West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Repair

Updated November 20, 2020

What's Happening Now?

  • On November 19, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that she has instructed SDOT to restore travel across the Duwamish by repairing the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. Learn more about the decision on our blog.
  • SDOT has nearly completed Phase I of this two-part repair process, as the stabilization work concludes in December.
  • SDOT and consultant WSP will continue stabilization efforts and design the final phase of the repair work in the coming months, with an eye toward reopening the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge in 2022.
  • We will continue to approach repair work methodically and carefully with ongoing monitoring and inspection. By the end of 2020, we expect to have a timeline for repair activities that provides more certainty on reopening and the funding needed for this pathway.

Project Overview 

On March 23, 2020, we closed West Seattle High-Rise Bridge to all vehicle traffic. The rapid announcement to close the bridge stemmed from regular inspections that indicated accelerated growth of new and existing structural cracks. Since the closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, we've worked to simultaneously advance all efforts to efficiently pursue both a repair or replace scenario, while mitigating traffic and environmental impacts on the ground. 

In November 2020, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that she has instructed the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to restore travel across the Duwamish by repairing the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. SDOT has nearly completed Phase I of this two-part repair process, as the stabilization work concludes in December. She also directed SDOT to continue early design work for an eventual replacement of the bridge.

Why repair, not replace

Urgency, speed, community voices, and the challenges of securing the full funding needed in record time led the Mayor to this critical repair decision. We are making decisions and investments today for a better, stronger, and more resilient tomorrow. Selecting the repair pathway now gives us the mobility our recovery demands the soonest, while we also make progress for the future replacement of the High-Rise Bridge by pursuing a Type, Size & Location study. 

Not a moment lost

The Mayor and SDOT's number one goal is to preserve public safety and protect lives. That is why we made the decision to immediately close the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge when cracking rapidly accelerated in March, and why we immediately began to implement the critical stabilization work that has been happening on, under, and inside the bridge, 6 to 7 days a week.

Through these ongoing stabilization repairs, the Mayor not only prevented significant potential harm to the public, but also preserved the integrity of the bridge so that a repair pathway remained viable and proactively moved us months down this pathway. We are now within weeks of completing the first phase of this critical repair work. 

What comes next for repair

To build on these stabilization efforts, SDOT has directed WSP to complete the design for the full bridge repair, work that could not be done until WSP could draw from - and have Part II of the repair work informed by - the nearly-complete stabilization work. The ability to complete this work is also contingent upon observing a winter thermal cycle to see how the newly-installed stabilization measures respond to the cold weather, particularly sub-freezing temperatures.  

Project Schedule 

  • SDOT has nearly completed Phase I of this two-part repair process, as the stabilization work concludes in December.
  • The second portion of the repair work is currently being designed by consultant WSP, with implementation beginning in spring 2021.
  • SDOT and consultant WSP will continue stabilization efforts and design the final phase of the repair work in the coming months, with an eye toward reopening the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge in 2022.