Freeway Fright ’07: Tuesday morning commute updates

August 14, 2007 at 8:44 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 15 Comments

Again this morning, here are 6 live cameras (refresh this page any time for the latest images and info), and commute updates below them:

(l to r below: latest from cams over WS Bridge midspan looking east, WS Br. I-5 ramps, I-5 @ Spokane Street in whichever direction WSDOT chooses to point it)


(l to r below: latest from cams looking east @ Low Bridge approach, Alaskan Way @ Washington, 99 @ 1st Avenue S bridge)

6:04 AM: WSDOT says the work is one-fourth done. And it’s sharing good news for people who travel through Renton: the Rainier Avenue South work there is finished, two days ahead of schedule. As for the freeways — ground and chopper shots show smooth sailing again in the early going.

6:11 AM: Uh-oh, more cars in the construction zone, according to the I-5/Holgate cam.

6:18 AM: South of there, the I-5/Spokane cam looks more jammed too, though chopper crews are describing it as “three extra minutes,” so no panic yet.

6:26 AM: Viaduct still in good shape. WSDOT says the construction zone is now backed up “about a mile” and notes that some drivers are “confused about the traffic split between the right lane and the other two through lanes. Drivers can use the right lane to stay on northbound I-5.”

6:34 AM: Drivers on our side appear to be heeding the “don’t go back to your old ways yet” pleas. Bridge moving well. So is the ramp to NB 5.

6:41 AM: DOT says traffic is moving 20 mph on NB 5 from Albro through the construction zone. The ramp to 5 from WS Bridge still good. 99 @ the 1st S bridge is described as “a little heavier than normal.”

6:46 AM: Weird that the Times has a commute blog but no updates (as of this moment) since 6:57 last night. OK, snark aside, here’s our favorite bridge shot. The left side shows folks coming out of WS. Nice for this hour.

6:54 AM: The Viaduct exit on The Bridge is now starting to look normal (aka jammed) for this time of day.

7:01 AM: Bus riders, did you know there’s an online tool to track if your bus is on time? As for the roads, Viaduct exit still backed up, things looking decent heading past there toward I-5. First report from the Water Taxi dock: Running a few minutes behind schedule – 6:50 am run left a few minutes late.

7:06 AM: Cams are watching 1st Avenue S too – so far so good. I-5 “through the construction zone” is still not bumper-to-bumper; Viaduct offramp from The Bridge looking a little better now.

7:14 AM: Still no major snarling. Southbound traffic on 1st at Marginal is a little busy; this cam also looks toward the 1st Ave S bridge. Over I-5, latest chopper reports still indicate traffic is near the speed limit. Room to breathe on the bridge at last look.

7:28 AM: Big lines for Water Taxi ‘s 7:30 run. It will be a few minutes late; the boat isn’t there yet.

7:39 AM: The bridge and other routes still in good shape.

7:54 AM: WSB Road Crew just back from checking out the 7:30 water taxi run firsthand. Photos to follow. It was going to leave at least 10 minutes behind schedule; didn’t pull in till 7:36. Meantime, no road trouble on the key routes. For our fellow south West Seattleites, Fauntleroy heading from Morgan Junction all the way to the bridge looked like a holiday or weekend when we traveled it a few minutes ago.

8:01 AM: Chopper reporters say the Viaduct (which is largely a camera-free zone) is slowing a little. Cams show the Bridge still “wide open.” Here are those Water Taxi pix; first, the boat arriving at 7:36 as mentioned above; second, the line on the dock, from quite a distance — we couldn’t park any closer than the far side of Salty’s, so this is thanks to our modest zoom. There were dozens up along the boathouse too; will be interesting to hear later how today’s numbers went.

wttuesday.jpg

wtdocktues.jpg

8:12 AM: WSB road crew is heading out to see the bridge/viaduct firsthand. Does sound like (dare we say) Commutastrophe (we also like “Carpocalypse”) has been averted for a second day.

8:44 AM: WSB road crew reports seven minutes from the Fauntleroy end of The Bridge to the Battery Street Tunnel end of The Viaduct.

