West Seattle Bridge declared a ‘civil emergency’ by mayor

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has declared the cracked high-rise West Seattle Bridge a civil emergency. The Seattle Times reports the declaration, issued Thursday, may increase the odds of winning federal or state money. Durkan also seeks to speed up repairs or replacement by skipping layers of city regulation regarding competitive bidding, budget limits or employment of temporary workers. Meanwhile, the city’s seven-member engineering panel says it’s possible to repair the 36-year-old concrete bridge, closed since March 23 because of dangerous shear cracks. But the panel’s letter leaves many questions unanswered, such as how many lanes could operate if the bridge is fixed, or whether repairs are affordable.