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Reconstruction of West Seattle Bridge Enters Next Phase

Tue December 14, 2021 - West Edition #26
Seattle DOT


SDOT and Kraemer North America agreed on a construction schedule that will complete repairs by mid-2022, pending any unforeseen issues.
SDOT and Kraemer North America agreed on a construction schedule that will complete repairs by mid-2022, pending any unforeseen issues.
SDOT and Kraemer North America agreed on a construction schedule that will complete repairs by mid-2022, pending any unforeseen issues. The final phase of repairs includes injecting epoxy into the cracks to seal them and prevent corrosion; wrapping parts of the structure with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer for durability to strengthen the bridge; and installing more tight steel cables through the entire bridge. Initial work includes hydroblasting to open access points for work platforms that will hang from the bridge and give workers access to the underside.

Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the SDOT team celebrated the final phase of West Seattle Bridge repairs beginning and SDOT being on schedule to reopen the bridge at full strength next year.

"Since March 2020, our city has faced unprecedented challenges, including the closure of the West Seattle Bridge," said Mayor Durkan. "After the important work to stabilize the bridge then design the specialized repairs, SDOT is starting the final repair phase of the West Seattle Bridge. Because of the work at SDOT, the end is in sight to reopen the bridge in the coming months. This is an important milestone for our residents, commuters, and businesses as we urgently work to reconnect West Seattle to the greater region."

Construction crews have been diligently working to repair the West Seattle Bridge since it was closed in March 2020. Construction crews from Kraemer North America completed the first phase of stabilization repairs in 2020 and since then have completed the design to repair the bridge and selected the specialized contractor to complete the work. Now, construction crews are returning to the West Seattle Bridge to begin the final phase of the high-priority work to repair the bridge and prepare it for reopening next year. The project also will add epoxy and carbon fiber wrap to the Spokane Street Swing Bridge to fill any existing cracks and strengthen that bridge further.

The final phase of repairs includes:

  • Injecting epoxy into the cracks to seal them and prevent corrosion;
  • Wrapping parts of the structure with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer for durability to strengthen the bridge, similar to putting a cast on a broken bone;
  • Installing more tight steel cables called post-tensioning strands through the entire bridge. These strands reinforce the concrete, much like the bridge's skeleton.

SDOT and Kraemer North America agreed on a construction schedule that will complete repairs by mid-2022, pending any unforeseen issues due to extreme weather events, supply chain problems, worker shortages or other unexpected conditions.

Following Kraemer completing the repairs, SDOT will test the bridge for strength and resiliency before reopening it to traffic. SDOT will share a more specific reopening date — and community activities to celebrate it — as work advances.

Current costs for repairs remain consistent with previous estimates. The newly signed construction contract with Kraemer estimates that contractor costs for the final phase of repairs will be approximately $45 million. This phase is one part of the larger West Seattle Bridge Program, including all the work related to the West Seattle Bridge closure. It consists of both phases of repairs to high bridge, rehabilitation work on the low bridge and many other traffic and safety improvements built throughout West Seattle, Delridge, High Point, South Park and Georgetown to address detour traffic and provide mobility options.

Initial work includes hydroblasting to open access points for work platforms that will hang from the bridge and give workers access to the underside. Throughout December, crews will hoist the platforms into place and drill out concrete cores to add steel tendons to post-tension the bridge for extra strength.

"The emergency stabilization of the West Seattle Bridge that's already occurred gives these full repairs a head start and we all look forward to their completion next summer to restore this vital transportation link for tens of thousands of Seattle residents," said Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen, chair of the council's transportation committee. "I'll continue to be a champion for investing in our infrastructure and strengthening Seattle's bridges and I am pleased the final phase of these repairs are underway so everyone can use the West Seattle Bridge again as soon as possible."

"We're nearing the finish line for our West Seattle and Duwamish Valley communities," said Community Task Force Co-chair Paulina López. "A priority of the Community Task Force has been to minimize the burden of the bridge closure on our most impacted communities. We appreciate that SDOT conducted inclusive processes in three neighborhoods to identify pedestrian improvements and traffic calming options to mitigate the impact of the closure. We are also appreciative that, through the priority hire program, some of the economic benefits of this major repair effort can stay within these communities."




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