The West Sammamish River Bridge project’s website features a live video feed of traffic along the bridge. Screenshot courtesy of

The West Sammamish River Bridge project’s website features a live video feed of traffic along the bridge. Screenshot courtesy of

COVID-19 outbreak creates silver lining for Kenmore’s West Sammamish River Bridge project

With low traffic volumes, construction crews have been able to extend road closures and work more efficiently.

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have brought many things to a standstill, one thing that has not stopped is the West Sammamish River Bridge construction project in Kenmore.

The project will replace the existing southbound bridge across the Sammamish River and include “the construction of new sidewalk and bike facilities on the west side of the road,” between Northeast 170th Street and Northeast 175th Street, according to the project website. The project will also include new signals at Northeast 170th Street and Northeast 175th Street, new streetlighting, utility undergrounding and new landscaping.

John Vicente, city engineer for Kenmore, said construction crews from Tacoma-based Ceccanti, Inc. are currently making preparations to start demolishing portions of the existing bridge. He said they have a short span of time — the months of July and August — when they will be able to work in the Sammamish River. This is called a fish window and indicates when permitting agencies have determined work in the river will have the least impact on spawning salmon, Vicente said. He added that there is no flexibility when it comes to the fish window.

The bridge project had been delayed a year due to the 2019 federal government shutdown. As previously reported, the shutdown delayed permit approval from the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Park Service, which were both furloughed and accumulated a backlog of requests as a result.

To make sure they can complete the work they need to do during the fish window, Vicente said a lot of work is being done in advance.

Currently, northbound and southbound traffic along the bridge are allowed and Vicente said they don’t anticipate completely closing the bridge to traffic, barring any emergencies.

He said while drivers can expect delays, a silver lining in the middle of the current pandemic is that traffic is relatively light with so many people staying home. Crews have been able to close lanes without too much of an impact on commuters. In addition, Vicente said they have also extended usual lane closure hours so crews are able to get more done in a day.

Drivers can check bridge traffic thanks to a live video feed on the project website.

According to the project website, the construction team is also working on Saturdays “for the foreseeable future.” This weekend work was authorized by the city to keep the project on schedule and take advantage of low traffic volumes.

The site states that typical weekend construction hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but “mobilization and light work may start earlier and extend later.” Drivers can expect to see the west side of the bridge reduced to a single lane as crews continue demolition of the west sidewalk. The speed limit has also been reduced to 25 mph throughout the work zone for the safety of the public and construction team. This speed limit applies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to the project website, construction began in March and is scheduled to be completed in late 2022, although Vicente said, “everything is contingent upon the COVID-19 virus.” As a result of the outbreak, he said there have been delays up their supply chain as some suppliers have closed for the time being while others are short staffed.

“We do not know how this is going to have an impact on the project timeline,” Vicente said about the pandemic, adding that the saving grace has been the reduction of traffic that has allowed them to work more efficiently.

He said construction crews are practicing social distancing when they can but in some cases, they need to be close together to do their work. And in these cases, Vicente said they do what they can to protect themselves.

Vicente said the West Sammamish River Bridge construction project will cost $43 million. According to the project website, $12 million is from the Federal Highway Administrations Highway Bridge Programs; $7 million is from the state Transportation Improvement Board; $1.6 million is from the Surface Transportation Program and $12 million is from the Connection Washington State Fund. Additional funding comes from the city of Kenmore, Northshore Utility District and other utilities within the project limits.

The city of Kenmore has created a website for some of its major construction projects, including the West Sammamish River Bridge, Juanita Drive Northeast pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements and 68th Avenue Northeast pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

For more information, visit, email or call 425-201-4147.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Local restaurants have had to adapt to new rules during the COVID pandemic. Pictured: JP’s Tavern in Federal Way’s turkey club sandwich with a side of tater tots. File photo
State lawmakers propose bill to fast-track the governor’s reopening plan

Bill’s sponsors want to give legislature control over COVID-19 restrictions.

Fentanyl. (Courtesy photo)
King County reports record numbers of drug overdose deaths

Preliminary toxicology testing shows most overdose victims used multiple types of drugs.

Jay Inslee takes the oath of office for his third term as governor. (Governor Jay Inslee)
Governor Inslee: We are going forward toward a ‘new normal’

At the start of an historic third term, the governor is charting a course out of the pandemic.

The ballistic-missile submarine USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730) arrives home at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a strategic deterrent patrol in this 2015 file photo. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura/Released)
What could Biden’s nuclear policy look like?

King County sits only miles away from one-third of the deployed U.S. nuclear arsenal.

State representatives respond to roll call during an online meeting before their swearing in on Friday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Other state representatives respond to roll call over a virtual meeting before their swearing in on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Click to unmute: Legislators prepare for an online session

State lawmakers will work remotely as they tackle COVID-19, economic recovery, police reform and more.

File photo.
King County to expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts

“16,000 adults must be vaccinated every day for six months,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr
Seattle renters seek cheaper rent in surrounding cities

One factor includes the ability to work remotely, according to housing economist.

Courtesy of the Department of Health
State health officials announce next steps for vaccines

From the Washington State Department of Health: On Jan. 6, the Washington… Continue reading

Most Read