West Seattle Bridge passes strength tests, will reopen Sunday as planned

SEATTLE — Some critical strength tests were conducted on the West Seattle Bridge this week, and the Seattle Department of Transportation confirmed on Thursday that the bridge is safe and ready to reopen as planned on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The exact time the bridge will reopen has not be released to prevent drivers from lining up to be the first to go over the repaired bridge.

Crews conducted load testing to see if the bridge could handle the weight of tens of thousands of vehicles. About 100,000 people are expected to use the bridge daily.

“We didn’t have to cram, we’ve been studying the whole time, and so we are prepared for this,” said SDOT Director of Downtown Mobility Heather Marx.

News Drone 7 captured giant trucks carrying 80,000 pounds each and they all spanned parts of the bridge to determine if it was structurally sound.

“We’ll place them in specific places on the bridge, so that we get those readings with that load,” said Marx.

SDOT workers said the load testing has been done several times in the past. The exams are critical during different weather conditions so workers can see how the bridge reacts.

“During those extreme moments, the bridge has performed exactly as we expected it to perform,” said Marx.

Many owners of mom-and-pop shops in West Seattle hoped the testing on the bridge would go well as many stores have been struggling to make ends meet since the bridge has been closed.

“We’ve had so many (businesses) close. I’m hoping it will revive this area,” one resident told KIRO 7.

“A lot of my friends on the mainland are hesitant to come and visit, just because of the time it’ll take, but hopefully more and more people will come out here and visit the shops,” another person said.

The bridge has been closed for 30 months.