The Spokane Street Bridge was stuck Saturday morning for more than two hours, briefly threatening to complicate weekend traffic already impacted by a construction triple play.

The lower West Seattle swing bridge was out of service from about 8 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., due to “electrical issues,” according to a spokesperson with the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Bridge operators performed a test opening and closing shortly before 11 a.m. to confirm that the problem was fixed and that the bridge was working as normal again, the SDOT spokesperson said.

Since the main West Seattle Bridge’s closure in 2020, the low bridge has been off limits to general-purpose traffic for much of each day — restricted from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends to buses, trucks, emergency vehicles, plus a limited number of permitted business and maritime workers. It’s unrestricted for people walking, biking and rolling.

Even without the Spokane Street Bridge snafu Saturday morning, motorists were expecting problems traveling through Seattle and parts of the Eastside, with construction jobs closing the entire Highway 520 bridge over Lake Washington and reducing southbound Interstate 5 in Sodo to two lanes.

Those weekend closures conflict with five sports events in Sodo, though the Washington State Department of Transportation has said it will let drivers access southbound I-5 for two hours postgame via Edgar Martinez Drive South and Interstate 90.


The Spokane Street Bridge has malfunctioned and closed occasionally in the two years of the upper West Seattle Bridge’s closure, including on May 11 for about 90 minutes. In that case, SDOT found that an electronic sensor delivered an error message to a computer that controls bridge movements.

Engineers at SDOT have for years called for upgrades to the bridge that are finally funded and scheduled during 2022. These include carbon-fiber wrapping of cracks in the concrete girders; a new power control system; and rewiring of communications cables between the control tower and the bridge.

The seven-lane main West Seattle Bridge closed March 23, 2020, because of runaway structural cracks, and it is supposed to reopen in September. When the Spokane Street Bridge closes, that leaves zero bridges directly off the West Seattle peninsula where about 100,000 people live.

Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.