Seattle scales back bridge earthquake retrofit work

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Department of Transportation now says reinforcing 16 bridges to better withstand eartquakes would cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than once expected. The Seattle Times reports that instead of 16 bridges, the city now plans to complete seismic retrofits on 11, leaving locations like the Ballard and Fremont bridges off the list. All told, the estimate for retrofitting the 16 bridges increased from $67 million to $731 million. City transportation officials say deeper study of the bridges revealed expensive work related to the foundations that run underground and are surrounded by soil that can be at risk of liquefying during an earthquake.