Seattle has announced an emergency closure of the high-rise West Seattle Bridge “until further notice,” starting at 7pm tonight. I first caught this on Twitter via @westseattleblog
JUST ANNOUNCED: tonight “the West Seattl high-rise bridge will be closed to all traffic … until we can do further assessment” to determine how the bridge can be safely operated. “Deterioration” detected recently.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 23, 2020
Below, is some of the West Seattle Blog’s as-it-happened coverage of the announcement:
2:55 PM: Just announced via a sudden online media briefing: The West Seattle Bridge has been developing cracks over time, says the mayor, with “further deterioration” detected recently – so “there are concerns that the high-rise bridge cannot safely support vehicular traffic at this time” so they need to assess it further. So tonight “the West Seattle high-rise bridge will be closed to all traffic … until we can do further assessment” to determine how the bridge can be safely operated. The low bridge will remain open to transit and first responders, and freight. “I’m grateful they found this” before something bad happened.
SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe says the bridge will close at about 7 pm “until further notice.” The cracking is in the concrete, he says. They’ve been noticing cracking for several years but it’s now to the point where they feel they have to remove “live-load traffic.” He reiterates that traffic outside of the categories mentioned will not be able to use the low bridge – they’ll have to use other paths out such as the 1st Ave. S. Bridge.