Washington DOT identifies failing steel beam on S.R. 99 Aurora Bridge

Oct. 29, 2019

The agency is warning travelers that significant delays are to be expected on entering Seattle

The Washington DOT (WSDOT) has begun putting together a repair plan in response to its discovery of a failing steel stringer beam on the S.R. 99 Aurora Bridge. The failing beam is located directly beneath the southbound lanes of the bridge and has resulted in an emergency closure of those lanes, as WSDOT considers how best to address the issue.

WSDOT spokesperson Bart Treece, in an interview with the local Seattle Fox affiliate, was adamant that “the bridge is still safe, I want to stress that, the bridge is still safe for people to use. This lane closure is a precautionary measure until we can get that repair underway.”

The S.R. 99 Aurora Bridge is nearly 90 years old and has begun to show significant signs of deterioration. The issue with the bridge first came to WSDOT’s notice during a routine 2-year inspection this past August, but the full breadth of the danger was not realized until a more comprehensive inspection this past week.

WSDOT posted a notice on Twitter, stating: “A repair plan is being put together to address corrosion on a steel beam that runs below the southbound lanes of the Aurora Bridge. The right lane will stay closed as a precaution to lighten the load on the problem area.”

The agency said that travelers should prepare for delays for the foreseeable future, and could not confirm precisely how long it would take for a repair plan to be finalized and actual repairs themselves to be made. In recent years, WSDOT has taken progressive strides to improve its infrastructure. Transportation Director Roger Millar has been open about the agency's focus on improving statewide mobility, part of which is adherence to the state's bridge inspection program.

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