Repairs continue on West Seattle Low Bridge after ice storm

Jan 4, 2023, 1:09 PM | Updated: 1:51 pm

Photo from KIRO 7

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has made significant progress on its repairs to the West Seattle Low Bridge and is working to find a traffic solution to the bridge’s closure.

The West Seattle Low Bridge, also known as the Spokane Street Swing Bridge, suffered mechanical damage during the ice storms on Christmas week and will be closed for at least one more week, with the planned reopening scheduled for Jan. 10 at the earliest.

West Seattle Low Bridge to remain closed for two weeks for repairs

According to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), technicians have repaired 500 feet of damaged power conduit and are preparing to remove a damaged 15,000-pound hydraulic turning cylinder. Electricians are also repairing flooded tubes underground.

“There is still a lot to do as we prepare for the mammoth task of removing a significantly damaged 15,000-pound hydraulic turning cylinder, one of the two cylinders responsible for turning the 14 million-pound eastern side of the moveable bridge,” SDOT said in their update on the repairs. “As our engineers and technical experts continue to make progress repairing the bridge, we also have a mobility team addressing the closure’s impact on freight movement and people who bike, walk and roll.”

While engineers continue to work to repair the damaged bridge, SDOT will have a team addressing the closure’s impact on cyclists, pedestrians, and freight providers.

A temporary bike detour route was established on West Marginal Way SW and 1st Ave S using cones, barrels, paint, and signs. The temporary bike lanes will remain until the Spokane St Swing Bridge reopens.

“We recognize this has been a challenging time for travelers, especially coming shortly after the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure,” said an SDOT press release. “We are committed to continually enhancing safety and realize that these adjustments are a necessary part of the response to this bridge closure.”

The SDOT shared the following detour routes for residents:

  • People traveling by car may use the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.
  • Freight and people operating trucks headed to Terminal 5 in West Seattle may use the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge or West Marginal Way SW.
  • People riding King County Metro buses are not affected because transit does not use the bridge during normal operations. SDOT is coordinating with Metro to plan for potential snow storms, as the Low Bridge is a part of the transit snow network.
  • People biking may also use the 1st Ave S Bridge.
  • The bridge is a 30-year-old bridge, and SDOT was in the process of a comprehensive overhaul of the bridge.

SDOT is also working with King County Metro to allow temporary free rides on buses and the West Seattle Water Taxi during the remainder of the closure.

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