Project updates from Viaduct/South Portal Working Group meeting

Every few months, WSDOT convenes the “stakeholders” known as the South Portal Working Group to get a briefing on what’s up with the south end of the Highway 99/Viaduct/Tunnel project and everything that ties into it. They got together again late today at the usual meeting spot, Sound Transit‘s board room at King Street Station. Ahead, toplines of potential West Seattle interest:


*Approaching 90 percent completion, says SDOT project manager Stuart Goldsmith. The project is now expected to be done in “early September.” The new westbound 1st Avenue South ramp won’t fully open till then.

*May 22nd is the date expected for reopening the 4th Avenue eastbound exit, and then closing the 1st Avenue South eastbound ramp for another 6 to 8 weeks.

*Exit confusion where the bridge meets 99 (and truckers going rogue): They’re still working on signage – covering the ones that point them to the Spokane St. Viaduct for I-5.


*WSDOT’s Matt Preedy says the first set of girders for the northbound bridge was set last night – right now both directions are running on the semi-recently-completed bridge that will eventually carry southbound traffic. They have met the milestone of “100 percent up out of the ground,” said Preedy, and are on track to complete the bridge and shift traffic onto it by fall of this year – earlier than what they thought last year.


*Bids will be opened later this month; this overpass bridge is to be complete by end of next year. How will bicycles get along? Preedy was asked. The path back to West Seattle will be “detoured a little further to the west” during construction.


*On track for completion by June.


*Still expected to reopen by the end of the year.


*One group member pointed out that the possibility completely tousles what’s been under discussion here for a very long time – 4 extra “events” a week – and wondered if it had been adequately discussed among transportation managers.

*The arena came up, by the way, in a new “what’s on your mind?” section of the meeting. Some members including West Seattle’s Pete Spalding had suggested the group’s meetings needed more time to listen to actual concerns regarding the south end traffic situation, and less on presentations that might or might not directly affect them.


*Wednesday or Thursday of next week, the detour announced last week – with the demonsration video repeated above – will take effect, and will be in effect until at least early 2014, “possibly longer, depending on the city’s seawall-replacement schedule,” Preedy says. Traffic will be under the Viaduct all the way to Madison. If continuing north, you veer over, and by Spring Street, you’re back in the current Alaskan Way lans. Through traffic will be southbound one lane; northbound, part two, part one. They will implement “bumper to bumper” ferry queueing on the dock, which means 100 more cars, with the help of an on-dock supervisor. There’s 100 extra potential spaces using some street/curb space.

*East/west, they will feed people directly off the dock with more options including going straight through and accessing 2nd Avenue Extension. The bike path will be on the east side of the viaduct path from Jackson to Yesler, but north of that, the bike path will cross the detoured Yesler then cross again at Madison. West Seattle group member Vlad Oustimovitch worried that would be creating a lot of “bicycle/vehicle conflicts” in the short run. He called the detour-and-detour again plan “convoluted.” WSDOT says they’re most concerned about safety. The sidewalk on the west side of Alaskan Way will remain open, but it’s not wide enough to be the primary route.


*About 66 on-street metered parking spots are being created between Spring and Pike along Alaskan Way. That’s about a third of the 200 lost under The Viaduct.

9 Replies to "Project updates from Viaduct/South Portal Working Group meeting"

  • RP May 3, 2012 (9:49 am)

    Hey, how’s the South Park bridge coming along? I’d sure like to see all the diverted traffic back where it belongs.

  • WS commuter May 3, 2012 (11:04 am)

    WSB – thanks for the detailed coverage. This is really useful information to have easy access to here on the blog. Appreciated.

  • LPMM May 3, 2012 (11:41 am)

    Re: stadium. This is going to be yet another mess that WS has to deal with. The tunnel is already constraining as it is, but 1st and 4th Ave will be total gridlock trying to get home with more stadium traffic.

    I thought we passed a referendum that said that the city would not subsidize a sports stadium? It doesn’t matter if people think it “pencils out”, they always say that. Why is no one talking about this?

    My neighbor works at the Port and he says that all the traffic will drive jobs out.

  • george May 3, 2012 (1:19 pm)

    First, its a multi purpose staduim for events and concerts too. Second, everyone’s going to ride their bikes to the event, no? Third, two lanes @ 99 should solve the traffic issue. Its under control people.

  • bridge to somewhere May 3, 2012 (3:03 pm)

    yikes, that video revealed plenty of areas where drivers will most certainly get confused. hopefully the parts wherein it looks like a viable option for the driver to drive into a pedestrian lane (e.g., 1:10; 2:02) won’t really be so tricky in real life.

  • Harry Reems May 3, 2012 (3:39 pm)

    Thanks for the update WSB, any news on when the South Park Bridge will reopen?

  • LPMM May 3, 2012 (7:48 pm)

    @george lol

  • Harry Reems May 4, 2012 (5:13 pm)

    Thanks for the info WSB, VERY helpful (as always).

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