Cracks Force Shutdown of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, Effective Tonight

West Seattle is about to be a bit more socially distant than it would prefer.

Comments

1

"Mayor Jenny Durkan just announced that the West Seattle high-rise bridge will be closing tonight. Talk about bad timing."

With traffic at historic low levels, I'd say the timing is perfect.

2

@1, i'd say "suspicious timing" personally. i have a hard time believing these cracks were just noticed...its simply a more convenient time to close the bridge.

3

@2
Easier to get an inspection crew out on an empty bridge, while simultaneously keeping them employed in troubled times

4

West Seattle becomes an island.

5

Perfect timing. We need more of this. Fix some roads. Build some bike lanes.

6

West Seattleites, do you hear that?

It's the screams of Magnolia carrying across Elliot Bay... "iT's nOt fAaaAAaAaiiiRrR!!1"

7

"I'm
looking for cracks in the pavement . . . . "

"Some thing on my mind
breakin' open doors I'd
sealed up before . . . . "

8

@5: I agree with you re fixing roads but not sure about bike lanes. They're wildly expensive, especially considering how little-used they are in some area (see: Admrial Way). They do make good sense in a handful of very heavily traveled corridors (see: Dexter Ave, 2nd Ave).

The purpose of a bike lane is to provide more safety for cyclists. I can't help but wonder if we can achieve the same result for less by putting some real teeth in penalties for moving violations. The vast majority of car vs. bike crashes are the result of the motorist:

1) Speeding
2) Failing to yield Right of Way
3) Failure to stop
4) Distracted driving

Currently, those have pretty modest fines (

1) Install speed radar cameras on the streets where speeding is an issue (see: 35th Ave SW etc.)
2) More red-light cameras
3) Made the fines really hurt; start them at $500 for Moving Violations and go north from there.
4) Punish distracted driving with a $1000 fine and a 1-month license suspension.

A $500 fine will get most people's attention. That, combined with the near-certainty of being caught by speed and red-light cameras (let's face it; with the appallingly low SPD staffing, your odds of being caught by an overworked SPD cop are slim and none) might get drivers to pay more attention to their driving and what's around them. Result: more safety for bikes, pedestrians, and everyone!

Regarding the bridge: whatever the reason, the closure is A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come. Last weekend, everybody and their dog were out here on Alki. I couldn't believe the degree to which selfishness and FOMO could drive people to do stupid things. I LIVE here, and I still didn't go to the beach.

Rule of thumb: if you have to drive to get there, you shouldn't go right now. I don't come to your neighborhood to spread germs - please stay out of mine.

Being a conspiracy theorist, I too am a little dubious of the timing of this thing. Remember when the closed the Aurora bridge right before a tax vote? I can't help but wonder if they found an excuse to close the WS bridge to avoid the inevitable confrontation between cops and selfish Alki beach partyers?

9

For what it's worth, they've been doing some pretty intense inspections for the last month or so.

I'm actually not all that surprised by this - the West Seattle bridge was built in a huge rush after a boat rammed into one of the old ones (which was a set up like the First Avenue bridge). The there was basically no bridge for six years while they scrambled to replace it.

They had almost replaced it in the 70's, but there was a big corruption scandal that sent some local figures to jail.