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caption: In this aerial photo taken Aug. 2, 2014, the Port of Seattle, the West Seattle Bridge, and the Ash Grove Cement Company (left) are shown.
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In this aerial photo taken Aug. 2, 2014, the Port of Seattle, the West Seattle Bridge, and the Ash Grove Cement Company (left) are shown.
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

West Seattle Bridge to close after cracks discovered

Seattle officials will close the high-rise portion of the West Seattle Bridge at 7 p.m. on Monday after a routine inspection uncovered accelerated cracking in the structure's concrete. The closure will remain in effect until further notice.

All public and private vehicles will be barred from crossing the high-rise segment of the bridge connecting I-5 and Fauntleroy Way SW.

Motorists will take the First Ave or South Park bridges, while buses, emergency vehicles, and freights should use the Spokane Street or "low" bridge. The Seattle Department of Transportation will place signs up to guide drivers through detour routes.

City officials say that while the structural issues have accelerated more quickly than expected, they didn't appear suddenly.

The bridge was originally designed to accommodate three lanes of traffic but was eventually expanded to hold seven. Growth in traffic and the weight of vehicles crossing the bridge have contributed to its deterioration.

Officials say impacted King County Metro bus routes will be revised, not including ones already suspended in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, a comprehensive assessment is underway to evaluate the extent of the damage and create a plan for repairs.