The Seattle DOT (SDOT) this week announced the selection of HNTB Corp. to design the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge replacement.
Back in March of this year, SDOT closed down the existing high-rise bridge, citing rapidly accelerating cracking issues.
SDOT says the selection of HNTB comes at a time when the department is working in partnership with the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force and Technical Advisory Panel to reach the critical decision point this fall about the immediate next steps for repairing or replacing the bridge. The department says this work will be needed regardless of whether the city decides to repair or replace the bridge as a next step.
"We’re currently completing a comprehensive, community-shaped, cost-benefit analysis to determine how soon we’ll need to replace the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge," SDOT said in a blog post. "This will help us to better understand the trade-offs between choosing to dismantle and replace the bridge as soon as initial stabilization is completed, or choosing to invest in additional short-term repairs so that the bridge could be reopened for a time before it will eventually need to be replaced."
SDOT says by bringing on a firm to design a replacement of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge now, it is ensuring that all of the pieces are in place to quickly pivot if it becomes clear that repairing the bridge is not advisable, and that the city will not lose valuable time hiring a design team to begin the rebuilding process. It also prepares Seattle for the inevitable need to replace this critical route, even if the original bridge can be repaired and reopened for some amount of time.
The department says one of HNTB’s first tasks will be to complete a study in order to determine the type, size, and location of several bridge and tunnel replacement options, building on the aforementioned cost-benefit analysis already in progress.
SOURCE: Seattle DOT
IMAGE: Seattle DOT via flickr