Traffic update: Southbound 99 lanes all open now, says Metro

March 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm | In Alaskan Way Viaduct, West Seattle news | 41 Comments

(Added 6:30 pm – photo courtesy Dan Murphy)
5:25 PM: Hearing this from multiple sources – a stalled or broken-down bus (one person says it’s a 56) is blocking a lane on southbound Highway 99 around S. Atlantic, so it’s much slower going out of downtown than usual. If you haven’t left yet, you might consider an alternate route TFN.

6:20 PM UPDATE: As commenters point out, this hasn’t cleared yet. Metro has just tweeted that 99-traveling buses are delayed. Two commenters have mentioned reroutes. Thanks again to everyone who texted/tweeted/called/e-mailed about this.

6:39 PM UPDATE: According to a tweet from Metro, all lanes of southbound 99 are now open.

41 Comments

  1. Just sat through 10 lights at 1st and Columbia. Saw the metro bus tow truck go up the ramp with lights flashing.

    Comment by Jsv — 5:27 pm March 1, 2012 #

  2. What lane is the bus in? Thank you for reporting this!

    Comment by Michelle — 5:28 pm March 1, 2012 #

  3. yup. we’re a 56x. sorry everyone.

    Comment by bc — 5:31 pm March 1, 2012 #

  4. It’s taken 22 minutes so far to get from 3rd. & Spring to 3rd & Columbia on the southbound 120. It’s VERY slow going…

    Comment by K2 — 5:32 pm March 1, 2012 #

  5. Been sitting on a 21 downtown for about 25 minutes now and only at 3rd and Marion.

    Comment by Mdo — 5:32 pm March 1, 2012 #

  6. Rock stars, as usual!

    Just looked out my window and (for some reason) went to KOMO and the Times to see what might be up – nothing.

    WSB – on it!

    Comment by watertowerjoey — 5:34 pm March 1, 2012 #

  7. Just talked to the bus driver of 120. He didn’t know the cause of the slow-down (thank you WSB for the info!) and no one from metro had communicated with him yet. I asked if they were allowed to take an alternate route given the known blockage; he said no, as I figured, but it was worth a shot!

    Comment by K2 — 5:38 pm March 1, 2012 #

  8. Try the Water Taxi: It’s running on time.

    Comment by Clayton — 5:47 pm March 1, 2012 #

  9. Yes, it is true. I am stuck on a 54 at 2nd and Marion. No real movement for 20 mins. Other commuters may want to consider water taxi if feasible. Sigh.

    Comment by stuck — 5:49 pm March 1, 2012 #

  10. Just past the broken down bus, riding the 120 southbound. Thankfully it’s wide open after there and we’re finally really moving! It’s been over 40 min since I left 3rd & Spring.

    Comment by K2 — 5:52 pm March 1, 2012 #

  11. Third ave is gridlock. On a 55 that has barely moved. Overheard the bus driver say there may be a medical emergency on third ave as well as a broken down bus on the viaduct. Pack your patience.

    Comment by Babs6987 — 6:02 pm March 1, 2012 #

  12. 6:05 leaving 2nd and Columbia on rt 54. I’ll post upon arrival in the Junction.

    Comment by AH1 — 6:05 pm March 1, 2012 #

  13. …and we just peeled off onto 1st at the last second. Should be fun!

    Comment by AH1 — 6:10 pm March 1, 2012 #

  14. I have been on the 54 for 35 min. Cauught it at Bell and have’t even passed Marion yet. The driver is now reading a magazine. Doesn’t look good. Where is SPD to direct? Find an alt route and godspeed!

    Comment by Brody — 6:13 pm March 1, 2012 #

  15. 54 driver taking alternate route. Applause all around!

    Comment by Brody — 6:16 pm March 1, 2012 #

  16. on the 54 re route to I5! finally! sat on 3rd for 30 min! woohoo on my way home!

    Comment by nizzle — 6:18 pm March 1, 2012 #

  17. 99 still looks backed up from the water taxi -we’re leaving a few minutes late.

    Comment by asteria — 6:20 pm March 1, 2012 #

  18. WTF ! How difficult can it be to tow the bus ? This is exactly what we worried about when the detour was put in place. The WSDOT said ” we will tow immediately any blocking vehicle”. I have been stuck three times now and never yet have seen WSDOT do what was promised up front.

    Comment by Jack Loblaw — 6:34 pm March 1, 2012 #

  19. Junction.

    Comment by AH1 — 6:37 pm March 1, 2012 #

  20. Metro just tweeted that “all lanes are now open,” so apparently the bus has been towed or restarted – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:38 pm March 1, 2012 #

  21. Remember a vote for a monorail??
    Mass transit using same pavement….as cars

    Light rail not coming soon enough

    And bus drivers with lots of responsibilty and no authority

    Comment by not in traffic — 6:41 pm March 1, 2012 #

  22. You’re lucky to have gone via I5, Nizzle. The 55 has opted for the low bridge. Slow moving, but we’re moving. What an adventure those 56x’ers must have had (or maybe still having?)!

