City Council may vote on cameras to catch drivers on West Seattle low bridge

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council will discuss and may vote on a key measure that West Seattle residents need to know about.

It has to do with the West Seattle low bridge that now serves as one of only a few key entry points in and out of the area since the high West Seattle Bridge was closed due to cracks.

The council is considering installing cameras to catch drivers who are not supposed to be using the bridge.

The council has a bill before them on Tuesday to authorize enforcement cameras on the low bridge. The Seattle Department of Transportation floated the idea in June.

The general authorization passed in the last legislative session, but city laws need to be changed to enact a pilot program to use automated cameras.

The city has kept the low bridge open for only transit, freight and emergency vehicles, but some drivers have been illegally using it since the high bridge closed.

It’s the same route that hundreds of thousands of people drove every day until the bridge was closed in late March.

If the cameras are put up, the city projects they could bring in millions in revenue from fines next year.

But there are stipulations where the money can go. It won’t go to SDOT but to a state transportation fund instead.

If the cameras are authorized, fines cannot be issued immediately. Under state law, only warning notices can be issued this year. Fines up to $75 dollars will only be allowed in 2021.

It will cost about $29,000 to set up the cameras and $4,000 a month to operate.

Citations would have to be reviewed by an Seattle police officer.