West Seattle Bridge reopens this weekend
The wait for 100,000 Seattle drivers — whose daily commutes have been snarled since 2020 — is nearly over. The West Seattle Bridge is slated to reopen on Sunday, Sept. 18, after being closed for more than two years so crews could fix cracks that wouldn't stop spreading.
All restrictions on the Spokane Street Swing Bridge, also known as the West Seattle low bridge, will end on the same day.
Seattle city leaders are ready to celebrate the reopening of the bridge. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell will join Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and other dignitaries on Friday for a press conference ahead of the big day.
In the meantime, the Seattle Department of Transportation is running last-minute load tests to make sure the bridge is safe.
"We do that with big trucks that are loaded with 80,000 pounds," said Heather Marx, program director for the bridge repairs.
Marx says they've been load testing the bridge for several months using an intelligent monitoring system. The agency has also tracked how the bridge responds to extreme hot and cold weather conditions.
"We had like a foot of snow on the bridge, so not only was it cold, but we also had the weight of all that snow," she noted as an example.
So far, city engineers say the bridge has passed all its tests.
"We would not open the bridge if it were not safe and stable and secure," Marx said.
The West Seattle Bridge is also getting a facelift in the few remaining days before Sept. 18. Crews are replacing expansion joins, pouring new concrete, and replacing signage.
The span was initially slated to reopen over the summer, but SDOT says the recent concrete workers strike delayed those plans.
The $175 million repair work on the West Seattle Bridge is expected to last for 30 years.