15 Comments

  1. Definitely more cars on I-5 today than yesterday when I went through at 5:30AM. It was inevitable that people would readjust after I-5 was incredibly light yesterday and alternative routes were packed tight (lack of parking at Sounder station and water taxi, ferry sailings full, buses and trains SRO, 405 & 509 crawling, etc). By Friday, we should reach equilibrium.

    My commute from West Seattle to Canyon Park isn’t well served (ok, barely served at all) by mass transit, so I’ll continue to leave an hour or more early to get through the construction zone.

    Comment by huindekmi — 6:58 am August 14, 2007 #

  2. My bus commute was only slightly slower than yesterday, but still better than normal. Wish it could always be like this!

    Comment by Sue — 8:08 am August 14, 2007 #

  3. I am so impressed with all the West Seattlites pulling together to make what could have been a nightmare into a dream! Thank you so much WSB for the fantastic updates!

    Comment by MEB — 8:49 am August 14, 2007 #

  4. I took the 7:37am #54 from California and SW Juneau and still had no problem.

    Comment by NATINSTL — 9:00 am August 14, 2007 #

  5. I just missed the water taxi shuttle at Admiral & CA at 7:05 so I caught the 56 express instead…it was pretty jammed but I still got a seat and it sailed into downtown! I walked into my office at 7:30 a.m.! Does anyone know the passenger count from the 7:30 water taxi? What about the 5:20 from last night?

    Comment by T — 9:23 am August 14, 2007 #

  6. *Yawn* Can we move on to some real news already?

    Comment by Delivery Dude — 9:39 am August 14, 2007 #

  7. This is reminds me of all the Mount St. Helens hype a while back and the anti-climatic lack of eruptions.

    Comment by hello insomnia — 9:56 am August 14, 2007 #

  8. The 5:20 from last night was “almost” at capacity. The line stretched around the pier along the street.

    Today’s 6:50am was running about 10 minutes late by the time it loaded which was enough to make me late for work. I may try a 6:30 driving commute rather than trying to catch the earlier one…

    Comment by wundrgrrrl — 10:12 am August 14, 2007 #

  9. wundrgrrrl – Trying to find out what caused the 6:50 to leave late this morning. The regular schedule doesn’t have a lot of play in it, so any additional delay in crossing, docking, unloading or loading can cause it to slip a bit.

    Comment by Dow Constantine — 10:32 am August 14, 2007 #

  10. The 7:30 water taxi had 102 people on board, and left a bit late.

    Comment by Lauren — 10:59 am August 14, 2007 #

  11. I think Dow is either going to be head of DOT or the Navy in the next Democratic Cabinet. :-)

    Comment by RobertSeattle — 11:03 am August 14, 2007 #

  12. I hope the relatively easy transition to “emergency mode” doesn’t give our city and state officials a further reason to pursue a surface option for the viaduct.

    Comment by Dis — 12:13 pm August 14, 2007 #

  13. Update from the Constantine office: This morning’s 7:30 taxi did indeed have 102 riders. There were 401 total riders on the five morning runs on Tuesday, as compared with 587 on Monday. Last night’s busiest run (which I’m assuming was the 5:20, based on T’s description) had 105 riders–all well within the Water Taxi’s expanded capacity. The first two Water Taxi runs from West Seattle this morning left a bit late, but service was back on schedule after that.

    Comment by James Bush — 1:32 pm August 14, 2007 #

  14. Thanks for the update — we were about to e-mail you guys to inquire about the newest numbers. Just for the record, since we saw it with our own eyes — the third run this morning was a “bit late” too — as we posted in our running commute commentary, it didn’t even pull up to the dock until about 7:36. Not a major delay, though! Now we are trying to figure out how to get a take on whether more people were commuting by bicycle these past few days. Perhaps impossible to quantify?

    Comment by WSB — 2:05 pm August 14, 2007 #

  15. well, it’s 2:20 on Tuesday afternoon, and this is the first time I checked on traffic today. It surely does pay to live and work at home….in West Seattle. My commute….to the shower, to the kitchen, to my computer…gotta love it :)
    Thanks for all these updates, though. You do a fantastic, wondrous job keeping everyone informed. we really do need to give you a medal :)

    Comment by Jan — 2:25 pm August 14, 2007 #

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