Were you in a car accident on Monday, December 2, 2013 on the West Seattle Bridge? Did the circumstances surrounding your accident seem strange? You may be the victim of an error made by the Seattle Department of Transportation and could be entitled to compensation.
On the morning of December 2, the SDOT decided to pre-treat several bridges in the city because weather forecasts that day were calling for hail or sleet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and then freezing temperatures around 5 p.m. Steve Pratt, SDOT director of street maintenance, said they wanted to get ahead of the poor weather and apply de-icer to the West Seattle Bridge. Unfortunately, the operator that applied the de-icer did so at twice the appropriate rate, setting the dial at 30 instead of 15.
Because the temperature ended up being warmer than expect, and the magnesium chloride mixture was applied at double the rate, the de-icer created a slippery surface for drivers. There were at least three car accidents, but Joe Kessler, the Seattle police commander for the southwest precinct, said that there were more accidents that did not get reported and the drivers just exchanged information.
When SPD sergeants arrived at the bridge, they were slipping too, and they soon realized something was wrong with the surface of the bridge. The bridge was shut down between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and the SDOT applied sand over the road. In the future, the SDOT plans to modify their procedures for daytime de-icer applications by using dynamic message signs and having police officers warn drivers that a de-icer was used.