(SDOT photo of the nearly complete offramp side of the new ramp, taken earlier this month)
Just announced by SDOT:
With the project approximately 95 percent finished, major elements of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project are nearing completion. The combination westbound on/off ramp at First Avenue S and S Spokane Street will open to motorists next Friday morning, August 31. The on-ramp provides the only westbound access to the viaduct and the West Seattle Bridge from SODO, and its opening will eliminate the need for SODO motorists to take the detour across the low level swing bridge.
The old westbound off-ramp at Fourth Avenue S and on-ramp at First Avenue S had to be closed and demolished to make room for the widened viaduct structure.
Construction activity on the upper viaduct deck is also nearing completion, with the permanent barrier between east and westbound traffic installed. Westbound motorists are now traveling in the final lane configurations, and the eastbound on-ramp from Harbor Island has reopened.
The most significant and visible work yet to be completed is the repaving of the eastbound off-ramp at First Avenue and the intersection with S Spokane Street at the bottom of that ramp. As such, the off-ramp remains closed until late September. North/south traffic on First Avenue in the construction area has been reduced to one lane in each direction, while the northbound lanes will be fully closed for three nights during the last week of August.
The old 1st Avenue South onramp closed for demolition in May 2010. Unlike that ramp, you won’t take 1st all the way to Spokane to get onto the bridge; the entrance to the new ramp is actually on 1st, more than a block north of Spokane.
ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: For those who asked about buses – yes, they will use this ramp too. The reply from Jeff Switzer at King County DOT:
This construction milestone will be good news for bus riders going to West Seattle. Starting Aug. 31, bus riders will have a faster and more reliable trip using the new First Avenue South ramp to the West Seattle Bridge, and buses will be less likely to face delays due to trains or when the lower Spokane Street bridge needs to open for marine traffic.
Metro buses have traveled a revised route since May 17, 2010, including Routes 21, 22, 35, 56, 57, 85, 116, 118 & 119 traveling East Marginal way to the lower level Spokane Street bridge to get to West Seattle. Opening the new First Avenue South/South Spokane Street on ramp will decrease travel times on these routes. We’re coordinating with the city so that we can revise our bus routes accordingly as soon as the ramp is officially open.