West Seattle Bridge Now expresses displeasure with SDOT
The West Seattle Bridge Now group that has been campaigning for the adoption of a swift repair of the bridge was unhappy with the most recent presentation offered by the Seattle Department of Transportation during the West Seattle Bridge community Task Force meeting Oct. 7, held online.
Here is their official statement:
The Community Task Force held its tenth meeting today, and SDOT’s presentation confirmed what we already knew: Its cost-benefit analysis is incomplete, ignores the significant and irreparable harm to West Seattle of continuing the bridge closure longer than necessary, and stacks the deck in favor of a lengthy replacement option. In other words, we learned nothing new today.
But first the good news: SDOT has confirmed that repairing the bridge can be done quickly and safely, and a repaired bridge would last between 15 and 40 years. SDOT also acknowledged that repairing the bridge is the cheapest option, by far, requiring 5-8 times less than replacement in upfront capital costs.
That should be the end of the matter, but SDOT continues to push a replacement option that would extend the bridge closure for years to come. Yet the so-called cost-benefit analysis that they presented to the CTF does not include any actual cost estimates; instead, they used dollar signs—$, $$, $$$, etc.—treating this process with the level of seriousness found in restaurant reviews. And they have admittedly done no economic analysis to consider economic damage caused by the bridge closure to West Seattle residents, businesses, and others.
The costs to West Seattle from the bridge closure are real, serious, and immediate. They will continue until the bridge is either repaired or replaced, and we know that replacement will take years longer to complete. How could a cost-benefit analysis possibly ignore these costs?
Despite the lack of transparency, and the rush to judgment, all information to date confirms what we have always said: Repairing the bridge is safe, fast, and affordable.
What we, the residents of West Seattle, need to see next:
• The city needs to develop real economic models that consider the true economic impact of a long-term closure of the bridge.
• The city needs to fully consider health impacts in neighborhoods like South Park and Georgetown experiencing increased congestion and pollution.
• SDOT needs to add a structural engineer to their team to provide critically needed expertise.
For additional information, visit West Seattle Bridge Now at http://wsbridgenow.com.