Final Phase of West Seattle Bridge Repair Starts
Today SDOT announced the start of construction of repairs to the West Seattle Bridge, with the issuance of the formal “Notice to Proceed” to Kraemer North America. This is great news for our District 1 communities and the entire region.
For 20 months, District 1 residents and businesses have been suffering. It’s not just longer commutes to work, medical appointments, soccer practice, and other activities off the peninsula. For some, it’s also less time spent with family and loved ones.
For West Seattle businesses already impacted by the COVID pandemic, accessing needed supplies and surviving the bridge closure has been another challenge. For residents in the southern neighborhoods, including South Park, they’ve had increased traffic safety impacts.
Formally starting the repair process is a huge step for District 1. Completing the repair by the scheduled date of mid-2022 is critical not just for West Seattle, but for all the Duwamish communities. I will be in close coordination with SDOT as this work moves toward successful, on-time completion of the repair.
The bridge opened in 1984 and was designed to last 75 years. SDOT expects the repair will ensure the bridge lasts through its original life span, roughly 2060. This is a significant difference to the early estimates that included a bottom end range of 10-15 years, and shows the wisdom of proceeding with a repair, rather than a replacement, which would have resulted in several additional years of closures.
I strongly supported a repair and advocated for it after release of the cost/benefit analysis showed it was viable and was very glad when Mayor Durkan decided to proceed with a repair. Constituents in West Seattle also advocated strongly for it.
Most of the repair work will take place inside of the bridge. Work crews will install an external work platform and be on the bridge deck, like the earlier emergency stabilization work.
Mayor Durkan noted repair work on the bridge will entail 91 tons of steel cable, 46 miles stretched end to end, and two football fields of carbon fiber polymer wrap.
Many thanks to our congressional delegation for attaining federal funding: Senators Cantwell and Murray, and Representative Jayapal. The Port of Seattle has also provided funding.
My Council colleagues never hesitated in providing full support and fast action to ensure needed funding. Councilmember Pedersen has been an excellent partner as Chair of the Transportation and Utilities Committee.
I appreciate the efforts of SDOT in getting us to this point. Director Zimbabwe’s “hands on” approach to leading his team has made a real difference. For their time, expertise, and good advice, I also want to thank the 36 participants of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, led by community members Paulina Lopez and former Mayor Greg Nickels.