First, those 6 live cameras (refresh this page any time for the latest images and info); scroll down to see frequent 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)
6:15 AM: Here we go, one more time. Our WSDOT pal Erin is doing a live radio interview and saying more cars are out there … and also says the project could switch over by tomorrow morning to three lanes closed. She says commuter complacency could be a “recipe for disaster.”
6:19 AM: The WSDOT update just posted here says, “It’s taking drivers approximately seven minutes to get from Albro to Holgate. This is twice the time it usually takes, and a direct result of the increased volumes this morning.” Could this morning finally bring the feared Commutastrophe?
6:35 AM: Not too bad past the construction zone. TV traffic report echoes what WSDOT’s Erin said earlier – might as well start worrying about tomorrow and the potential additional lane closure already.
6:40 AM: Times I-5 blog hasn’t updated since 3:46 pm yesterday, at which time they mentioned the Water Taxi “mobile farebox” Dow C’s people told us all about on Monday, as well as interesting bus numbers. As for today’s traffic — TV says The Viaduct looks great, even as I-5 continues to bog down (10 mph past construction zone).
6:47 AM: Those radio people are getting complacent too. They just spent three minutes interviewing somebody from this “geek dating” website. Although as geeks, we might be interested if we weren’t happily coupled. On the traffic front, sounds like 405 is again the place to avoid. On our bridge, the viaduct exit looks a little busy, but not horrifically backed up yet.
6:51 AM: Southbound I-5 could be a problem – stalled car reported at Spokane Street.
6:57 AM: Latest travel-time report, “an extra five or six minutes to get through the construction zone.” WS Bridge continues looking good. Crystal-clear sky again today, don’t forget the shades, whichever commute method you’re using.
7:01 AM: A traffic reporter used a scary phrase … “pretty darn slow.” WS Bridge drivers appear to be behaving, however.
7:10 AM: WSDOT says 1.5-mile backup on NB I-5 through construction zone, to Albro. If you’re joining the freeway from the WS Bridge, things still aren’t too bad … the left lane is even open just past the Viaduct exit.
7:20 AM: TV traffic reporter says 99 is still moving better than I-5, where the “construction zone” backup is now described as about 11 mins. On camera patrol, 1st/Marginal looks busy, not bad coming over the S. Park bridge.
7:28 AM: I-5 construction zone now declared “stop and go.” WS spots continue looking light – check out Fauntleroy/Alaska, often clog city by now, not today.
7:33 AM: Bridge offramp to The Viaduct now in its customary backup. WSDOT people back on the radio warning again about tomorrow — yet another lane may be closed at 5 — weather is supposed to be worse too — if you tried evasive action this past Monday, tomorrow’s the day to try it again.
7:46 AM: The Bridge is starting to look a little ugly heading toward I-5 as well as toward 99.
7:52 AM: As a distraction from commute angst, here’s the best clip ever from the old local comedy show “Almost Live” — the “Ballard Driving Academy.” Had to find it after the Big Blog started a thread about “Almost Live,” which is what taught us about neighborhood quirks (some of which don’t even apply any more) when we moved here in the early ’90s.
8:01 AM: WSDOT has switched the Holgate (construction zone) cam to look head-on at approaching drivers. A little closer and you could probably see faces. Scowling, most likely. Good news for West Seattle — our bridge looks better.
8:08 AM: Radio traffic report says there’s a stalled vehicle in the construction zone on NB 5. Meantime, we’re sending the WSB road crew to see how the Water Taxi looks for the morning’s last run.
8:17 AM: Our original radio choice is now wasting time on another non-traffic topic so we are switching. The other alternative reports that First and Fourth are a little slower than usual but nothing horrific. Cam at 3rd/Lander a little busy, however.
8:25 AM: Bridge ramp to I-5, no problem. WSDOT says that stall in the construction zone has been “cleared.” (Sounds ominous. Dematerialization beam, perhaps.) Road crew says the Water Taxi dock looks “deserted,” with one run left to go for the morning. Photo shortly.
8:36 AM: Our new radio choice says it’s staying in touch with a cabbie. No specifics on his commute except that he is following alternative routes and avoiding backups. Bridge watch: Thumbs-up. I-5 ramp watch: Same.
8:49 AM: Last check. The Bridge is slightly busier (people going in late?). Commutastrophe averted for another day. But beware that additional lane closure tomorrow. Before we go, here’s the WSB road crew photo from Seacrest, where a flock of Water Taxi shuttles was sighted (though few passengers in view):