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Weekly Update: West Seattle Bridge

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. Next week’s blog will be minimal due to the upcoming holiday.

In this week’s update:

Mayor Durkan Announces Decision to Repair West Seattle High-Rise Bridge

Last week, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that she has instructed the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to restore travel across the Duwamish by repairing the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. SDOT has nearly completed Phase I of this two-part repair process, as the stabilization work concludes in December. She also directed SDOT to continue early design work for an eventual replacement of the bridge. Read our blog for more details.

West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Stabilization

In the past week, we’ve continued to install carbon fiber wrapping and made progress on replacing the lateral bearings at Pier 18.

Pier 18 Bearing Replacement

Earlier this month, we released the damaged bearings at Pier 18, located on the east side of the Duwamish. Pier 18’s neoprene lateral bearings were compressed and bulging, locking together two critical parts of the bridge that typically are independent of each other. This was creating additional pressure and preventing the bridge from moving as it should. 

This past week, we finished breaking down the concrete that held the damaged bearings in place and removed the concrete from the site. We also finished drilling to set new rebar, which will secure the concrete joints once they are poured to hold the new bearings in place.

Carbon Fiber Wrapping

We recently started on a new (and the last) round of carbon fiber wrapping. We’re on track to complete the wrapping by mid-December. Carbon fiber wrapping helps support the now stable and strengthened bridge. This is the last step in Phase I of stabilization, and once it’s done, we will lower work platforms.

Upcoming work

Good news! We’re on track to complete Phase I of stabilization work by the end of this year. By the end of December, all work platforms will be lowered onto barges and temporary work structures will be removed. We’ll continue monitoring and inspection activities after stabilization work is complete.

After Thanksgiving, we’ll pour concrete to hold Pier 18’s new bearings in place, setting the stage for Phase II of the two-part repair process.

Construction Impacts  

Kraemer North America, our contractor for the stabilization work, is working Monday through Saturday from 6 AM to 4:30 PM to stabilize the bridge. People driving may see lane reductions on Klickitat Ave SW and SW Klickitat Way (on the west and south side of Harbor Island).

Past Work  

Stabilizing the High-Rise Bridge is necessary to preserve public safety and the integrity of the bridge as we continue the full bridge repair work. Check out our blog for information on the progress we’ve made since we closed the bridge in March.

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Updates

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force (CTF) met with Mayor Durkan last week to review the decision to repair, not replace, the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, and to discuss next steps for the CTF. In this meeting, CTF members heard specific details about upcoming Phase II stabilization work and anticipated cost and funding sources. We also discussed how we will 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. For more details, see our blog post.

The next CTF meeting will take place at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2. We will post a link to watch this meeting on Monday, November 30.