After a months-long decision period on whether the City should repair or rebuild the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced she would restore travel across the Duwamish by repairing the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.
Durkan directed the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to continue early design work for an eventual replacement of the bridge. However, in the meantime has decided to repair the bridge so that citizens won’t have to wait three years to cross into West Seattle.
“This corridor is simply too important to our economy and our residents to face potentially more than 3 years of uncertainty,” Durkan said in a press conference. “Repair will simply get West Seattle reconnected the fastest.”
She anticipates that the bridge will be able to take on traffic by mid-2022.
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In July, Durkan declared the high-rise bridge a city emergency in the hopes of gaining state and federal assistance.
It was determined that the bridge faced multiple structural issues, the main issue being that it has compressed and bulging bearings on Pier 18. These bearings created additional pressure on the bridge, causing cracks. Since the discovery, SDOT has been working to repair the under and inside of the bridge, six to seven days a week and has fixed the structural issues on Pier 18.
The next part of the repair work will include more post-tensioning work on other bridge spans, reviewing Pier 18’s seismic foundation condition, and completing a study that models how likely it is for other parts of the bridge to need repair or replacement.
SDOT is planning on having a timeline for the complete repair by the end of 2020 and is looking to have a functioning bridge by mid-2022.