Seattle, WA — Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1 – West Seattle), Chair of the Public Safety and Human Rights committee, issued the following statement in reaction to Mayor Durkan’s decision to repair the West Seattle Bridge:
“I agree repairing the bridge is the best approach to restore safe access as quickly as possible.
“Since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge on March 23rd, I’ve heard every day from residents and businesses that are hurting, their lives and businesses disrupted. I’ve heard consistently from D1 constituents that restoring safe access as quickly as possible is the highest priority.
“As social distancing decreases, traffic and access issues will only increase. Two years for a repair is shorter than other alternatives, even in the best scenarios. Moreover, the Technical Advisory Panel’s confidence that the likelihood of a repair lasting 30-40 years is compelling; so are the conclusions of the Cost Benefit Analysis. (See p. 59, of the Cost Benefit Analysis, or CBA.)
“I appreciate the Mayor’s approach toward working with Sound Transit about potential joint use for a future bridge.
“Proceeding with a study for a replacement as the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) monitors the effectiveness of stabilization measures after weather changes, preserves our options, should we need to change course.
“The Council quickly acted to provide $70 million in loan funding for the West Seattle Bridge and SDOT’s Reconnect West Seattle program, to stabilize the bridge and mitigate the impacts of bridge detour routes through communities that have experienced generations of under-investment. We are poised to authorize $100 million in debt in the 2021 budget, with $50 million in bonds listed in the city’s Capital Improvement Program for 2022.
“Business and workforce impacts resulting from the bridge closure are key concerns for West Seattle businesses, especially small businesses, but also for our regional economy due to reduced trips to and off the peninsula. Closure also impacts access to jobs and to supply chains. I have come to understand that impacts to supply chains disproportionately impact smaller businesses.
“The Mayor’s decision to choose the repair pathway for the West Seattle Bridge has been thoughtful, thorough, and inclusive of a diversity of perspectives as well as the input of SDOT’s independent Technical Advisory Panel.”