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Some drivers to be permitted to use Spokane St Swing Bridge during West Seattle Bridge construction

On-call medical workers, West Seattle restaurants and retail businesses are among those who can apply to SDOT for access to the Swing Bridge.

SEATTLE — The Seattle Department of Transportation is allowing more drivers to access the Spokane St Swing Bridge (low bridge) while the West Seattle Bridge is under construction. 

People seeking life-saving medical treatments, on-call medical workers, West Seattle restaurants and retail businesses, people using vans, shuttles or official carpools with state-issued rideshare license plates can apply with SDOT for access to the low bridge during hours where it is typically closed to much of the public -- from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The application will open later in April. Drivers must apply, provide their license plate, meet eligibility requirements and be approved by SDOT before using the low bridge. 

SDOT is also changing the low bridge restricted hours on weekends to allow more access. Starting April 10, the low bridge will be open until 8 a.m. on weekends. Weekday restrictions will remain the same.

SDOT chose to expand access to the low bridge in part because the restaurant and retail industries have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses also complained the bridge closure alongside the pandemic have made it particularly difficult to receive or transport supplies.  

SDOT will restrict or revoke access to the bridge for many groups in late 2021 before the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 reopens so the bridge has capacity for increased freight traffic. The high-rise bridge is anticipated to reopen in mid-2022.