Update: ‘Milestone’ tonight on Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project – traffic shifting to new bridge deck

Just got word from SDOT about a “milestone” they’re planning overnight tonight during another construction closure of the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct:

Westbound traffic on the Spokane Street Viaduct will be shifted onto the newly constructed bridge deck tomorrow morning, December 23, in advance of the morning commute, marking a major milestone in this multi-year project. The new structure, built adjacent to the current structure, will nearly double the width of the viaduct, adding 41 feet.

Motorists will find the shift to be seamless, maintaining the current two lanes of traffic in each direction; however, the posted travel speed for westbound traffic will be temporarily reduced to 25 miles per hour (down from 35 miles per hour) until the project is completed this coming summer. The remaining construction work requires westbound travel lanes to be narrower than standard lane widths. This, in addition to the presence of construction vehicles entering and exiting travel lanes, requires a lower travel speed for driver safety.

Following this initial traffic shift, the contractor will connect the old and new structures, construct a new center median between the old and new structures, and install new lighting in the median. Over the next few months, eastbound traffic will be shifted from the south side to the north side of the old structure so that the contractor can begin demolition of the existing south barrier. This spring, eastbound traffic will be temporarily moved over to the new viaduct so that the old bridge deck can be repaired and repaved. At that point, eastbound traffic wishing to exit to SODO will still be able to do so, using either the First Avenue S off-ramp or the Fourth Avenue S loop ramp exit.

As we reported previously, the new 1st Avenue South on/offramp on the westbound side is not expected to “fully” open before next summer.

18 Replies to "Update: 'Milestone' tonight on Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project - traffic shifting to new bridge deck"

  • LAP December 22, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    This is exciting news! The SPD will use up lots of ‘ticket books’ (and make lots of money!) writing speeding tickets for the 25MPH speed….since it is nearly impossible to drive the current 35 MPH without having drivers on your rear bumper!! Drivers are not paying attention to the new lower speeds on the viaduct, either!

  • JEM December 22, 2011 (4:53 pm)

    Yeah, everyone is usually going 50 across there anyways.

  • Robert December 22, 2011 (5:27 pm)

    Look forward to WSB video of the new lanes… :-)

    • WSB December 22, 2011 (5:29 pm)

      Wouldn’t miss it :) Perfected the dashcam technique a couple months ago :)

  • JayDee December 22, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    25 mph? YR. Any place to stack the pulled over speeders?

  • jay December 22, 2011 (8:02 pm)

    We noticed the 25mph speed limit posted tonight on the way home…while we were driving 40, with cars passing us going much faster.

  • old timer December 22, 2011 (8:21 pm)

    25 mph? until SUMMER?
    Are they serious?
    Are there speed bumps?
    All the boy racers and their frustrated moms will be burnin’ up the new road.
    This should be fun unless you obey the law, then you are in for some serious tailgate encounters.
    Narrow lanes mean nothing, witness the new viaduct routing.
    That “slow down” sign is really a signal to kick it, and when the roadway
    narrows, they just take what they need out of the other lane.

  • David December 22, 2011 (8:36 pm)

    Will they PLEASE stop slowing down traffic in and out of West Seattle to unmanageable slow speeds. The southern approach to the viaduct and the viaduct are now slower, the hill off the bridge up along Admiral is a stupid low speed, and now the Spokane viaduct is 25??? As people have shown time and time again, they’ll drive what is a safe speed (50-55 on the Alaska Way viaduct, 40 or so on Admiral, 50 or so on the Spokane Street Viaduct). It’s unnecessary to post these low speeds–no one will follow them.

  • metrognome December 22, 2011 (9:12 pm)

    David — I agree completely; people with virtually no working knowledge of the physics of bodies in motion should be allowed to drive as fast as they *think* they can. Heck, while we’re at it, let’s get rid of those pesky stop signs. I mean, people run them all the time, so clearly we don’t need them. And don’t get me started on traffic lights … they just slow traffic down. And pedestrian signals … if they can’t run fast enough to get across the street before I get there, they deserve to spend some time in the hospital.
    Yep, that’s the ticket!

  • SSF December 22, 2011 (9:36 pm)

    It already seems narrow especially when you’re sharing it with semi’s and it sounds like it’s going to be narrower. This should get interesting. Plus nobody goes the speed limit on the bridge unless there is traffic.

  • Brontosaurus December 22, 2011 (9:38 pm)

    Obviously, 25 mph is the “safe speed” or SDOT wouldn’t have posted it. @David, do you think that the general public knows better? It’s not safe to drive 50 on the WS bridge, and it’s not currently safe to drive 50-55 on the viaduct. Personally, I care more about the safety of my passengers and myself (and other motorists) than I do about being late, or getting somewhere maybe a few minutes earlier. I’ll be one of those people obeying the speed limit and you can tailgate me all you want.

  • teachergreg December 23, 2011 (5:00 am)

    I totally agree with david, and based on observed driving habits so does nearly everyone else.

  • Rick December 23, 2011 (8:00 am)

    Reduce speeds on all roads and highways to 25 to save lives and the environment and the whales and the baby seals and warm and fuzzy things and my pet baby turtle Larry and everything else from those horrible gas guzzling SUV’s. It’s your responsibility to plan your day better as it will most likely take most of it to get where you want(ed) to go. But you’ll be safer because we’ve saved you as we know what’s best for you. Please,please,please keep me safe from myself. I made it the first 55 years successfully and now I need someone to protect me from myself for the rest. Now that was just plain fun!!! Happy Holidays.

  • RobertSeattle December 23, 2011 (9:45 am)

    Always amused at the people who have to race around you on the Spokane Viaduct so they can get exactly one car ahead of you in the 2 minute queue to get onto I-5.

  • WestSeattleDrew December 23, 2011 (10:56 am)

    Just when you thought the driving situation in Seattle couldn’t get any worse… 25mph til summer..

  • Matt December 23, 2011 (11:45 am)

    David’s right. I can see slowing down traffic around the chicanes in both directions.
    For the rest of the viaduct, which is completely straight 50-60 makes sense.
    I love Seattle, but we’ve got some of the worst drivers in the country. On a daily basis I see people on the freeway going 60 in the passing lane, blocking traffic, causing people to have to find a way around them, and breaking state law – slower vehicles must stay to the right to allow faster vehicles to pass.

  • rockergirl5678 December 23, 2011 (1:44 pm)

    Having just driven the “new stretch” with a semi not far ahead of me….was actually scary as the semi tires “rubbed up” against the barrier on the right side…and he swereved around the lane to stay in it…good thing I was not next to him. The surface is not seemless but rather uneven and the lanes are way to skinny. Don’t see why they couldn’t have done a better job and I will continue to avoid the stretch as much as I can til this is all done!

    • WSB December 23, 2011 (1:59 pm)

      I did mean to mention in our just-published story with video http://westseattleblog.com/?p=96084 that the road surface is indeed bumpy – our video-camera work can be shaky even in the best of circumstances (unless we’re using the tripod) but in this case, it was bonafide unavoidable bumpiness … TR

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