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SDOT Selects West Seattle High-Rise Bridge stabilization contractor to carry out key repairs

Photo of West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. City of Seattle photo

We’re moving forward with West Seattle High-Rise Bridge stabilization. The City used emergency contracting authority to move with urgency in selecting a construction contractor to carry out Phase 1 stabilization work. 

We’re happy to announce that Kraemer North America has been selected for Phase 1 construction and work is already underway. 

There are three phases of repair for the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge:  

  • Phase 2: Shoring – In Phase 2 we will add temporary external structures called shoring. Shoring is necessary to help support the bridge as we continue to assess repair feasibility, timeline, and costs. 
  • Phase 3: Long term repair – We do not yet know if repair of the bridge is feasible technically or financially. In the meantime, it’s critical that we carry out stabilization and shoring work to protect public safety. 

Earlier this month we sent out a Request for Information (RFI) to determine who we would contract with to begin Phase 1 stabilization work on the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, as quickly as possible.  

Though this emergency situation authorized SDOT to waive all competitive bidding requirements (for the wonks, pursuant to RCW 39.04.280), on April 13th, the City contacted six contractors and requested information on capacity, availability, resumes for key personnel, and approach. Four contractors provided the requested information by April 15th, and our Capital Projects and Roadway Structures divisions evaluated and rated the submittals while also taking into consideration the City’s previous experience with the contractors and other factors. 

This process selected Kraemer to fulfill the needs of the project.   

Kraemer is a 109-year-old, engineering-minded, construction-focused contractor with a foundation in complicated structure work. The team’s construction experience directly relates to the High-Rise Bridge’s repairs. 

Kraemer is an industry leader in segmental bridge repair and construction, as well as in concrete post-tensioning. This expertise will allow the team to carry out key stabilization activities, help in forensic investigation of the bridge, provide the engineering team with construction input to determine the best approach to stabilization, and confirm repair estimates.  

With recent work on WSDOT’s Duwamish River Bridges Project, Kraemer also comes with a detailed understanding of the immediate vicinity, as well as knowledge of US Coast Guard permitting requirements. This is essential because obtaining these permits – or not – could add or subtract months to any stabilization, shoring, repair, or replacement efforts. 

Kraemer’s northwest headquarters are located here in Seattle, with a committed, locally experienced team.

With a current contract to construct the new Northgate Bike and Pedestrian Bridge, which broke ground earlier this year, Kraemer understands the complexities of working in and around the City of Seattle. Finally, Kraemer has also worked closely with WSP, our bridge consultant. This relationship, which allows for a quick team integration and efficient approach to the work, will be essential as we move forward with stabilization work.

Kraemer is excited to help the people of West Seattle and others who rely on this critical infrastructure by delivering stabilization, shoring, and repairs quickly and safely. 

Kraemer will provide the construction for Phase 1 stabilization work.    

  • They will conduct repairs designed to stop further cracking in the bridge’s most vulnerable sections.   
  • They will then replace the lateral bearings on Pier 18 at the east end of the bridge. These bearings, when working correctly, allow the bridge to expand and contract with temperature change.   
  • They will work with SDOT and the engineering consultant team to develop and finalize strengthening solutions for the bridge.   

Kraemer’s first priority is to provide a constructability review of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge stabilization designs. 

A “constructability review” is critical to getting a construction project off the ground quickly and performing work safely. The contractor reviews the designs produced by the engineers to determine how easily it can be built and to provide input. In addition, the project leads at Kraemer are starting to develop plans for construction, health and safety, equipment and material procurement, work timelines and schedules, and permitting. 

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