Deteriorating South Park Bridge will be closed June 30
King County has devised a plan to help residents and businesses when the South Park Bridge closes June 30.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Changes in storeA CLOSURE PLAN for the South Park Bridge calls for these proposed changes:
Pavement markings and signs will be revised on 14th Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street. There will be a northbound left-turn-only lane and an eastbound right-turn-only lane.
There will be traffic revisions on East Marginal Way at 16th Avenue South, which leads to the South Park Bridge. Southbound on East Marginal Way South will be changed to create a single right-turn lane and will remove the center lane optional right turn.
A signal will replace a stop sign at the intersection of South Cloverdale Street and First Avenue South, southbound on the ramp to Highway 509.
The county will install several signs along major commute routes six weeks before the closure notifying users that the bridge will be closed permanently, and then install barricades and signs to prevent access to the South Park Bridge.
The bridge closure will impact emergency response time to South Park, but they will be reduced with the temporary addition of ladder truck 13 with the Seattle Fire Department. It will be assigned to Fire Station 11 in Southwest Seattle in May for up to 18 months during construction of the Spokane Street viaduct.
Seattle Public Schools operates 12 bus routes that pick up students in the South Park area and transport them to schools in southeast Seattle. These 12 routes will be rerouted, either to the West Seattle Bridge or other access routes in the Georgetown neighborhood.
The South Park Bridge will close June 30, King County director of transportation Harold Taniguchi told residents and business owners of the South Seattle neighborhood Tuesday night.
"We haven't been successful in securing funding [to replace the bridge]," Taniguchi told a gathering of more than 100 at the Boeing Machinists Hall in South Park. "June 30 is a very realistic date."
The agency also released a bridge-closure proposal certain to disrupt commuters and business owners in the neighborhood that hugs the Duwamish River.
About 20,000 cars and trucks cross the 78-year-old bridge each day, and when it closes, many of those vehicles will be diverted to First Avenue South Bridge. According to a county analysis, that diversion could add 20 minutes to the commutes of South Park Bridge users, which include Georgetown and Boulevard Park residents.
Three Metro bus routes that cross the bridge daily will be rerouted to the First Avenue South Bridge.
The bridge is being closed because its concrete is failing and the pilings weren't sunk into solid footings when it was built. The 2001 Nisqually earthquake caused major damage.
The Federal Highway Administration has given the bridge one of the worst safety rankings in the state, worse even than the earthquake-damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Taniguchi on Tuesday night outlined funding options for a bridge replacement but said even if the county had the money today, it would still take three years to replace the bridge.
One option, he said, is the creation of a transportation benefit district, which could add a $20 vehicle-license fee for people living in that district. The county is also looking for future federal funding.
When the bridge is closed, the movable spans will be lifted to the open position until they are removed. Because the Duwamish is a navigable waterway, the Coast Guard regulations require that the bridge be removed after it is closed. Demolition of the span is expected to take three to six weeks, and demolition of the rest of the bridge will take about nine months at a cost of about $20 million.
At Tuesday's meeting, businesses were told that the city wants to help them survive the bridge's closure.
"This is a crisis," said Tina Vlasaty, with the Seattle Office of Economic Development. "We're all concerned about the vitality of South Park businesses. She talked about possible loans and marketing efforts as possible ways to keep businesses afloat.
Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or email@example.com
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.