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Trying to get out of West Seattle? Time to apply for a pass

An officer directs traffic off the West Seattle Low Bridge in October 2020. (Photo courtesy of SDOT/Flickr)

The Seattle Department of Transportation says you can now apply for access to the Spokane Street Swing Bridge or the low bridge in and out of West Seattle.

Mayor Durkan chooses to repair rather than replace West Seattle Bridge

SDOT says your  application must be received by the 15th of the month for access to begin on the 1st of the following month. So you have until May 15 to gain access on June 1 on SDOT’s website. The two-week wait is so that license plate information can be processed into the photo enforcement system.

Not just anyone can use the bridge along with emergency vehicles, freight, and transit. You must provide your license plate, meet eligibility requirements, and be approved by the Seattle DOT.

Those that may qualify:

• On-call medical workers (only for traveling to and from an on-call work shift; employer verification required)
• West Seattle-based restaurants and retail businesses (limited to urgent trips to pick-up equipment or supplies)
• Rideshare vehicles (vans, shuttles or official carpools with a state-issued rideshare license plate; This does not include Uber and Lyft)
• People traveling to and from lifesaving medical treatments (authorization from your medical provider required) via West Seattle; includes driving to treatments via the Fauntleroy Ferry.

Access to the low bridge is temporary and limited, and can be revoked at any time. Seattle DOT is reminding drivers that access may be significantly restricted in late 2021 when the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 re-opens to make room for increased freight traffic.

Lower Spokane Street Bridge traffic cameras are now active

If you don’t have a pass, you could get slapped with a $75 fine for every trip across the bridge. SDOT says the low bridge is restricted and photo enforced on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The West Seattle high-rise bridge is expected to reopen in 2022.

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