Construction

Decision pending on whether to replace West Seattle Bridge

West Seattle Bridge Under Construction. | SDOT Photos (Flickr) West Seattle Bridge Under Construction. | SDOT Photos (Flickr)

The closure of the bridge has made the pandemic especially painful for businesses all over peninsula. Many in West Seattle have been hopeful for a bridge repair that would reopen the structure much sooner than the replacement options.

SEATTLE, Washington. October 9, 2020 (AP) — No high rise bridge to West Seattle for six years – that could be reality if Mayor Jenny Durkan decides to replace the cracking structure that’s been closed since March with a new bridge. KOMO-TV reports the Seattle Department of Transportation has not yet revealed what their recommendation will be – repair or replacement of the bridge. Durkan is expected to make a decision Oct. 21.

The closure of the bridge has made the pandemic especially painful for businesses all over peninsula. Many in West Seattle have been hopeful for a bridge repair that would reopen the structure much sooner than the replacement options. But on Wednesday the West Seattle Bridge Task Forced learned SDOT has identified more risks with a repair.

“There are significant concerns about the ability of the repairs to last 40, 15 or even 5 years,” said Heather Marx who is the director of downtown mobility for the Seattle Department of Transportation. “This means there would be another unplanned closure.” Some task force members say they thought SDOT would share the cost of the repair and replacement options from their cost-benefit analysis.

But information shared with the group Wednesday only included dollars signs. “Instead they told us the cost of the repair and replacement was likely, at the end of the day, going to be very similar,” said Jennifer Temple who represents the West Seattle Bridge Now Coalition on the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force. “But what they haven’t factored in is what the cost to the community is going to be for a shutdown for another five to six years if they go with the replacement option.”

Could West Seattle businesses be successful without a high rise bridge for the next 6 years? “The businesses that are going to survive here are the ones that realize they are going to have to pivot into a micro marketing mindset,” said Lora Radford who is the executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association. That’s means focusing on doing business with 80,000 people that live on the peninsula. “My hope is small businesses will continue to open their door every single day,” said Radford.