West Seattle Bridge: May 1 Update; Washington State Ferries; Sexual Assault Survivors; Small Business Owners; West Seattle Farmers’ Market; Friday Night Lights; March Constituent Email Report

West Seattle Bridge: May 1 Update

Contractor Hired for Bridge Stabilization

SDOT announced they have hired a contractor, Kraemer North America, to carry out stabilization work needed for the West Seattle Bridge.

Cracks have continued to grow on the bridge, albeit at a slower rate than when traffic was on the bridge. For this reason, the bridge would need to be stabilized in order for repair work to proceed.

SDOT’s announcement notes the company “is an industry leader in segmental bridge repair and construction, as well as in concrete post-tensioning. This expertise will allow the team to carry out key stabilization activities, help in forensic investigation of the bridge, provide the engineering team with construction input to determine the best approach to stabilization, and confirm repair estimates.  

With recent work on WSDOT’s Duwamish River Bridges Project, Kraemer also comes with a detailed understanding of the immediate vicinity, as well as knowledge of US Coast Guard permitting requirements. This is essential because obtaining these permits – or not – could add or subtract months to any stabilization, shoring, repair, or replacement efforts.”

SDOT further notes that Kraemer will conduct repairs designed to stop further cracking in the bridge’s most vulnerable sections, then, and only if determined to be structurally feasible, Kramer will replace the lateral bearings on Pier 18 at the east end of the bridge. These bearings, when working correctly, allow the bridge to expand and contract with temperature change. They will work with SDOT and the engineering consultant team to develop and finalize strengthening solutions for the bridge.

Bridge Monitoring

SDOT’s instrumentation consultant, BDI, measured crack depths on the sides of the box girders where they meet the deck and also used ultra-sonic pulse echo imaging and ground penetrating radar to help in understanding if there is any weakness in the steel rope that holds the bridge in compression.

On April 22, SDOT’s design consultant, WSP, provided an estimate of rate of crack growth as well as a critical failure projection. WSP also continues work on a decision tree to inform the question of whether or not to replace or repair the bridge.

SDOT also is installing additional structural health instrumentation (such as crack-width gauges, strain gauges and high-resolution cameras). This is mostly complete and will allow for a clearer definition of the condition of the bridge, and which path to pursue.

I’ve asked how the rate of crack growth informs the question of whether or not to replace or repair the bridge, and about the critical failure projection.

Road/Traffic Update

SDOT paved and reconfigured the 5-way intersection below the West Seattle Bridge last weekend; average daily traffic on the low bridge is down to 6,480 vehicles per day, approximately the same as the baseline. Here is the most recent traffic data we’ve received, with West Marginal and Idaho, and Highland Park and Marginal showing significantly higher than usual volumes:

SDOT has installed new controllers, added communications to signals, and tweaked signal timing in both the Roxbury and 35th corridors, and has upgraded these intersections over the past two weeks:

  • Chelan 5-Way Intersection
  • 17th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
  • 16th Ave SW/Delridge & SW Roxbury St
  • 15th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Thistle St

SDOT also noted they are planning to improve operations at the following intersections over the next few weeks:

  • 30th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
  • 26th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
  • 20th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
  • 8th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Barton St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Henderson St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Trenton St
  • 16th Ave SW & SW Austin St
  • 16th Ave SW & SW Holden St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Kenyon St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Holden St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Webster St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Myrtle St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Holly St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Morgan St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Raymond St
  • 35th Ave SW & SW Findlay St

Changes include allowing SDOT to manage signals from a central location, rather than needing to go to the signal to manually make changes.

Town Hall Question Totals

For the Town Hall held last week, over 1000 questions and comments were submitted: 133 on the use of the lower bridge, 156 on traffic management, 212 on transit (including ferries), 63 on whether to repair or replace, 209 on process and oversight, and 254 on multiple subjects, or other items. My office is continuing to organize the suggestions.

Letter to Washington State Ferries

I sent a letter to Washington State Ferries, linked here, asking that they consider re-directing some of the ferry traffic from Vashon and/or Southworth, that usually travels to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, to Downtown Seattle instead; and that they consider trips from Fauntleroy to Downtown, and options suggested by the public.

The letter notes that during some previous years, for example 1981, 1993 and 2002, eastbound ferry traffic has been diverted to Downtown on a temporary basis. Thanks to the community members who assisted with this research.

Help Is Available for Sexual Assault Survivors

As Chair of the Human Services & Public Safety committee, I was proud to bring forward a Proclamation declaring April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month at this week’s Council meeting.   The single most important message I have for survivors of sexual assault, who may feel that what happened to them is not important during this time of emergency:  Your experience matters.  Support is available.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please let them know that help is still available.

