West Seattle Bridge Closure
On March 23, 2020, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) closed the West Seattle High Rise Bridge to all traffic, restricted the Spokane Street Low Bridge to allow transit, freight, non-motorized users, and emergency vehicles, and implemented detour routes for all other vehicles. The high bridge is closed at least until 2022 while the City assesses and begins work to shore up cracks and increase structural stability. The closure of the bridge impacted 13 Metro routes that normally traveled across the West Seattle Bridge in the pre-COVID timeframe. For more information on bridge conditions and repair visit SDOT’s West Seattle Bridge Project webpage.
Metro is providing robust service within West Seattle as well as between West Seattle and downtown/SODO. Approximately 800 of 900 daily trips are still operating even with the systemwide service reductions necessitated by the COVID pandemic.
Buses are operating reliably and not seeing major delays due to SDOT’s low bridge travel restrictions (5 a.m. to 9 p.m.) that limit access to transit, freight, and emergency vehicles. However, traffic is subject to bridge openings on the lower level bridge which can cause considerable delays and traffic congestion.
Latest Metro News
- Metro unveils West Seattle Bridge Closure Transit Action Plan (August 4, 2020)
- Metro’s Plans for Transit in West Seattle (July 10, 2020)
A Metro team was formed immediately following notice of the West Seattle Bridge closure in order to develop a Metro Transit Action Plan, which would address the Peninsula’s mobility needs.
The goal of the Plan is to address the mobility needs of West Seattle residents, employees, and others through non-private vehicle modes that are under Metro’s control, including bus (Metro Bus, Metro RapidRide, and Metro Water Taxi Shuttle), Water Taxi, Vanpool, nonmotorized, and other innovative shared-ride solutions within Metro’s financially constrained budget.Download the plan
- RapidRide C Line, 21, 21X, 50, 120, 125
- Routes 55, 56, 57 are scheduled to return with the fall service change (September 21, 2020)
- Routes 37, 116, 118, 119 have been suspended indefinitely (though there is on-island Vashon service to replace 118 and 119)
Routes that previously used the West Seattle high bridge are now using the lower bridge. Because of the decrease in traffic due to COVID-19 these routes are not seeing a significant impact to travel times. They are however subject to openings on the lower bridge which can cause periodic delays.
The low bridge diversion does not affect stop locations for West Seattle routes, implying there is consistency in accessibility for Metro customers
Metro has developed a West Seattle Bridge Transit Action Plan is to address the mobility needs of West Seattle residents through bus (Metro Bus, Metro RapidRide, and Metro Water Taxi Shuttle), Water Taxi, , walking, biking, and other innovative shared-ride solutions within Metro’s financially constrained budget.
Metro has developed network plans for multiple scenarios involving low bridge accessibility. They include:
- Scenario 1: Spokane St. Low Bridge is open to transit
- Scenario 2: Spokane St. Low Bridge is closed to bus and other transit solutions. This scenario could happen for two reasons:
- Tier 1: Short term closure due to maintenance work, low bridge malfunction, etc.
- Tier 2: Long term closure due to a West Seattle High Bridge instability or collapse, including “fall area” evacuation.
Metro has reduced service in West Seattle and throughout the county to reflect decreased ridership as residents follow direction from elected leaders and public health officials, and for the safety of our workforce and the public. Under the reduced schedule, buses run less frequently throughout the day. Some bus service may also start later in the morning and end earlier in the evening.
Metro has been adding back some service to reflect demand and the opening of some businesses. We are very aware that many people do not have the option to work from home. We are restoring service to several routes that have been previously suspended, but service will not be at pre-COVID levels.
Currently West Seattle buses are not seeing major delays as traffic is very light as most people are not traveling to work. However, they are subject to bridge openings which may cause delays. Metro has been working closely with SDOT to improve transit priority to the lower bridge. Two notable projects were new transit priority at the five-way intersection at Spokane and Delridge and a longer bus lane on Delridge leading to the five-way intersection.
Have more questions?
Please contact us by email or call 206-263-9768.
We want to make it as easy as possible to find your route, find out where Metro stops in downtown, and make connections to your destination even when a transfer is required. Metro’s customer communications group has prepared these four maps to assist with wayfinding to reach your connecting bus or train:
West Seattle to Downtown & SODO
RapidRide C, D & E lines; Metro routes 3, 4, 12, 50, 106 & 150; Sound Transit Express routes ST 510, ST 512, ST 522, ST 545, ST 550, ST 554, ST 590 & ST 594, and Link light rail.
To downtown Seattle for all connections to Greater Seattle & North King County
RapidRide C, D & E lines; Metro routes 3, 4, 21, 21X, 55, 56, 57, 120 & 125.
Connections to East King County
RapidRide C Line; Metro routes 21, 21X, 55, 56, 57, 120 & 125, and Sound Transit Express routes ST 522, ST 545 & ST 550.
Connections to Snohomish County, South King County & Pierce County
RapidRide C Line; Metro routes 21, 21X, 55, 56, 57, 106, 120, 125, and Sound Transit Express routes ST 510, ST 512, ST 590 & ST 594.
Metro is working with SDOT and regional transportation, safety, and maritime partners to jointly develop a comprehensive traffic control plan to keep people and goods moving. SDOT has also established an interagency task force to coordinate a unified emergency response if conditions of the high bridge reach critical thresholds. The task force includes the City of Seattle, King County, Northwest Seaport Alliance, Port of Seattle, the State of Washington, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), and the US Army Corps of Engineers.