SDOT prepares to reopen the West Seattle Bridge

SEATTLE — If the plans hold true, the West Seattle Bridge will reopen to drivers this upcoming Sunday, Sept. 18.

“This has been a long process — a long process for the people of West Seattle, as well as the Duwamish Valley. A long process for SDOT,” said Heather Marx, director of Downtown Mobility for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

In Seattle’s storied history, March 23, 2020, was the beginning of traffic trauma for hundreds of thousands of drivers.

The problems started during a routine inspection when crews discovered large-scale cracks in the West Seattle Bridge’s surface.

What followed was several months of work to keep the bridge from collapsing, then two years of repair work to fix all the cracks that had formed.

“The design process of taking an old bridge and retrofitting it to current day standards, so that we can rely on its safety and stability, has been a big challenge for us,” Marx noted.

Thirty months later, SDOT said reopening is likely days away.

While the bridge looks the same, SDOT insisted it’s far from the structure drivers had used since the 1980s.

Going forward, they told KIRO 7 that the biggest difference will be on the inside of the bridge, where inspection platforms will make it easier to scope out any problems in the future.

“The platforms are going to allow our inspectors to look eye-to-eye with the wall, to make sure everything is going to how we expect,” said Marx.

In West Seattle, talk of the bridge’s imminent reopening was a cause for celebration.

“It’ll probably cut an hour of commute out of my day,” said one resident.

SDOT said 100,000 people take the West Seattle Bridge every single day.