Mayor Durkan decides on repairing West Seattle Bridge instead of immediate replacement

This morning Mayor Durkan announced that the city will move forward with repairing the cracked main span of the West Seattle Bridge, with the expectation that it will reopen by mid-2022, restore the bridge to its original expected lifetime, and push out building a replacement for up to 40 years. However, she also said that SDOT will start studying an eventual replacement strategy now, and it will approach Sound Transit about jointly building a third span to West Seattle that could incorporate light rail, bicycles and pedestrians.

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Mosqueda unveils 2021 budget balancing package

This afternoon, Council budget chair Teresa Mosqueda rolled out her “balancing package,” a collection of changes to the Mayor’s 2021 proposed budget that address Council members’ consensus priorities, while keeping the overall budget balanced as required by law. The package follows through with the cuts to SPD they proposed two weeks ago, and it cuts Mayor’s Durkan’s $100 million Equitable Communities Initiative down to $30 million. Shortly after it was released, Durkan issued a press release… largely praising it. Wait, what was that again?  

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West Seattle Bridge cost-benefit analysis released, and the options are clear (even if the report isn’t)

Today SDOT finally released the long-awaited “cost-benefit analysis” on the various options for repair or replacement of the West Seattle Bridge. It’s 89 pages, it’s dense, and it wins the award for “worst executive summary.” SDOT had to publish a “reader’s guide” today to help people make sense of it. But in the end it tells us what we need to know in order to decide whether we should repair or replace the bridge. Here’s what it says.

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State Supreme court throws out Initiative 976

This morning the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Initiative 976, Tim Eyman’s most recent “$30 car tabs” effort, is unconstitutional. The Court found that the initiative contained multiple subjects and that its title was “deceptive and misleading.” It overturned a lower court ruling that largely upheld the initiative.

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Audit on SDOT’s bridge maintenance finds program vastly underfunded, lack of strategic plan

Two weeks ago the City Auditor released a report on vehicle bridge maintenance in Seattle. The report, which was commissioned by Council member Alex Pedersen following the closure of the West Seattle Bridge earlier this year, highlights a point SCC insight reported earlier this year: that SDOT’s bridge maintenance budget is only a fraction of the recommended amount. However, the Auditor cautions that before the Mayor and City Council try to increase the budget, SDOT needs to get its house in order to make sure that the money is well-spent and the work is done well.

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Understanding what happened to Pier 58

Late afternoon this past Sunday a portion of Pier 58, better known as Waterfront Park, collapsed as construction workers were beginning the work to carefully dismantle and remove it.  Let’s look at what led to the collapse, where things stand now, and what happens next. UPDATE 9-18-20: The city has now closed the adjacent Pier 57, due to a “condition of imminent danger” from the potential collapse of the remainder of Pier 58.

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