Police patrol Lower West Seattle Bridge after license plate tampering

SEATTLE — The Seattle Department of Transportation is asking the Seattle Police Department to do emphasis patrols on the lower West Seattle Bridge after more drivers started covering up their license plates. The tactic is an attempt to avoid paying the $75 fine for using the lower bridge without a permit.

Drivers who are caught covering up their license plates will get a $231 ticket instead.

Officers patrolled the bridge over three days, a couple of hours each day, and caught 47 violators who had covered their license plates.

Heather Marx, SDOT director of downtown mobility, expressed her frustration at the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting. “This is wrong, and if you know people who are doing this, tell them to stop it,” said Marx on Thursday. “This is an outrageous and unacceptable number of people violating the law of the land so they can use the lower bridge for a little more convenience.”

She said about 10 percent of the drivers who use the lower bridge are in violation of the law.

SDOT has given permits to people who are approved to use the bridge — longshoremen, people who work in maritime, health care patients and providers, and carpools with state-issued ride share license plates.

SPD plans to continue the emphasis patrols.