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Engineers sought for West Seattle Bridge replacement design if it can't be repaired

The city is continuing to explore replacement as a fix for cracks on the West Seattle high-rise bridge.

Editor's note: The above video originally aired in May 2020.

The city of Seattle put out a call Tuesday for engineering firms interested in designing a replacement for the West Seattle Bridge.

In a solicitation for statements of qualifications, the city said the contract for the replacement high-rise bridge design would be between $50 million and $150 million and would be a multi-year phased contract for about 10 years. The contract could be for either a partial or full bridge replacement.

However, the city says it is simultaneously pursuing repairing the bridge in addition to replacing it.

"We need to have all pieces in place to quickly pivot if it becomes clear that fixing the bridge is no longer an option due to continued deterioration," the city said in a statement.

The city anticipates the contract will receive federal funds.

RELATED: West Seattle homeowners worry bridge closure will hurt property values

The high-rise portion of the West Seattle Bridge has been closed since March 23 after growing cracks were discovered on the center section of the bridge. It won’t reopen until at least 2022 if at all.

Officials have explored both repairing and replacing the bridge, but they don’t know yet if repair would be technically or financially feasible. The city estimated any repairs would likely only add an extra decade to the life of the bridge, which opened in 1984.

The West Seattle Bridge is the city’s busiest with an average of 100,000 vehicles and 25,000 transit riders daily before the coronavirus pandemic.

The city says a design and construction team is currently working to stabilize it and reduce the risk of the bridge failing.

The city's analysis of the bridge's structural stability is expected to be completed later this summer.

RELATED: Canadian expert warned Washington state about West Seattle Bridge cracking

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