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West Seattle Bridge enters final stage of repair

A photo of an empty West Seattle Bridge

The West Seattle Bridge as it waits for the final stage to begin. | Photo via @increiblesaventuras

After 22 months of construction and “accidental island” jokes, the West Seattle Bridge is entering the final phase of its repair work. 🎉

If you need a recap, the West Seattle Bridge closed in March 2020 after crews noticed rapidly growing cracks in the bridge’s structure. Since then, traffic times between West Seattle and the rest of the city have been painfully high.

Pre-pandemic we were seeing about 100,000 trips [across the bridge] a day between cars and people on transit,” said Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe during a press conference. “We recognize that this has a really big impact, and that’s why we’re pushing so hard [to finish].

So, let’s answer some of those burning questions you probably have now.

🚧 When will the bridge open?
The earliest we may see the bridge reopen is July 14, 2022, two weeks after the projected repair completion date of June 30, 2022.

🚧 What’s involved in the last stage?
Crews will continue sealing cracks with epoxy, installing steel cables, and wrapping the bridge with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (like a cast on a broken arm).

🚧 How long will the repaired bridge last?
The West Seattle Bridge had a life expectancy of 70 years when it was first built. Since it’s undergoing repairs instead of a reconstruction, we should get another 40 years of use out of it.

🚧 Any chance of opening a lane on the bridge while crews finish work?
Unfortunately, allowing traffic to cross the bridge before all repairs are completed could cause further damage (and none of us want the reopening date pushed back any further).

Check out travel cameras before you go so you can chart your course, or just let someone else stress for you, and try public transit. And remember, keep an eye on changing detours.

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