3 months earlier than expected, the first major component of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project is officially open to drivers, now that a morning media tour and ceremony are over. The 1st vehicles were project trucks, at 10:17 am, applauded by the SDOT onlookers; the first “unofficial” driver came just a few minutes later:
The $42 million ramp starts with one lane at the top, though it’s wide enough for two once the entire SSVWP is done, according to project manager Stuart Goldsmith; by the time you get to the bottom, there are three lanes – one left turn (south), one to go straight or turn right, one turning right. More to come! (P.S. Apropos to the fact some refer to it as the “Costco” ramp since it provides a direct route from The Bridge, a Costco rep was in the crowd to watch.) ADDED 11:47 AM: Prior to our complete followup later with more details and a look ahead – a few images from the “media tour” pre-opening, all by Christopher Boffoli:
That’s the view from the top of the ramp, looking back at West Seattle (obviously those barrels are gone now). Next, the view looking down toward 4th Avenue:
And the crew putting finishing touches on the traffic signals, up till the last moment:
In addition to City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Sally Clark, plus County Councilmember Jan Drago and SDOT boss Peter Hahn, WSDOT’s leader for the entire Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project, Ron Paananen, was there to help cut the ribbon and say a few words about the role this plays in “viaduct replacement” – with an extra path downtown for West Seattle drivers. We talked to CM Rasmussen about that too.
(The “south portal” section of the Viaduct/99 project itself also has an offramp in the stadium vicinity, just before the entrance to what WSDOT still refers to as “the proposed deep-bore tunnel.”)