Reunited: Panthers Celebrate Opening of West Seattle Bridge


West Seattle Students Describe How They Feel About the Opening of the Bridge

Eamon Mohrbacher, Staff Writer


909 days. For two and a half years, the West Seattle Bridge closure forced numerous Seattle Prep students, teachers, and staff to take aggravating detours, sitting through seemingly unending traffic. That changed on September 18th, as Westside Panthers cruised across the bridge, or similarly benefited from the newfound lack of traffic. West Seattle was finally reunited with the rest of the city.

West Seattle resident and Seattle Prep history teacher, Ms. Cheryl Healy, expressed her elation at the opening of the structure: “Honestly, it’s life changing. My commute time has been cut in half in the morning. It’s 20-30 minutes shorter in the afternoon as well. The drive without the bridge was also very unpredictable – so that was a layer of anxiety that was always present – will it take 45 minutes to get to work or over an hour? You never knew. My mornings feel a lot less stressful now. Also, the view from the bridge is really beautiful. It’s a nice way to start the day!”

Stress is a word Prep West Seattleites largely associate with the closing of the bridge. When polled, 96 percent of Prep students from West Seattle state that their commute was made significantly more stressful by the closing of the bridge. Similarly, 98 percent of these students expressed that the reopening of the bridge has made their commute significantly less stressful.

Senior Julia Krische explained, “The most difficult part was getting done with sports practice and knowing that I had at least a 45 minute drive ahead of me. I felt like I was getting home super late no matter what, which was really exhausting.”

Fellow Senior, Torin Heffernan adds, “I feel very happy and blissful that the bridge is opened. I think the best thing about the bridge being open is just how easy it is to get to places. School is now a 20-minute drive, even at traffic hours. Also, it’s nice not using as much gas to get to school. I think it’s like 10 miles shorter going on the bridge instead of going around.”

There seems to be a benefit of the West Seattle Bridge opening related to almost every aspect of life for the students and staff of West Seattle. As Ellen Krische ’23 shared, “For me, the most difficult part was how much traffic there was on late start days. I would not get to sleep in as much because I would have to leave the house over an hour before school starts.” She continues, “The best part is that I will be more inclined to explore other areas of Seattle because it will not take as long to get there. For example, I went to the Fremont Sunday market last weekend!”

West Seattle residents free up their schedules and add time back to their days. In fact, 89 percent of those polled relayed that the Bridge will now make it a lot easier to see friends or attend events in other parts of the city.

Attendance Director Ms. Fields shared, “Our West Seattle students suffered greatly during the closure of the bridge. Whether in a carpool or the Prep shuttle bus, West Seattle students were frequently late and often missed first block classes altogether. Truly, their mornings did not always go smoothly.”

While it was a struggle for many students and staff, increased stressed levels, and caused annoyance, anger, and frustration, the opening of the West Seattle Bridge reunites many to the rest of Seattle, and brings excitement, relief, and joy with it. As Fields put it, “The West Seattle kids should be proud of their grit and determination during the whole bridge saga. I’m just glad the closure is behind us!”