How safe are Seattle's bridges?

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 7, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 7 at 6:40 PM

After years of deferred maintenance, several Seattle bridges need major repairs. Some of them are listed as structurally deficient.

Seattle has more than 60 bridges that are over 60 years old.

"We were prolific bridge builders in the 20s, 30s and 40s," said SDOT's Roadway Structures Manager, John Buswell.

Some are holding up better than  others.  The Post Bridge in Pioneer Square is located where Seattle's water level used to be.

It's sinking right outside of the Owl and Thistle Pub.

"We're constantly patching the roadway cause it's sinking," said owner Jack Geary.

Bridges in Seattle are inspected every two years, but a new report on the bridges shows maintanence has fallen dramatically in the past four years, leaving some bridges in immediate need of repair.

In the report, Seattle identifies 10 bridges considered structurally deficient. But, Buswell says, "All bridges in Seattle are safe."

Built in 1928, the Magnolia Bridge would be the most expensive to replace, at $300 million.  After the Nisqually earthquake and a mud slide, the bridge is constantly monitored for structural safety.

Buswell would like to see more money dedicated to bridge maintanence. 

"We have 62 bridges over 60 years old with a replaceemnt value of $1.5 billion. It's important that we start soon."

Seattle's "Bridging the Gap" levy has paid for many bridge repairs, but that funding runs out in 2016.

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