West Seattle Bridge expected to remain closed through 2020, 2021

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that they do not anticipate traffic returning to the bridge in 2020 or 2021.

On March 23, the bridge was shut down after engineers discovered new cracks that developed and had grown over the previous two weeks.

Crews have been inspecting the bridge ever since the closure.

“We do not yet know if repair of the bridge is feasible technically or financially. If repair is feasible, it’s likely this would only restore up to an additional decade of life to the bridge,” SDOT said. “In either case, we will need to replace the West Seattle High Rise-Bridge much sooner than promised when it opened in 1984.”

Transportation officials said they are exploring all options.

About 100,000 vehicles traveled on the bridge a day.

“Our crews have been out inspecting the bridge for new and growing cracks every day since March 23. They’ve seen that cracks continue to grow, but at a slower rate than before. This is good news that confirms immediately removing traffic from the bridge was a necessary step,” SDOT said.

Officials said if repairs are feasible, the best-case scenario is that they will provide up to 10 years of additional use. The bridge will have to be replaced much sooner than it’s original lifespan.