SEATTLE - Pending successful completion of remaining construction, the West Seattle Bridge will reopen as soon as the week of Sep. 12, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).
On March 23, 2020, SDOT closed the West Seattle high-rise bridge to all vehicle traffic. The sudden announcement to close the bridge stemmed from regular inspections that indicated accelerated growth of new and existing structural cracks.
According to SDOT, historically, the high bridge was the city's most-used bridge, carrying an average of over 100,000 cars, trucks, and buses every day.
The closure has caused a significant disruption to traffic in West Seattle, Duwamish Valley neighborhoods, and in Seattle as a whole.
Crews finished pouring structural concrete on May 26, and it takes 28 days for it to fully harden and become strong enough to hold the 20 million pounds of force associated with the new post-tensioning system, according to SDOT. Crews are currently in the process of installing ducts and threading steel cables through the concrete blocks, but must wait for the concrete to finish hardening before they can tighten these cables to strengthen the bridge and prevent future cracking.
"We know that all of West Seattle, South Park, and Georgetown have had the bridge reopening top of mind since it closed. I am still holding out hope for a summer re-opening, but I appreciate SDOT’s announcement today; it lets us know that we’re close – just three months away," said city councilmember Lisa Herbold, who represents West Seattle.
"I’m relieved we finally have a safe and certain reopening date, and I know it's disappointing to many that the concrete strike delays could not be overcome. I urge the project managers to consider extra shifts so the bridge re-opens before schools re-open," said councilmember Alex Pedersen, who chairs the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee. "While I look forward to re-opening this vital regional bridge after more than two years of repairs, this must also be a wake-up call to reprioritize and reinvest in all our aging bridges. In a growing city carved by waterways, forged by the harsh experience of the West Seattle Bridge closure, and armed with the audit of our aging bridges that I obtained for SDOT, all leaders should prioritize the proactive fixing of Seattle’s bridges and so we’ll look to the Executive’s budget proposal this Fall, because the people and businesses of Seattle cannot afford another bridge closure."