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Weekly Update: West Seattle High Rise Bridge Stabilization

West Seattle Bridge at sunset. Photo Credit: Madison Linkenmeyer

Every Monday, we’re posting a blog to keep you informed about our progress to stabilize the bridge, our efforts to address traffic and mobility, and other items related to the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure. 

In this week’s update: 

High-Rise Bridge stabilization work is continuing. 

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. 

This week, the contractor is planning to: 

  • Continue prepping for the post-tensioning work 
  • Continue prepping for Pier 18 access 
  • Continue inspecting, mapping, and filling cracks 

During daily work, you will see: 

  • Some crews working on top and under the bridge  
  • Scaffolding and crews working on platforms suspended under the bridge 
  • Large equipment and vehicles delivering, moving, and storing materials 

There is additional work taking place inside the bridge that you will not be able to see: 

  • 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.   

Carbon fiber wrap (vertical stripes) can be seen on both girders. Photo credit: Alex Francis
Carbon fiber wrap (vertical stripes) can be seen on both girders. Photo Credit: Alex Francis 

Over the next few weeks, the contractor will: 

  • Continue stabilization work listed above 
  • Work to “release” the restrained bearing at Pier 18 
    • Leading up to the Pier 18 “release”, the contractor will be tensioning the strands inside the girder and prepping for the release.  
    • We anticipate releasing the restrained lateral bearing at Pier 18  before the end of October. 

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. 

In the coming weeks, we will make the final determination as to whether we will 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.   

Crew have been working hard since we closed the bridge in March. Since March, we have: 

The West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Community Task Force held its biweekly virtual meeting Wednesday, September 23.  

All Community Task Force meetings are now streamed live on YouTube and we invite you to watch. Meetings take place every other Wednesday at 12 PM. During the September 23 meeting, we covered: 

Read more and watch the meeting recording in our latest blog post.  

Traffic heads-up! Coming up on Oct. 10-11, there will be traffic impacts at 1st Ave S/Myers Way SW/Olson Pl SW. 

SDOT crews will be repaving this section of Olson Pl SW and 1st Ave S the weekends of Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 10-11.

On the weekends of September 26-27 (this past weekend) 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 on Oct. 10-11 for this work. During both weekends of 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.