Task force discusses future of West Seattle Bridge

The West Seattle bridge task force met today to discuss the future of the damaged West Seattle bridge. It’s been closed since March due to cracks in the structure.

The task force planned to discuss the cost-benefit analysis of 5 repair and replacement options provided by SDOT, but before that took place, a new option was revealed. A bridge engineer with the company HBNT, hired by SDOT, presented a rapid replacement option that would create a network arch bridge reusing existing piers and foundations. The bridge would be 40% lighter and construction would be completed by Spring 2023. This raised concern from member Dan Austin.

“I think the little concern I have is that public-wise this is now sounding like the leading option for replacement. It really sounds that way when we're supposed to make a recommendation to the mayor whether to repair or replace. Makes it really hard to make that decision, that recommendation to the mayor,” said Austin.

A large work platform that was raised up from the water to the High-Rise Bridge. This picture was provided by SDOT. A spokesperson said this is the first step in bridge stabilization work to give the team a moving platform on the underside of the bri

Heather Marx with SDOT agreed saying this is a tough task. Other members praised the new option, calling it intriguing and creative.

The other options include:
- Temporary Repair
- Full Repair
- Partial Replacement
- Full Replacement
- Immersed Tube Tunnel

According to the cost-benefit analysis, the repair options are cheaper and will be completed sooner as early as 2022, but ultimately the bridge would close in the future for an eventual replacement and cost more in the end. The replacement options are more expensive and will take longer to complete, between 2026 and 2030, but wouldn’t need to close in the future for replacement.

A decision won’t come any time soon. The deputy mayor says the mayor has heard loud and clear that the task force needs more time to make a decision. The next meeting is on October 28 and the mayor will be in attendance.