SEATTLE — Seattle transportation officials have shifted the reopening date for the West Seattle Bridge, which will now open in September, rather than summer, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation. The high bridge closed to traffic in March 2020 after routine inspections found cracks growing rapidly along the structure.
“We expect the West Seattle Bridge to be open to traffic during the week of September 12,” said Heather Marx, SDOT’s program manager. “Sharing that today is a relief since our focus has always been on safely getting everyone back on the bridge ASAP. It’s been hard having to wait for this update, but we did need to get through the concrete work to understand exactly where we were schedule-wise.”
The city estimates the bridge carried more than 100,000 vehicles per day before its closure, making it Seattle’s busiest, and the more than two-year closure has complicated trips to and from West Seattle and around South Park and Georgetown. In a news release Thursday, SDOT said a prolonged labor dispute prevented concrete pours that were scheduled to begin at the start of the year, postponing key work until April.
“Specialized structural concrete is an essential part of the plan to strengthen the bridge,” SDOT wrote. “Crews finished pouring structural concrete on May 26, 2022, and it takes 28 days for the concrete to fully harden and become strong enough to hold the 20 million pounds of force associated with the new post-tensioning system. Crews are currently in the process of installing ducts and threading steel cables through the concrete blocks, but must wait for the concrete to finish hardening before they can tighten these cables to strengthen the bridge and prevent future cracking.”
With the final structural pours complete, SDOT said it has worked with contractors to sequence out the remaining work, which includes epoxy injections, carbon-fiber wrapping and post-tensioning with steel cables.
“Remaining repairs for completion of the project require challenging and complete work,” SDOT wrote Thursday. “We released a tentative schedule today in the interest of transparency, and stressed that a project of this scale may still encounter additional unforeseen challenges outside of the City’s control.”
Source: Bellevue Patch