West Seattle Bridge Continues to Leave its Residents Stranded


Jack Kingston, Reporter


Imagine sitting in slow traffic, the sound of cars honking and engines revving on an early Monday morning. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, and yet it’s become the reality for the people of West Seattle with the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. 

The reason Seattle even had a bridge built in the first place was thanks to multiple boats crashing into and damaging the already existing lower bridge at the time. With construction starting in the late 1970s, the high-rise bridge was completed in 1984. The bridge was meant to last nearly seventy years, but as the people of Seattle would find, the bridge didn’t live up to its potential. 

As stated by King County Metro Transit on March 23rd, 2020, “The high bridge is closed at least until 2022 while the City assesses and begins work to shore up cracks and increase structural stability.” This would be the start of a nightmare situation for West Seattle residents, separated from the rest of Seattle, on an unwanted isolated “island”. 

After this news was announced, the city took a long time to decide if they would build a new bridge or repair the cracks in the existing bridge. 

Finally, in November of 2020, mayor Jenny Durkan stated the city’s final decision on the future of the West Seattle Bridge: opting for a repair of the bridge in the next year. 

When explaining the city’s reasoning behind the decision, Durkan says “months of careful examination of the bridge’s structural integrity, analysis of the costs and benefits of all possible options, and engagement with the communities affected by the bridge closure.” This set the bridge to be fully repaired and usable by mid-2022. 

While the future of West Seattle residents may seem bright, the present still remains gloomy. Any little disturbance of traffic in the alternate routes like West Marginal Way and the I-405 highway leave West Seattle residents stuck in the never-ending line of slow cars. 

One of these residents of West Seattle, Mason Holmes, says, “It gets pretty bad on busy days. And it’s especially frustrating that this will be our lives until the bridge is fixed next year” This seems to be the overwhelming opinion of many West Seattle residents, but it does bring up the fact that the bridge will be fixed eventually.

As much as it seems that the frustration of West Seattle residents will end with the repair of the Bridge in mid-2022, the repair won’t bring a permanent fix. And the city will eventually have to build an entirely new bridge if they want to avoid the endless cycle of closures and repairs. Until then, nothing will change, and the people of West Seattle will still have to make the trek off their newly created island.