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Resources to get around during the Spokane St Swing Bridge closure

Our crews installing bike detour route signs near the S Spokane St Viaduct. Photo: SDOT.

Update (January 3, 2022)

Our crew of bridge engineers and technical experts have been in the bridge every day since the bridge was damaged during last week’s storm. Click here for a detailed update on the repairs we’ve completed so far.

In addition to engineers and technical experts working to repair the bridge, we also have a team continuing to address the impact the closure has on people who bike, walk and roll. We’ve published a new blog post here with additional details about enhancements to the detour route.


This blog shares a number of resources to help you get along while the low bridge is under repair. Should the closure extend much beyond two weeks, we’ll consider other options for enhancing travel without a car.

Riding the bus

The bus provides a reliable option to get to many destinations on both sides of the Duwamish Waterway. Buses travel via the high bridge and can be used by people walking, riding conventional bikes, and in wheelchairs. Buses are the fastest way to get across the Duwamish Waterway without driving.

We encourage you to visit King County Metro’s trip planner page to find the latest bus route and schedule information for your trip.

A King County Metro bus route 120 at a bus stop in Seattle. Large trees and other vehicles are also in the photo, along with the bus stop sign.
King County Metro bus route 120. Photo: SDOT.

Riding the Water Taxi

King County operates the West Seattle Water Taxi, which provides direct service from West Seattle to downtown Seattle, with full service 7 days per week through the winter, except for select holidays. Their large vessels can store up to 26 bikes at a time.

The West Seattle Water Taxi on Elliott Bay. The Space Needle and other large buildings are in the background, as well as blue water and blue skies.
King County Water Taxi on Elliott Bay. Photo courtesy of King County Metro.

Biking the detour route via the 1st Ave S Bridge

We have established a detour route for people biking via the 1st Ave S Bridge. We have been working this week to clear recent windstorm debris from the route, install detour route signs, and review the asphalt condition to see if spot improvements can be made to support riders.

Please continue to be aware of your surroundings and vehicles traveling in the area, including driveways and cross-streets along the route.

This is a long detour and creating redundancies in our bike network is important. We are in the process of launching the E Marginal Way Corridor Improvement Project which will upgrade the current bike lanes for more separation from people driving. We are also in the process of planning a new connection from Georgetown to Downtown, among other things. When complete, not only will there be more connections, but when the right-of-way is closed for upgrades or repairs, it will make biking around closures easier.

Detour route map:

The bike detour route during the Spokane St Swing Bridge closure. The route travels on the west side of the Duwamish Waterway and crosses over the 1st Ave S Bridge, then continues on the east side of the waterway.
Map of the bike detour route. Graphic: SDOT.

Driving or carpooling on the West Seattle Bridge (high bridge)

The high bridge remains open to drivers and offers a direct connection for many travelers to reach their destinations. There are currently no restrictions on vehicle access. This bridge is not accessible to pedestrians or people biking. Signs are posted in various locations stating this.  

Photo of the West Seattle Bridge with downtown Seattle skyscrapers in the background. The Duwamish Waterway is in the foreground.
The West Seattle Bridge, with downtown Seattle in the background. Photo credit: Chun Kwan

Freight and business access to Harbor Island and Terminal 5

Truck drivers, Port workers, and other people who need to access Harbor Island and Terminal 5 are still able to do so, though need to be aware of the route before making their trip. Access to Harbor Island remains available from the east via SW Spokane St, before reaching the Spokane St Swing Bridge, as shown in the map below.

Map graphic showing the bridge closure. The closed low bridge is shown in orange. Public access to Harbor Island is shown in dashed blue. The open high bridge is shown in green.
Map of the Spokane St Swing Bridge closure. Graphic: SDOT.

Access to Terminal 5 remains via the West Seattle Bridge (high bridge) heading westbound, taking the SW Spokane St exit, turning onto Chelan Ave SW, and continuing left into T5, as shown in the map below.

Map detailing freight detour routes to access Terminal 5. The route is shown in orange, for truck drivers arriving from I-5 or SR 99.
Map of the route to Terminal 5, via the West Seattle Bridge (high bridge). Graphic: SDOT.

Reconnect West Seattle program improvements

During the West Seattle Bridge closure, we completed more than 300 traffic mitigation projects to reduce the effects of detour traffic in South Park, Georgetown, Highland Park, and throughout West Seattle. A number enhanced biking and walking.

Community feedback guided the creation of the Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan of investments for neighborhood mitigation projects, bike projects, freight projects, and projects/services to support mobility. You can check out a map of the many completed projects on our website. Thank you to everyone who participated in realizing this major investment in safety and mobility.

Thank you again for your patience as we work to repair and reopen the Spokane St Swing Bridge as quickly as possible.

Please stay tuned for additional updates as they become available, via @SDOTTraffic on Twitterthe SDOT Blog, or sign up for email updates. Thank you.