The Failings of SDOT’s Fairview Ave N Bridge Project

The Eastlake Community Council (ECC) believes that SDOT has chosen a project scope for the Fairview Avenue North bridge project (funded as part of the Move Seattle levy) that is financially wasteful and unnecessarily harmful to local businesses and to people traveling through this area on all modes. A summary of this issue can be found in this letter that ECC sent to SDOT on August 9th: http://eastlakeseattle.org/fp-content/attachs/ecc-fairview-bridge-letter-august-9-2016.pdf.

SDOT has argued that a full reconstruction of the bridges is necessary. However, a Value Engineering study commissioned by SDOT indicated that in fact, a partial reconstruction would not only be viable but would reduce project cost by $8M. This information was only obtained after a public records request following SDOT’s failure to share the VE study with the public. Even worse, there is no indication that SDOT ever discussed these study findings and a possibly reduced project scope with any other relevant stakeholders including the Mayor, the City Council, or Metro.

Seattle has many pressing transportation funding needs, and funds spent on an over-scoped project tradeoff with funds that could be put to use elsewhere. Moreover, a full reconstruction of the bridge will require a lengthy, complete closure of the bridge, which will cause significant delays to transit on a major corridor. Any of the proposed detour routes (which are still not finalized) will pose major logistical challenges and will be both inconvenient and potentially unsafe, especially for bicyclists and pedestrians.

ECC would welcome your help on this issue. We are asking for STB readers to call or write to their elected officials (such as the Mayor and the City Council’s Transportation Committee) in reference to the letter posted above encouraging SDOT to conduct a full accounting of the partial reconstruction option. This step is necessary  in order to ensure that our transportation dollars are spent wisely and in a way that does not cause unnecessary harm to commuters and businesses.

Eric