We really don’t want you to get a ticket! Please don’t go low to help keep the Spokane St Swing Bridge clear for emergency vehicles, freight, & transit.

Please help us keep the Spokane St Swing Bridge (low bridge) clear for emergency vehicles, transit, and heavy freight. If you are not pre-authorized with license plate access to use the low bridge, you will receive a $75 citation every time you cross. Photo Credit: Tim Durkan.

Summary  

  • We’re all in this together, and we know it’s inconvenient to not be able to use the low bridge right now. At the same time, we don’t want you to get a ticket! Please be aware that if you are not authorized to use the low bridge, you will receive a $75 citation every time you cross. 
  • We understand that emergencies or mistakes happen, and we really don’t want these to cost you $75 . We are still seeing unauthorized users crossing the low bridge every day since automated photo enforcement started a month ago. 
  • There are other options! As a reminder, the detour routes are the 1st Ave S Bridge and South Park Bridge for people driving. People biking, walking, riding transit, and using a scooter can continue to use the low bridge. 
  • Please visit our West Seattle and Duwamish Valley Travel Options webpage to learn more about walking, rolling, biking, scootering, taking transit, and more around the peninsula. 

It’s been a month since we started photo enforcement on the bridge. We’ve seen progress, but are still having to send citations in the mail. 

We’re all in this together, and we know it’s inconvenient to not be able to use the low bridge. At the same time, we don’t want you to get a ticket! Please be aware that if you are not authorized to use the low bridge, you will receive a $75 citation every time you cross. 

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Unauthorized vehicles crossing the low bridge can create delays and backups for those who need access for emergency medical purposes, critical freight needs for West Seattle businesses and Port of Seattle facilities, and reliable public transportation.  

If you are not pre-authorized with license plate access to use the low bridge, you will receive a $75 citation every time you cross. Please know that we don’t want you or anyone else to get a ticket! We feel your pain, we know it’s inconvenient, but we all have to do our part to keep traffic moving across the low bridge while the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge is being repaired. 

Here’s how enforcement works: 

Cameras on the low bridge take pictures of each vehicle’s rear license plate between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily. To protect privacy, the cameras will only record vehicle license plates and not the people inside the car. The photos are only intended to be used for enforcing the restrictions on the low bridge and are not for other law enforcement action. 

If the license plate is not in our system and the vehicle is not a public transit, freight, or emergency vehicle, then a $75 citation is sent to the vehicle owner via mail.  

Public transit, emergency, and freight vehicles are automatically approved to use the low bridge and will not receive a ticket. (Freight vehicles are defined as vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or higher.) 

All other pre-authorized use requires SDOT to collect a license plate number. The bridge is currently limited to select maritime/industrial vehicles for businesses nearest to Harbor Island, government vehicles, International Longshore and Warehouse Union vehicles, and West Seattle business vehicles. If you believe you are eligible for license-plate based access based on the description above, please email us westseattlebridge@seattle.gov or call 206-400-7511. 

We understand that emergencies or mistakes happen, and we really don’t want these to cost you a $75 citation.  

We’re listening closely to feedback from the community about this issue. Some have told us they didn’t see the signs or didn’t know they weren’t allowed.  

If you received a $75 citation , there are instructions on the back about how to contest it (details are also available on this Seattle Police Department webpage). 

At the same time, we will continue collaborating with the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force to inform the dynamic low bridge access policy and recommend a balanced approach for low bridge access. A subcommittee of the task force currently consists of members who provide perspectives across these subgroups: West Seattle businesses, the maritime and industrial industry located close to the low bridge, and healthcare workers/patients. The subcommittee helps us discuss ways to expand and restrict the authorized user pool outside of freight, public transit, and emergency use.  

There are other options! As a reminder, the detour routes are the 1st Ave S Bridge and South Park Bridge for people driving. People biking, walking, riding transit, and using an electric foot scooter can continue to use the low bridge.  

Visit our West Seattle and Duwamish Valley Travel Options webpage to learn more about different ways you can get in and out of West Seattle while avoiding a $75 citation.  

We are also working with nearby communities through Reconnect West Seattle to reduce the impact of increased detour traffic; prioritize transit connections to and from West Seattle; build new bicycle projects; and establish and improve detour routes. 

Learn more: