E-mail asking “what’s that ramp being built alongside the West Seattle Bridge?” reminded us it’s been a while since the last formal update on the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project. The first phase involves that ramp you can see while driving the stretch of The Bridge between 99 and I-5; it will bring traffic off the eastbound bridge onto 4th, with one lane turning southbound (toward Costco), the other turning northbound (toward SODO and downtown). When we checked in with SDOT to ask about a construction photo – receiving the ones you see in this story – Marybeth Turner shared the brand-new mailer that should land in 35,000 West Seattle and SODO mailboxes today and tomorrow. In it: Dates are set for some key closures related to the projects – including one that’s happening sooner than first announced:
(date updated at noon) JANUARY 22: That’s when the two-phase shutdown of the rest of lower westbound Spokane Street will begin — first the road will be closed between 6th and 4th Avenues South; then February 1st, the closure will extend to East Marginal Way. SDOT says the closure will continue until the project is complete in 2012; the westbound side is where the new structure, doubling the width of the Spokane Street Viaduct, will be built.
(date updated at noon) JANUARY 22: The second major shutdown is a permanent one – the offramp to 4th Avenue South from the westbound SSV will be closed and demolished.
MAY: The exact date isn’t finalized yet, but this is when the ramp from 1st/Spokane to the westbound bridge will be permanently closed. Once that happens, until the new 1st Avenue South on/offramp is ready in late 2011, you will have to use either I-5 or 99 to get onto The Bridge.
SDOT also says you’ll see lane closures from time to time along the way, and temporary ramp closures such as one coming up January 22-24, 10 pm-6 am each night, from southbound I-5 to The Bridge. It’s not all about shutdowns, though – this summer, eastbound lower Spokane Street will reopen, and this fall is when the new 4th Avenue ramp will be ready to go.
This is all detailed in the flyer that’s just been mailed; if you don’t want to wait for it, you can see the whole thing here. (Our archived coverage of the Spokane Street Viaduct project is here.) NOON UPDATE: The city has sent a formal announcement of all this to media – and has already changed a couple of dates this morning; SDOT now says the 4th offramp and lower Spokane from 6th to 4th will all close on the same date, January 22. Read on to see the latest construction schedule from the news release – and note, these changes were made AFTER the aforementioned mailer went out, so they supersede what you will see if/when you get it:
Fourth Avenue South Off-ramp: Crews will permanently close the Fourth Avenue South off-ramp from the westbound South Spokane Street Viaduct (upper roadway). Drivers that now use the ramp can still access the SODO area as follows:
* From southbound I-5, exit at South Forest Street (before the West Seattle Bridge exit). Turn right on 6th Avenue South. Turn left on South Lander to access 4th Avenue South.
* From northbound I-5, take exit 163 for the West Seattle Bridge. At the fork, stay right to exit toward Spokane Street/Safeco Field/Qwest Field. Merge onto lower South Spokane Street. Continue until 6th Avenue South and then follow the detour signs to 4th Avenue South.
* From South Columbian Way, head towards I-5. Follow signs for the West Seattle Bridge. Follow the signs for South Spokane Street/6th Avenue South then follow the detour signs to 4th Avenue South.
* Heading westbound on the West Seattle Bridge, take the Harbor Island exit. Follow the “U-turn route” sign. Continue to East Marginal Way.
Westbound South Spokane Street (lower roadway): Starting January 22, crews will close the westbound lane of South Spokane Street between Sixth Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South. This closure is a few months earlier than planned to accommodate essential utility relocations. On February 1 crews will extend the closure to East Marginal Way and the roadway will remain closed until the project is complete in 2012. The contractor will maintain local access to businesses and all businesses on South Spokane Street will remain open during construction.
January 22 through January 23
I-5 Off-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge: Crews will close the southbound I-5 off-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge each night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to install barriers (last closure to end morning of January 24). Drivers headed from southbound I-5 to West Seattle may take the following detour:
* Exit southbound I-5 at South Forest Street (before the exit to the West Seattle Bridge). Turn right on Sixth Avenue South. Turn left on South Lander. Turn left at First Avenue South. Turn right at Spokane Street to access the on-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge.
January 22, 2010 to May 2012
Periodic Closures: Drivers should expect periodic lane closures while crews complete construction work, to include:
* Nighttime closures of the ramp from southbound I-5 to the westbound South Spokane Street Viaduct.
* Occasional nighttime lane closures in each direction of the South Spokane Street Viaduct. At least one lane will remain open in each direction at all times.
* Lane closures of East Marginal Way South, First Avenue South, Fourth Avenue South, Fifth Avenue South and Sixth Avenue South near South Spokane Street when needed.
South Spokane Street Viaduct On-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge: Crews will permanently close the westbound South Spokane Street Viaduct on-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge near First Avenue South. Drivers should access the West Seattle Bridge via SR 99 and/or I-5 until the new on- and off-ramps at First Avenue South are completed and open for use in late 2011.