Concrete strike’s impact on West Seattle Bridge timeline unclear as SDOT makes final pours

May 24, 2022, 3:50 PM
west seattle bridge...
The West Seattle Bridge (Sounder Bruce via Flickr)
(Sounder Bruce via Flickr)

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) still hopes to open the West Seattle Bridge in “mid-2022,” according to a spokesperson with the transportation agency. A to-be-announced, updated timeline will be delivered on June 9.

“Our construction contractor is planning to finish the final structural concrete pours this week, marking the end of a challenging process that has affected our reopening schedule,” SDOT’s Ethan Bergerson wrote to MyNorthwest.

SDOT contracts with Kraemer North America for the West Seattle Bridge. A Kraemer spokesperson declined to comment on whether the reopening would be pushed beyond that mid-2022 timeframe.

“Some delays have been associated with the concrete strike earlier in the year. Those after-effects continue. And then you’ve got just some normal supply chain issues that have been created in this post-pandemic world.”

Kraemer declined to elaborate on what those supply-chain issues entailed.

Cadman – Lehigh Hanson is the primary concrete supplier for the repair project. A shop steward with the supplier alleges that Kraemer was not ready to receive the specialized concrete required for structural pours after the Teamsters’ strike lines broke March 15, and some deliveries to the West Seattle Bridge resumed April 5.

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“I was the first truck that was out to that job site when we came back from strike … We did expansion joints, which is not part of the structural part of the bridge … The first time they actually did any structural concrete to that bridge was April 16,” the Cadman shop steward told MyNorthwest.

In February, civic leaders, including Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff made a press appearance in which they called on the Teamsters and suppliers to reach an agreement before Feb. 20, otherwise critical infrastructure repair, including the West Seattle Bridge, would run the risk of delays.

“When they said that they needed concrete, and they were ready Feb. 19 [Feb. 20], that was a flat-out lie,” the shop steward noted, referencing the timeline put forth by Mayor Harrell and company.

Kraemer calls that allegation “neither true nor accurate.”

“We pour all the time. So there are elements that were ready when mid-April was around. And some elements are yet to be formed,” the spokesperson for Kraemer added. They noted that, specifically, post-tensioning on the north girder was ready for concrete when Cadman ended their strike.

After this week’s final structural concrete pours, there is a review of post-tensioning work completed to make any real-time adjustments needed.

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Concrete strike’s impact on West Seattle Bridge timeline unclear as SDOT makes final pours