Seattle mayor elects to repair, not replace, the West Seattle Bridge

West Seattle Bridge DOT
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the city will repair the West Seattle Bridge rather than replacing it. (Courtesy: Seattle Department of Transportation Blog)

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city will repair, instead of replace, the West Seattle Bridge, a critical link between that community and the city.

The city’s most used bridge has been closed to traffic for eight months, since the city found fast-spreading cracks in the structure.

KING5 News reports the bridge could reopen to traffic as soon as mid-2022, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation. Repairs could add 15 to 40 years to the bridge’s lifespan and would cost about $47 million upfront, with an additional $50 million for traffic mitigation and $10 million for low bridge repair.

Durkan’s decision comes after “months of careful examination of the bridge’s structural integrity, analysis of the costs and benefits of all possible options, and engagement with the communities affected by the bridge closure.”

One of the key reasons to repair the bridge rather than replace it is economic recovery, which relies on mobility.

Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who represents West Seattle, said she heard from her constituents that restoring safe access as quickly as possible is the priority.

However, if the bridge repair doesn’t last as long as officials hope, Durkan said the city will have to replace it. That could take until 2026, and a partial replacement of the superstructure could open in the same time frame. Both options would be projected to last 75 years.

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