From Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog Editor
Bridge updates spanned much of the month West Seattle Transportation Coalition Meet – the West Seattle High Bridge and Low Bridge and 1st Avenue South Bridge. Last night’s online participants also heard about an antenna alternative.
First the bridge meeting:
WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE & W. MARGINAL WAY: SDOT‘s Heather Marx First they tackled the West Marginal Way – where a section of a bi-directional cycle path is suggested – and found that the feedback from the Open House last week was “all over the map”. (Here’s our coverage.)
A decision is due in April. You can comment by email at [email protected] If you have a business on the West Rim, take this survey.
Moving on to low bridge access: Marx summarized the current guideline:
She also mentioned the doctor on call exemption – part of the expanded access they’ll be offering temporarily (as we first reported three weeks ago):
Questions and answers followed. First: “Can the low bridge hours [for open access, currently 9 pm-5 am] be expanded? “They are considering expanding it to 6 a.m., Marx said.
“When will the high bridge be repaired?” An updated schedule is expected in the next few weeks. At the moment, they still expect the repairs to be completed by “mid-2022”, but Marx said traffic would be phased out, “in a way that does not put anyone at risk”.
Can it be fixed faster? “We’re doing everything we can to expedite repairs.”
Why is this taking so long? The repairs must be designed in such a way that they are permanent.
Do Marx and other city officials have exceptions to allow them to use the low bridge? “Of course not.”
“Can the high bridge carry ambulances?” Marx: No, there are holes in the deck.
“Is the low bridge showing more wear and tear from all of this? [extra] use? “No.
How did the stabilized bridge react to the recent cold temperatures and snow?
(Image from February 14th from the SDOT camera above the high bridge)
“Great!” enthused Marx. It responded exactly as the modeling showed, and that’s “good news.” She added, “Snow is very heavy.”
In response to the next question / comment, Marx insisted that the bridge problems that forced the closure were not due to poor maintenance, but rather to a flaw in the original design and materials, she pointed out.
Another question: “The bridge failed early in life – how do you ensure that similar mistakes are not made?” Marx stated that a bridge like this, if designed today, would have additional reinforcement from the start. SDOT consultants at WSPPlanning the permanent repairs believe that there is now an 84 percent chance that the bridge will have its full 45 year (as originally projected) remaining life.
Will low bridge restrictions continue when the high bridge reopens? Marx: No.
1st AVENUE SOUTH BRIDGE: This is a state bridge, not a city bridge, so the upcoming repair work to the south of was discussed WSDOT‘s Tom Pearce. “A little headache now to avoid major headaches later,” he said, emphasizing, “the bridge is safe.” He also stressed that people should plan ahead to avoid large backups – especially if you can take other routes like the South Park Bridge or the East Marginal Bridge. He explained the camp requirements (which you can read about here) that will be carried out during the closing. Is there anything else coming your way in the area? asked WSTC board member Deb Barker. I-5 going south between I-90 and the West Seattle Bridge exit will be closed for 16 weekends, he said.
PS SDOT announced today to WSB that it is preparing for the traffic impact of the state bridge work with the following plans:
* We are dispatching additional crews from the Seattle Response Team (SRT), particularly in the areas around the low bridge, to assist with the afternoon peak point when we see most of the traffic jams.
* In addition to the WSDOT messages on the trailer-mounted electronic signs on either side of the bridge, we are posting news of the closure and lane reduction on our electronic overhead signs on routes approaching both bridges. This notification helps drivers make decisions earlier when they have good options to choose alternative routes or travel at a different time.
* During the closures and lane reductions, we monitor driving patterns around the clock and make changes to the signal timing if necessary.
* We have restricted or restricted other construction activities along the diversion route for the duration of this WSDOT project.
They also reinforce pothole repair on detour routes.
WEST SEATTLE SKY LINK: We presented the gondola concept here last month. Martin Pagel, one of the people we spoke to for this story, gave the presentation at the WSTC last night. To sum it up again: They propose a gondola system as a cheaper and faster-to-build alternative to the light rail between downtown and West Seattle.
Q&A: What happens in the event of a power failure? The engine usually has emergency power, said Pagel.
What about strong wind? “Depending on the technology, nacelle systems can cope with up to 100 km / h.” And winds above 65 miles per hour have only happened six days in the past 70 years, added WSTC board member and gondola attorney Marty Westerman.
Where do you get the estimates from? Research into other systems that have been in operation for over 30 years.
How would it get over Pigeon Point? Might be over existing houses, but unlike the light rail there is no need to demolish houses, Pagel replied. Added supporters Dennis Noland“Gondolas are very quiet, so we eliminate noise pollution.” He also noted that the light rail is currently considered 150 foot high guideways along SW Genesee, “higher than the high-level West Seattle Bridge”. It would also take a lot less time to build, he said. Those who ride by in gondolas are more likely to look outside rather than down, SkyLink’s said Joyce HengesbacH.
How did they fare in quake-prone cities? They are used in many such areas – from South America to Japan – Pagel said.
What’s next? you want to Sound transit to clear a study – “We have three consultancies ready to get in,” Westerman said.
ANNOUNCEMENT: To take metroSurvey. Don’t just think about reviving old routes – think about new ones, the WSTC chairman suggested Michael Taylor-Judd.
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets online on the fourth Thursday of most months at 6.30 p.m. See westseattletc.org for updates.