We’re seeking federal funding sources to support rapid repair of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge

View of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, looking southeast. The Duwamish Waterway is visible in the foreground. Photo Credit: SDOT Flickr.

We are focused squarely on completing necessary repairs to reopen the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge to the public as quickly as possible, while keeping public safety as our top priority. To support this effort, we are working to secure all necessary funding for the upcoming high bridge rehabilitation project – including federal, state and local funding sources. 

We recently submitted an application to the USDOT’s INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America) Grant program. INFRA grants emphasize projects that generate national or regional economic, mobility, and safety benefits. Per the USDOT, racial equity will also be considered as a selection criterion, to the extent that project sponsors have completed equity-focused community outreach and projects are designed to benefit underserved communities. Based on these and other criteria, we believe the emergency repairs to this critical, nationally significant bridge meet the criteria for the INFRA program. Completing the application is an important milestone in our effort to secure multiple funding sources for the repair project, which is slated to begin construction later this year with a target of reopening the high bridge in mid-2022. 

We want to sincerely thank the more than 50 community groups, businesses, labor unions and environmental advocates who rely on the high bridge for stepping up to provide letters of support.  

By sharing personal stories of how the closure has affected you, and how reopening the repaired bridge will benefit your daily lives and economic prospects, you help illustrate the direct effect and importance of funding and completing the upcoming repair work. We expect to hear back from USDOT regarding our INFRA grant application early this summer and will continue to keep the public informed as we learn more. 

“In a city carved by waterways and ravines, we rely on our bridges to connect our neighborhoods and keep our economy moving, with the West Seattle Bridges supporting a massive volume of all transportation modes. To restore our regional West Seattle Bridge as soon as possible, we need federal dollars and I am heartened by the overwhelming support for our grant application to the Biden Administration, so we can secure the funds we need for our vital infrastructure.” 

Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen, chair of the Transportation Committee

SDOT has a proven history of utilizing federal grants on other projects in the city, such as two TIGER (now called BUILD) grants for the Mercer Corridor Project worth a combined $44 million and, more recently, a FASTLANE (now called INFRA) grant for the recently completed Lander Street Bridge project in SODO. The FASTLANE Grants were created by Senator Cantwell as a part of transportation legislation in 2015.  

But – as the saying goes – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. While the INFRA grant is a promising and potentially major funding source, we are also working with our partners at the federal, state and local levels on other potential funding sources.  

This includes federal grant programs. We’re also working with the Washington State Legislature on potential state funding during the 2021 legislative session, and coordinating with our state agency partner, the Washington State Department of Transportation, on project planning. Lastly, we’re working with our regional and local public partners such as King County, Sound Transit, the Port of Seattle/Northwest Seaport Alliance and the Puget Sound Regional Council to identify other potential local funding sources. 

In short, this is a true team effort. We are leaving no stone unturned to help ensure that we can deliver these vital repairs to the high bridge next year, and reconnect West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley communities that are persevering through numerous challenges. We appreciate your continued patience, resilience and support, and hope this update was a helpful overview of our work to secure full project funding. 

While we wanted to ensure that most stakeholder letters of support were submitted with the grant application, USDOT will still accept letters and messages of community support beyond the March 19th INFRA application due date.  If you’d like to offer your support, please click this link to sign a communitywide letter, or you can send organizational letters of support to WestSeattleBridge@Seattle.gov

We encourage you to stay up to date on the project by visiting our website and signing up for email updates, if you haven’t done so already.