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Following the announcement that we will repair the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, the Community Task Force met with Mayor Durkan to review and discuss next steps

Powerpoint slide with blue photo of West Seattle Bridge as background. Text Reads: West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Meeting #13. November 19, 2020.
Click the image above to watch the recording of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Meeting on November 19.

This week, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that she instructed SDOT to restore travel across the Duwamish by repairing the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. 

A view of the entire West Seattle Bridge at night, looking west.
West Seattle Bridge. Photo Credit: SDOT Flickr.

The Community Task Force remains a group of trusted advisors as we continue essential stabilization work and begin the process of repairing the bridge to restore travel. In this meeting, Task Force members heard specific details about upcoming Phase II stabilization work and anticipated cost and funding sources. We also discussed how we’ll continue to prioritize equity in all work, including through contracting for repair construction and ongoing mitigation of traffic impacts in communities affected by the closure. 

Here are some key takeaways from the meeting. 

We’re completing stabilization work in two phases – Phase I, which is almost complete, and Phase II to construct the full repair – and finding efficiencies within. 

We will hire a contractor to design and construct the repair using a method called General Contract/Construction Manager (GC/CM), which allows the contractor to be brought on board early on in the design and construction phase. This also means that the contractor will be able to help us identify schedule efficiencies and cost savings. Ultimately this path is one that supports the most efficient restoration of travel across the Duwamish. 

We are pursuing equity down all avenues, including through contracting and ongoing work to Reconnect West Seattle

The contract that we execute will ultimately include requirements to hire and work with women- and minority-owned businesses, apprenticeship programs, and those from neighborhoods and regions in which there has been historic under-investment. 

Additionally, though it’s the fastest path forward, repair still comes with a long-term emergency closure of the High-Rise Bridge that is disproportionately impacting communities of color in West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley. Through our Reconnect West Seattle framework, we’re working closely with the community to support mobility, while reducing environmental injustices that impact Duwamish Valley communities. 

Cost and funding remains critical. 

To fund the repair and maintenance, we’ll seek out local, state, and federal partnerships. We’re also thinking ahead, as significant funding will be required in the future when we ultimately replace the bridge.  

We’re still planning ahead for the future. 

We will take some action now to ensure we are prepared to replace the bridge when the time comes. That includes completing the first step of any bridge project, a study of various bridge types, sizes, and locations. We’ll also complete a traffic and revenue study as part of larger efforts to understand and develop a long-term funding and financing strategy for eventual replacement.