West Seattle Bridge one step closer to opening, officials say

Jul 26, 2022, 8:06 AM | Updated: 8:20 am

Ohoto from Fleets and Facilities Department Imagebank Collection (Record Series 0207-01), Seattle M...

Ohoto from Fleets and Facilities Department Imagebank Collection (Record Series 0207-01), Seattle Municipal Archives.

(Record Series 0207-01)

The re-opening of the West Seattle Bridge took another step forward this week with the completion of a major milestone, post-tensioning the bridge, a key step in reinforcing the bridge to prevent cracking problems which caused the bridge closure in the first place.

“Tensioning, or pulling the steel cables so they’re tight, also pulls on the anchor tightening the bridge from end to end, forcing the bridge to compress,” Marks said. “Bridges post-tensioned will apply additional crack filling and carbon fiber wrapping as a final layer of protection,” Heather Marks with Seattle Department of Transportation told KIRO Newsradio.

West Seattle Bridge opening delayed another two months

She says when the concrete is compressed, it becomes much stronger, allowing it to stand up to extreme weather.

Crews started working on installing the post-tensioning system in April with new concrete foundations poured to support the flexing. In June, crews pushed steel cables through the pipes, which added nearly 250,000 feet of new post-tensioning cables that spanned the bridge.

With only a few more steps to get the bridge ready to open, including finishing, the epoxy fills and carbon wrapping, testing the structural integrity, and cleaning up the construction equipment, people will soon be able to reuse the bridge for the first time in more than two years.

The bridge has been closed since March of 2020 after big cracks were found in the structure.

SDOT says it’s on track to reopen in September.

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West Seattle Bridge one step closer to opening, officials say