SEATTLE — Editor's note: The video above aired in November after Seattle leadership announced the West Seattle Bridge would be repaired, not replaced.
The initial emergency stabilization of the West Seattle Bridge is complete, paving the way for the next phase of repairs expected to occur later this year.
Stabilization work included installing nearly 10 miles of steel cable inside hollow areas of the bridge to reinforce it's tension system along with additional measures to strengthen the bridge. A system was installed to monitor any future crack growth.
The high-rise bridge closed in March 2020 after engineers discovered cracks had grown quickly in just a few weeks. Emergency work began immediately to prevent further cracking while city leaders worked to determine whether the aging bridge would be repaired or replaced.
Ultimately, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the city would repair the bridge. It is expected to reopen to traffic as early as mid-2022.
One of the key reasons to repair the bridge rather than replace it is economic recovery, which relies on mobility. A full replacement was estimated to take until 2026.
Repairs will add an estimated 15-40 years to the bridge's lifespan and would cost about $47 million upfront, with an additional $50 million for traffic mitigation and $10 million for low bridge repair.
The Seattle Department of Transportation is now working with consultants to design the next phase of repair work that will allow the bridge to reopen. Full repairs depend on how the bridge behaves in response to seasonal temperature changes.