SDOT believes West Seattle Bridge is repairable

SDOT believes West Seattle Bridge is repairable
The West Seattle Bridge in a 2010 photo by Joe Mabel. (Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons)

SEATTLE — The Seattle Department of Transportation said new analysis shows that fixing the West Seattle Bridge is possible, but it’s unknown how long repairs will last or if repairs to allow the bridge to reopening would be feasible.

Transportation officials said they have been testing the structural stability of the bridge over the last few months.

“The tests completed so far have not found indications of problems with the post-tensioning system, comprising the steel strands running through the structure like a skeleton. Problems with this system would mean repairs would be much less likely to succeed,” officials said.

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“We are continuing to analyze how long repairs would take, how much they would cost, whether or not repairs would allow traffic to return to previous levels, and how long and in what capacity the bridge could remain open after potential repairs were completed so that we can tell whether or not fixing the bridge is a worthwhile investment,” officials said.

The bridge has been closed since March after engineers discovered growing infrastructure cracks.

SDOT said Wednesday a community task force came to a consensus around the feasibility of immediately opening the Spokane Street Bridge, also known as the Low Bridge, overnight to all vehicles. This would be from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., seven days a week, and expanding Low Bridge access to public and private school buses.

Since the closure, buses, freight and emergency vehicles have access to the Low Bridge.

Traffic officials said the City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management will send a test message through the Wireless Emergency Alert system on Friday at noon.

For people with Apple or Android phones who want notifications, below are instructions:

Apple iPhone:

  • To turn it on: Enter *5005*25371# and tap the green phone icon. You’ll get an alert that says “Test alerts enabled.”
  • To turn it off: Enter *5005*25370# and tap the green phone icon. You’ll get an alert that says “Test alerts disabled.”

Androids:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Apps and Notifications” > “Advanced” > “Wireless Emergency Alerts” and then switch “State/local test” option to ON.