    Comment by Donna — 6:44 pm March 1, 2012 #

  23. I saw a 55 on the merge lane to West Seattle Fre-Bridge from SB I-5 and was thinking “what???”…now I know what was up. I am glad I was driving today (rare) rather than on the 56X…

    Comment by JayDee — 6:46 pm March 1, 2012 #

  24. I sat through this mess too. Unfortunately it was not much worse than a normal evening commute. The sad fact is that our daily grind is now 100 times worse than “Viadoom” ever was.

    If you don’t leave for work before 7am, you are hosed. And coming home is a nightmare from 330 on. Truly agonizing

    Comment by Doug — 6:53 pm March 1, 2012 #

  25. All of it, into perpetuity, will be a mess, before/during/after the completion of the boondoggle that is The Tunnel.
    On the one hand, we face gridlock and congestion, on the other, extended delays and wasted time/fuel– I pray we make the right decision.

    Comment by ILoveWestSeattle — 6:55 pm March 1, 2012 #

  26. One and three quarters hours from Ballard to the Junction. No. Fun. At. All. There are two other stalled cars in the back up, an old style Honda in the R lane just as the Western onramp merges onto 99, and then a beat up pick up truck halfway between there and Columbia on ramp. Take alternate routes, even though the bus has been cleared!

    Comment by LAintheJunction — 7:00 pm March 1, 2012 #

  27. I hopped a 54X at 3rd and Bell around 5:40. We got to to Spring(ish) and 6:06 the driver announced the obvious and opened the doors; we thanked him and started to walk. A few of us followed the 21/22 route past the stadiums, hoping to be at a stop when jam broke free. I hopped a 21 under the overpass by the stadium and we had made it to 1st and Lander when travel was halted, again. Our bus driver must’ve been overcome by the wave of our impatience and made his way to some alley and into the bowels of an industrial wasteland. We just (6:56) deboarded the bus at 35th and Avalon. A car is waiting by the curb, in front of the bus stop. As I was stepping off, the driver smashed his horn and said ‘not after traffic like that, we should go postal on them…from the bus.’ Entertaining!

    Comment by Clint — 7:01 pm March 1, 2012 #

  28. I have to wonder how immediate any tow could possibly be, really. I mean, first the tow truck has to GET to the bus, which is blocking traffic, which piles up, and…you see where this is going, I’m sure.
    .
    Sympathies to everyone who got stuck.

    Comment by datamuse — 7:07 pm March 1, 2012 #

  29. Teamster in house towing deal. They should outsource it.

    Comment by Mark — 7:08 pm March 1, 2012 #

  30. sounded like a nightmare. husband had a 1.25 hour bus ride. on the 125

    Comment by sam-c — 7:19 pm March 1, 2012 #

  31. It wasn’t that bad, really. I caught a 125 at Columbia at 5:30 and made it to Delridge and Andover by 5:50. The tow truck was present when we went by.

    Comment by Kelly — 8:10 pm March 1, 2012 #

  32. It really was bad. I got on 99 just before the Battery St. Tunnel around 4:50 and didn’t get back to WS till 6:00 pm. Anyone know what time the bus broke down? I *think* I heard that it had been there a couple of hours at about 5:20..

    Comment by Franci — 9:50 pm March 1, 2012 #

  33. Every day will be like this when there’s only a 2-lane tunnel.

    Comment by PSPS — 9:53 pm March 1, 2012 #

  34. PSPS, the two lane tunnel will not be like that everyday. Possibly when a METRO bus breaks down and blocks everything like today. I’m sure you wish it was the larger tunnel we originally had planned for over a decade ago and a bunch of people whined about and now it’s more expensive and smaller (great job guys).
    .
    I needed a tow tonight. Unfortunately I was on the other end of town and my tow driver was stuck on 99. Soooo, 5 hours later I’m now home!

    Comment by Mike — 10:08 pm March 1, 2012 #

  35. PSPS, we already have a 2-lane tunnel on 99. It’s called the Battery Street Tunnel.

    Comment by Paul — 5:51 am March 2, 2012 #

  36. that’s good Kelly- sounds like you got to avoid the 3rd ave back up

    Comment by sam-c — 8:06 am March 2, 2012 #

  37. Metro slogan “We’ll Get You There”! Eventually.

    Comment by KT — 8:45 am March 2, 2012 #

  38. that sounds good for you Kelly, you didn’t have to wait on the bus through the mess on 3rd ave.

    Comment by sam-c — 8:53 am March 2, 2012 #

  39. Because of where the tunnel entrances and exits are, there are no current routes that would even take the tunnel. (The bus image on the pro-tunnel campaign signs last year was a falsehood.) It would mean a new route that bypasses downtown, which is rare these days but Metro does seem to be thinking more about those types of routes.
    .
    Downtown buses post-tunnel will most likely run through city streets until they get on either I-5, the 1st Ave S on-ramp, or the low bridge.

    Comment by mightymo — 9:02 am March 2, 2012 #

  40. Way to be on it WSB! Yesterday was crazy. I have no idea why the bus was sitting on the truck so long not being towed. I wish local radio stations would report on 99. It’s a major roadway!

    Comment by Amanda — 11:34 am March 2, 2012 #

  41. Post-tunnel, I believe the express buses from downtown to WS should be hopping on 99 near the stadiums–after snaking through the downtown gridlock:(.

    Comment by Neo-Realist — 3:35 pm March 2, 2012 #

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