This morning, while I did not have to cross the bridge, my husband did. I got the SOS call wondering if I could find out for him why he was at a dead stop on Spokane St. (along with every other morning commuter trying to get out of West Seattle). He did note that the lower bridge was up...or open... or whatever -- nobody could cross it because a ship was going through. Apparently it is not a drawbridge but a "swing bridge".
I looked for answers here:
And basically found out something quite incredible and unique to this one particular bridge. While all the other major bridges in and around Seattle have rules regulating opening during rush hours, the lower Spokane St. bridge does not -- it is open on demand, no matter what time it is.
And I quote:
"Southwest Spokane Street Swing Bridge (Low-Level)
The Southwest Spokane Street Swing Bridge opens on demand, even during rush hour. Commuters should be aware that marine traffic may go through the bridge at any time.
Flashing signs on the various approach roadways warn commuters that the low-level bridge is open for marine traffic and closed to vehicular traffic. Commuters can then use the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.
Vessels should contact the bridge by radio or whistle signal when requesting an opening. Pleasure vessels are requested to use whistle signals as primary contact from 7 a.m. to dusk."
Here is more information than yo uprobably want and does not help you figure out the crazy, insane situation that most of you morning commuters encountered today:
"Bridges and Roadway Structure Bridge Openings
The City of Seattle operates three bascule bridges over the Lake Washington Ship Canal and one swing bridge over the Duwamish River. The openings and closings of these bridges have a major impact on the lives of commuters and boaters.
SDOT wants the use of these bridges to be as easy and convenient as possible. The following information answers frequently asked questions about the bridges, and should help ease the way for both commuters and boaters on their respective routes.
For more information about Seattle Bridges and Roadway Structures, call 206-386-4208.
Bridge Opening Procedure
When requesting a bridge opening from 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM vessels should contact the bridge by radio (marine Band ch 13) or use a whistle signal - one long, one short. Pleasure vessels are requested by the Coast Guard to use a whistle signal from 7:00 AM to dusk. Boaters please see the Rush Hour Schedule below, as bridge openings are restricted during these time periods. For bridge openings after 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM, please see section below titled Bridge Openings by Appointment.
Average Time of Bridge Openings
On the Lake Washington Ship Canal, a bridge opening averages about four (4) minutes, from stopping traffic to letting traffic resume at the end of an opening. Openings of the Spokane Street Swing Bridge average about 10 minutes in length. SDOT appreciates that delays are an inconvenience -- we get stuck in them too!"