Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan admits that she was leaning toward replacing the cracking West Seattle Bridge when it was closed in March. Eight months later, she has decided to go down the repair route.
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The mayor believes this is the fastest and best way to restore the lifeline to West Seattle. As the mayor has said previously, her decision would be based on three things: how much it was going to cost, both to build it and to maintain it, how long it would last, and when the route could be reopened.
Repairing the bridge could return service to West Seattle by the middle of 2022. A replacement could have taken until 2026. The mayor also expressed concern that the rapid replacement plan would not be able to get through the environmental permitting processes to deliver a promised opening in 2023.
The Seattle Department of Transportation believes it can get 15-40 years of life out of the bridge with this $47 million repair, but it isn’t totally sure. The bridge stabilization, while going well now, has not gone through a winter cycle. There is concern that the carbon fiber wrap and other stabilization work might not do well in colder weather.
If a repair not is feasible, the city would have to move to immediate replacement. That urgency is why a complete type, size, and location study of a replacement remains ongoing. There is hope that Seattle will get enough life out of this

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