Weekly Update: West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Stabilization

West Seattle Bridge at sunset. Photo Credit: Madison Linkenmeyer

In this week’s update: 

High-Rise Bridge Stabilization 

Crews delivering post-tensioning materials.

Kraemer North America, our contractor for the stabilization work, is working every week, Monday through Saturday from 6 AM to 4:30 PM to stabilize the bridge. The stabilization work is expected to continue for the next several months. The work includes carbon fiber wrapping weakened areas of the bridge, adding post-tensioning inside the girders, and injecting epoxy into cracks that are wider than 0.3mm. The epoxy injections don’t stabilize the bridge; they help prevent further deterioration by protecting the post-tensioning steel inside from corrosion. 

Last week, for safety, the contractor paused work due to unhealthy air quality. 

This week, the contractor is planning to: 

  • Complete phase one of carbon fiber wrapping 
  • Continue installing the post tensioning system and receiving materials related to the post-tensioning work (see photo above) 
  • Begin Pier 18 access work 
  • Continue to inspect and fill cracks 

During this work, you will see: 

  • Crews working on top of and under the bridge  
  • Scaffolding and crews working on platforms suspended under the bridge

There’s additional work taking place inside the bridge that you will not be able to see, including:  

  • Monitoring cracks 
  • Preparing for the installation of the additional post-tensioning strands

We do not anticipate any additional traffic impacts from this work over the next few weeks.   

Over the next few months, the contractor will: 

  • Continue stabilization work listed above.
  • Work to “release” the restrained bearing at Pier 18. The restraint release work will begin as soon as the weekend of October 3-4. 
  • Work to install access to Pier 18 will begin as soon as next weekend.  

While the majority of the traveling public will see little to no traffic impacts during Pier 18 work, there may be lane reductions on Klickitat Ave SW and SW Klickitat Way on the west and south sides of Harbor Island. Our teams are coordinating closely with the Port of Seattle to mitigate traffic impacts. 

This fall, we’ll make the final determination as to whether we’ll move forward with repairing the current bridge or replacing it with a new structure. With our replacement consultant HNTB on board, we are ready to pivot to designing the demolition and replacement structure, should it be determined that it’s in the public’s best interest to replace rather than repair.  

Crews have been working hard since SDOT closed the bridge. They’ve: 

New Speed Radar Signs on Sylvan Way SW

Last week, we installed four speed radar signs on Sylvan Way SW!

By displaying the speed of oncoming vehicles, speed radar signs provide direct feedback to drivers and remind them to slow down.  We’ve found that these signs are an effective tool in reducing speeds. Recently, we reported that lowering speed limits and increasing speed limit sign density alone – absent any marketing campaigns, additional enforcement, retimed signal progressions, or engineering changes to the street geometry – resulted in lower speeds and fewer crashes. According to a report by the City of Bellevue, overall reduction in speed following speed radar sign installation is between 1-6 MPH. 

Our Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan is complete!

This graphic shows where we are in the Reconnect West Seattle process and what to expect in the coming weeks and months. 

We received nearly 17,000 responses to the Reconnect West Seattle survey that guided us in prioritizing immediate and long-term community needs and projects to best mitigate the impacts of the High-Bridge closure and corresponding detour routes. 

Community feedback guided the creation of our Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan, which was shared at the eighth West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting on September 9. Read more about that plan in last week’s blog!

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 23 

The West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Community Task Force is holding its next virtual meeting Wednesday, September 23, at 12 PM. Meetings are every other Wednesday at 12 PM, and all are now streamed live on YouTube. We invite you to watch!

Link to watch the meeting live on September 23 at 12 PM. 

This week’s meeting will include:

  • Update on the High-Rise Bridge stabilization progress
  • Overview of upcoming changes on West Marginal Way
  • Update on the cost-benefit analysis for the repair-or-replace decision for the High-Rise Bridge.
  • Two smaller breakout groups for Task Force members to discuss the cost-benefit analysis:

Traffic heads-up! On Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 10-11, there will be traffic impacts at 1st Ave S/Myers Way SW/Olson Pl SW  

On the weekends of September 26-27 and October 10-11 (weather-permitting), our crews will be repaving a section of Olson Pl SW and 1st Ave S at the intersection with Myers Way S.

Olson Pl SW will be repaved at the intersection, and the southbound lane of 1st Ave S will be repaved just north of the intersection. 

Expect traffic impacts the weekends of Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 10-11 for this work. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction during paving. Work will start in the early morning hours to open the travel lanes back up in the early afternoon both days. A noise variance will be issued to complete the paving. 

1st Ave S has become a heavily trafficked corridor as part of the detour route for the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure. While there is additional pavement along 1st Ave S in need of repair, our crews are prioritizing this stretch of the roadway that is in particularly bad shape to make sure we’re off the detour route in the early afternoon. We will continue to monitor the pavement along the detour route to determine where repaving and repair is needed. 

Visit our West Seattle High-Rise Bridge website to stay up-to-date on the bridge, see frequently asked questions, view inspection reports, and find links to our West Seattle Bridge blogs.