridge. SDOT notes capacity for around 160 more vehicles per hour during the day, toward the bridge capacity of 450 vehicles in either direction each hour, and information about their decision to not allow motorcycles to use the bridge.

I asked SDOT about potential general use of the lower (Spokane Street) Bridge on weekends, and they note traffic levels are comparable to weekdays (July 18 and 19 were weekend days), and at times exceeds the authorized level of 450 vehicles per hour. They have additional information by time of day for July 11/12 and 18/19 in this blog post.

Overall, lower traffic volumes are above the pre-COVID baseline:

SDOT is planning to send legislation to the Council in late summer or early fall to allow for camera enforcement, and has indicated they will revisit policies for use of the lower bridge then.

Stabilizing the West Seattle Bridge

SDOT’s bridge stabilization contractor has completed raising four work platforms to allow work on measures intended to clow cracking. The platforms allow work crews to safely access the exterior of the bridge, and allow up to 10 people to work on the bridge. The platforms will be under the bridge for at least three months, and will be lowered onto barges when work is complete.

SDOT notes that over the next few months, crews will use the work platforms for bridge access to perform stabilization measures including:

  • First, we will inject epoxy to seal the cracks in order to protect the bridge’s skeleton of steal post-tensioning cables holding up the concrete.
  • We will wrap sensitive sections of the bridge with carbon fiber reinforced polymer to strengthen the bridge much like putting a cast on a broken bone.
  • Then we will install additional steel post-tensioning cables inside the hollow portion of the bridge to help hold up the bridge, like adding braces for extra support.
  • Next, we will repair the locked bearings at Pier 18 which are preventing the bridge from reacting to normal daily stresses as intended.
  • Finally, we will go back and install additional carbon fiber wrapping and post-tensioning cables for further strengthening and support.

During stabilization work, we will continue to use our intelligent monitoring system to watch the bridge’s response to the repairs to make sure it remains safe for workers and the waterway below.

Additional information is available here.

Traffic

The most recent traffic volumes show high rates continuing on West Marginal, Highland Park Way, with volumes above the pre-COVID baseline on the South park Bridge, Roxbury, and South Michigan Street.

Vehicle travel times are below:

Age Friendly Seattle Virtual Events

Age Friendly Seattle virtual events—Civic Coffee Hours and a new series, Close to Home: Stories of Health, Tech and Resilience—offer older adults in the greater Seattle area a weekly opportunity to stay connected. You’ll learn how local government, nonprofit organizations, and community members cope with the “new normal” of COVID-19 and a wealth of other topics. You can join them to get this valuable information, ask questions, and get answers.

All events start at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time and are accessible by visiting our Virtual Events hub that has everything you’ll need to participate online (use the blue “Join Event Now” button) or by phone (use the green “Get Instructions” button). If you join on your computer, you’ll have a choice of closed captioning in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Russian, Spanish or Vietnamese.

Close to Home: Stories of Health, Tech and Resilience is a new series of programs that stream live on the first, second, and fourth Thursday of every month, featuring information and resources for older people, caregivers, and their families. Presenters include government, nonprofit, and community representatives.

Age Friendly Seattle’s popular Civic Coffee Hours now stream live on the third Thursday of each month (except December), continuing to provide a platform for community elders to interact with government decision makers. A broad range of issues have been discussed over the years (see previous events at the bottom of the Virtual Events page).

If you cannot attend the live virtual events on Thursday mornings, you can find previously streamed episodes in the Virtual Events playlist on their YouTube channel—with captions in all seven languages. When you visit, please Subscribe (and click the bell to be notified) of new episodes as soon as they are uploaded.

Detailed instructions are also provided on Age Friendly Seattle’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. They look forward to connecting with you soon!

Seattle City Light Scammers

I have received reports from constituents in District 1 about Seattle City Light scam calls. This seems like a good opportunity to remind my blog readers that Seattle City Light Employees will:

  • Never call, email, or make a home visit requesting an immediate payment.
  • Never call on the weekend
  • Never call to request credit card, banking, or financial information
  • Never email you to request credit card, banking, or financial information
  • Never request credit card banking or financial information during a home visit
  • Never shutoff service without providing written warning in advance
  • Always provide Employee Identification

If you receive a phone call asking for immediate payment or your power will be shutoff, please hang up and call Seattle City Light Directly at (206) 684-3000. Additionally, please check out Seattle City Light scam alerts page here for more information and to report a scam.

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