West Seattle Bridge back open; 100,000 commuters expect to use it daily

Sep 16, 2022, 6:44 PM | Updated: Sep 18, 2022, 5:57 pm

west seattle bridge...

West Seattle's forced exile ended eight months ago when the high bridge opened after emergency repairs. Has traffic returned to normal, and how is the bridge holding up? (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Senator Maria Cantwell, Pramilia Jayapal, and others delivered remarks to the crowd at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island to celebrate the re-opening of the West Seattle Bridge.

“West Seattle is ready to reopen!” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “On top of so many challenges over the past two and a half years, neighbors have demonstrated resilience and a commitment to their community – weathering difficulties posed by the bridge’s closure including tougher commutes, longer traffic lines, and the struggle of feeling disconnected from the rest of Seattle.”

Will ‘normal’ congestion return with reopening of the West Seattle Bridge?

The bridge was closed March 23, 2020 after structural cracks were found, with crews spending the last 2.5 years fixing it. The repairs cost an estimated $175 million.

One of the most critical repairs was completing a new steel post-tensioning system inside the bridge, where crews added about 10 miles of new steel cables during the first phase of emergency repairs and nearly 50 more miles of steel cables during the final phase. Each of the cables is anchored and supported by concrete blocks woven into the bridge and are capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force.

Before it closed, approximately 100,000 people drove the bridge daily.

“I live down at Southwest, so I’ve gotten all of the backup from additional traffic in my area, so it’ll be a lot nicer for us,” one resident at the event said to KIRO Newsradio.

Some critical strength tests were conducted on the West Seattle Bridge earlier this week, and the Seattle Department of Transportation confirmed on Thursday that the bridge is safe and ready to reopen as planned.

The exact time the bridge will reopen has not been released to prevent drivers from lining up to be the first to go over the repaired bridge.

“Sunday is going to be a day that hundreds of Puget Sound residents have been waiting for and I’m so glad we’re going to be giving it to them,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

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West Seattle Bridge back open; 100,000 commuters expect to use it daily