Repair chosen over replace for West Seattle Bridge

Repairs for the damaged West Seattle High-Rise Bridge are already underway and traffic could return on the city’s busiest road as soon as the summer of 2022.

“This corridor is just too critical to let the schedule slip by months, let alone year,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said during a Thursday morning media conference.

The Mayor said replacing the damaged infrastructure with new construction would take too long, cost too much and threaten jobs.

“No one is going to West Seattle unnecessarily anymore,” said Kevin Broveliet.

He works in the real estate industry and says the bridge’s closure might have already pushed some neighbors out.

“Not many people are renewing their leases,” he said.

Replacing the bridge could take three years or longer, say city leaders. Repair was the option endorsed by a group called West Seattle Bridge Now, a citizen’s coalition led by Broveliet also shared approval of the city’s decision.

“It’s spot on,” he said,

Repairs will move forward in two phases including stabilization already underway.

How those efforts withstand cold winter months is just one of the unknown risks, say city officials.

“I was kind of in the camp of let’s just tear it down and replace it,” said Laurel Trujillo, a home and business owner in West Seattle.

She says because Sound Transit may expand light rail onto the peninsula in the coming years, a new bridge just makes sense. The plan extends the life of the bridge from 15-40 years.

Repairs could cost around $50 million – but traffic mitigation and other essential work will increase the final price tag.