  • The 24-Hour Resource Line is available at 888.99.VOICE (888.998.6423), run by King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. Every hour of the day, trained advocates will answer your call, provide crisis intervention, information and referrals, and on-going support, 7 days a week. In-language service is available.
  • Si usted o alguien a quien ama ha sido afectado(a), nosotros podemos ayudar. Dando Voz proporciona servicios confidenciales y gratuitos a víctimas de abuso sexual y a sus familiares en la comunidad hispana. Para mayor información en español, por favor contáctenos por teléfono al 425-282-0324 o por correo electrónico a dandovozstaff@kcsarc.org.
  • Medical exams are available to survivors of sexual assault at Harborview, UW Montlake, Children’s, Valley Medical Center, Virginia Mason and Swedish First Hill. Their counseling and advocacy services are all available through telephone and telemedicine.
  • Home is not a safe place for everyone. If you are not safe at home, the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation specifically encourages you to leave your home and find a safe alternate location.  It’s OK to leave home to find safety.

One in 4 women, and one in six men will be affected by sexual assault in their lifetime.  That figure is much higher among specific communities, including American Indian and Alaskan Natives, people with disabilities, those living unsheltered, transgender women, and transgender women of color.  Over the course of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency order, more people are calling sexual assault hotlines regarding the distress they are experiencing related to COVID-19.  Please reach out for help.

I’m grateful to Idabelle Fosse, MSW, and the Seattle Women’s Commission for their leadership on the proclamation, and to API Chaya, Coalition Ending Gender Based Violence, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, Harborview Abuse & Trauma Center, and the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault for their support and assistance.

Technical Assistance and Language Interpretation For Small Business Owners

Last week, the federal government approved a $484 billion relief package, including additional support for small businesses:

  • $320B to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • $60B to replenish the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Loan Advance program (EIDL).

These funds will likely not last long, so businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.  Applications for the PPP became available on Monday.

The City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is helping small business owners with their applications.

  • Learn about four funding options from SBA to help you overcome the economic disruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • For technical assistance – available in multiple languages – call (206) 684-8090 or email OED@seattle.gov
  • Join OED’s weekly webinar for small businesses, where these and other programs are discussed and questions are answered. Sign up here.

West Seattle Farmers’ Market Reopening

This Sunday, May 3rd, the West Seattle Farmers’ Market is reopening, but will need to operate under strict guidelines that have been worked out in partnership with Seattle-King County Public Health. The Market is asking everyone to follow the new guideline and consider taking the Farmers’ Market Shopper Oath.

Additionally, you might think about signing up for the Ripe & Ready Newsletter, which will announce the list of May 3 vendors accepting pre-orders.

There will be modifications to the market itself which include:

  • Modified layouts to ensure 10’ between vendor booths to allow for greater circulation and distance.
  • Market entrance at Alaska & California to control the capacity and foot traffic. You can expect a line to enter the market.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided at Market Manager tents, with public hand washing stations available in the market.
  • There is no sampling or prepared food until further notice.
  • No music, entertainment, cooking demos, or public seating areas.

The West Seattle Blog has a short write-up and the full release from the West Seattle Farmers’ Market here.

Please remember to wash your hands regularly or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, wear a facemask if you have once, avoid touching your face, and cover your coughs and sneezes.

Friday Night Lights

On Friday, May 1 (today!), and for at least the next two weeks, the Seattle Firefighters will be back for #FridayNightLights! This is an effort to honor all #EssentialWorkers for doing their part to keep us healthy and safe including healthcare workers, utility personnel, pharmacy and grocery store employees, first responders and more.

You can “join” them by looking out through your window or coming out onto your doorstep between 6:30pm and 7:30 pm. To see if you’re in this week’s area see the yellow highlighted areas on this map here (zoom in to see street addresses).

March Constituent Email Report

Constituent correspondence is a very important task in my office. My staff and I spend time every day helping you improve our community, whether that’s by getting you help from a city department with our constituent case management services or giving you information about legislation that the Council is considering. The unshaded categories and numbers are problem-solving emails answered in April, what I refer to above as “case management services.” The shaded categories and numbers are emails answered in April related to policy or legislation that the Council is considering.  Please note the new COVID-19 row highlighted in yellow.  These are a mix of case management services to get individuals the help they need in this crisis as well as emails answered in response to constituents contacting my office about Emergency Orders and emergency legislation related to COVID-19 response.  I have a debt of gratitude to the work being done by my team to respond urgently to people in crisis in this difficult time.

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