Final phase of repairs to West Seattle Bridge begin this month; expect…

The final phase of repairs to the West Seattle Bridge will start this month, and the Seattle Department of Transportation says residents can expect to see construction crews on the bridge in the coming days.

The work is meant to augment emergency stabilization repairs made to the bridge last year after the department discovered rapidly growing fractures along the main span. The bridge has been closed since March of 2020.

The department made a number of repairs to ensure the bridge didn’t collapse.

Crews filled the fractures with epoxy, which acts like a glue that will keep the fractures from expanding. They then wrapped the cracked locations with carbon-fiber-strengthened polymer, which helps keep up the bridge together by sheer force the same way a cast holds a broken bone in place during the healing course of action. They also installed new steel cables inside the bridge which — when tightened — allow the concrete to flex, which keeps the bridge strong as vehicles travel on it.

That work was finished in December of last year. Since then, the department has been planning the final phase of repair work, ordering bridge parts and selecting the contractor that will truly make the repairs.

The final phase of repair work, which starts this month, includes filling the fractures with more epoxy, wrapping additional sections of the bridge’s main span with carbon-fiber-strengthened polymer and adding another slew of post-tensioning steel cables. The department also plans to wrap some side spans with carbon-fiber-strengthened polymer during this phase.

The work is expected to be done some time in the middle of 2022.

Once finished, the department expects the bridge to last between 15 and 45 years. However, the city says it will replace the bridge when the time comes, and has already begun analyzing viable substitute options.

The city expects the repair work to cost about $94 million.  

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