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Here's what will happen after the West Seattle Bridge reaches its lifespan

SDOT said the bridge will last for about 40 years. While that's a long ways away, the city is starting to make plans for a new bridge.

SEATTLE — Monday marked a hopeful end to the woes of the West Seattle bridge closure, but here's what can be expected when it reaches the end of its 75-year lifespan.

"I have lots of feelings of joy but also this project has defined my life for the past two and a half years," said Heather Marx, Director of the West Seattle Bridge Safety Program.

The most recent repairs are expected to last through the bridge's intended lifespan.

"We expect this repair to last the full 75 years which is about 40 more years," Marx said.

There is a contingency plan if something unforeseen happens.

"In order to be prepared in case the worst happens, we also have 30% plans for a replacement bridge should that become necessary," Marx said.

Historically, the bridge is the city's most used road with more than 100,000 vehicles crossing it every day before the recent closure. The decision came down to repairing the bridge or building a new one knowing it would only last 40 more years. Then Mayor Jenny Durkan chose to repair it, which cost $175 million.

"That includes the repair of the high bridge, the repair of the low bridge and all the mitigations that we've done in West Seattle, Southpark and Georgetown," Marx said. "All the communications efforts we've done to keep people informed."

The city of Seattle is already planning to replace the West Seattle High Bridge. They looked at five different options, determining the On-line and Hybrid bridge would be the best.

The new bridge could take 14-20 years to complete and will potentially cost around $1 billion. The report said commuters will be able to drive on the West Seattle Bridge during the construction of a new one, though there will be an impact on traffic.

"We do have designs that enable us to keep one side of the bridge open but it's too soon to tell what traffic will look like and what mitigations are necessary," Marx said.

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