1st Ave South Bridge repairs mean even fewer ways to leave West Seattle over night starting July 19
Bridge deck repairs are set to start on the SR 99 Duwamish River / 1st Ave South Bridge on July 19 which means the bridge will close for brief periods. That's going be yet another pain point for drivers trying to get out of West Seattle. There are alternatives of course but with the high rise bridge closed it means detours are necessary.
It will help that the Spokane Street low bridge is open to all traffic after 9pm when the 1st Ave South Bridge work is taking place.
The replacement work will take place Sunday through Thursdays from 10 pm-5 am with a fourteen day work schedule planned.
Fourteen of the metal grid panels (hence the number of work nights) that make up the bridge deck of the northbound lanes of the bridge must be replaced The highway is a critical route between cities like Burien, Normandy Park and SeaTac, and Sea-Tac Airport to downtown Seattle. It carries about 62,000 vehicles each day.
The replacement of the panels will help increase traction on the bridge and provide a smoother, safer ride for travelers according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). They note that the grid deck panels helps preserve the bridge structure and reduces the need for costly emergency repairs.
On the WSDOT Blog they state "Immediately after the West Seattle Bridge closure, we started looking at different options for getting into and out of Seattle besides the Duwamish River Bridge. We also worked with the Seattle Department of Transportation – which manages and maintains the West Seattle Bridge – to figure out alternatives and how to tell people about them. These alternatives include bridges in South Park, Tukwila International Boulevard, West Marginal Way and even Interstate 5.
Initially the Spokane Street lower bridge wasn’t on the table. That bridge is only one lane in each direction and is the main access point for businesses on Harbor Island – definitely not capable of handling more than 100,000 vehicles a day. And for the most part, it’s still not an option. However, things are different at night. There’s a lot less traffic – enough that SDOT is comfortable with letting all vehicles use the bridge during the overnight closures. So now we have that as an alternate as well.
People still need to limit their trips on the lower Spokane Street bridge, even at night. If you’re traveling after dark, you can help by using other alternate routes, depending on your starting and ending points. For example, if you’re at the south end of West Seattle, consider going east to Tukwila and take Tukwila International Boulevard or I-5. If you’re headed for Bellevue or points east and normally would use I-90, think about trying SR 518/I-405 to get there. The highway system provides plenty of options.