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Public invited to voice frustrations over West Seattle Bridge at SDOT meeting

The virtual meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday over Zoom.

SEATTLE — The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is hosting its first public meeting Wednesday since announcing it expects the West Seattle Bridge to reopen to traffic in mid-2022

In addition to SDOT staff and officials, traffic engineers and structural engineers will be on hand to help answer questions and ease concerns on where construction plans stand.

The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.

The department says a lot of construction includes work inside the bridge structure. 

Heather Marx, the director of Downtown Mobility with SDOT, says the department understands the West Seattle Bridge Program has been a long and frustrating project for many residents but reminds people it is short-term.

"It has been tremendously disruptive, to our community life to have the high bridge out of commission. And when you pile that on top of a global pandemic, it's also been devastating for businesses," said Marx who said these issues are what Wednesday night's virtual meeting is for. 

"If there's something we can do to make it better, we will do it. But we also need to take the time that's necessary to make sure that the engineering is correct," Marx said.

The meeting will also remind residents that access to the low bridge is still limited, and as restrictions ease and traffic increases, people should plan extra time for their commute or find alternate ways of transportation. 

In November 2020, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the city would repair the West Seattle Bridge instead of replacing it altogether. Repairs are estimated to add anywhere from 15 to 40 years to the bridge's lifespan.

The bridge was closed to traffic just as the COVID-19 pandemic began when SDOT crews found fast-spreading cracks in its structure.

Construction for the bridge repairs is expected to start in October. 

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