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Repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge? City officials reveal possible timelines

Department of Transportation officials say bridge repairs could be complete by 2022 at the earliest. A new bridge would not be ready until as late as 2026.

SEATTLE — The Seattle Department of Transportation revealed possible timelines for repairing or replacing the damaged West Seattle high bridge.

The earliest possible opening date for a repaired bridge would be sometime in 2022, SDOT said. A new bridge would not be ready for traffic until sometime between 2024 and 2026.

Matt Donahue, SDOT interim division director of roadway structures, explained the timelines Wednesday during a meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, which includes community representatives, elected officials, and business leaders.

Until recently, it was not clear repairs to the cracked bridge were even feasible, but Donahue revealed during the meeting that a closer examination of the structure showed repairs were possible.

However, Donahue questioned whether the city should the city replace the bridge if that will only add a decade or so to its life.

A replacement bridge could last an estimated 50 to 75 years, he said.

Cracks continue to grow in the current bridge, city officials said, while the city studies the repair and replace options simultaneously.

Donahue said the city is not ruling out the possibility of a tunnel.

SDOT said it is working with the mayor's office and the governor's office on an emergency declaration for the damaged bridge.

That could help accelerate some of the processes required to repair or replace the bridge.

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