Spokane Street Viaduct project: Westbound surface road now partly open; speed-limit update

October 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm | In Spokane St. Viaduct project, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

Two updates this afternoon related to the city’s almost-complete Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project:

WESTBOUND SURFACE SPOKANE STREET PARTLY OPEN: SDOT says that for the first time in three years, westbound S. Spokane St., under the widened SSV, is now open between 4th and 6th Avenues. Project spokesperson Paul Elliott says in an update e-mail, “It is hoped that the remainder of westbound surface S Spokane, the segment from 4th Avenue S to East Marginal Way S, will be reopened to motorists before the end of October.”

SPEED-LIMIT UPDATE: We also have an update from Elliott about the city’s timetable for revisiting the speed limit on the SSV itself, now that work on the bridge deck is done. It came up in the WSB Forums this week; we had checked with SDOT a month ago, at which time Elliott told us the city Traffic Engineer would be taking a look “after giving motorists some time to adjust to the new configuration.” Checking back this week to find out about that timetable, we got this reply:

As to … when the City Traffic Engineer will be evaluating the speed limit on the structure, he expects this to happen in the spring. We need normalized operating speeds along with some collision data (of which we currently have little). The spring timeframe will give us about six months of baseline collision data, with which to better assess the safety impacts of any change in the speed limit.

The project itself has now been under way for about four years (here’s one of our earliest stories, from spring 2008).

9 Comments

  1. Great news on the Spokane Street part of this project.
    Will the west bound Spokane Street go all the way to the low bridge when completed? It has been closed the whole time I have lived here in West Seattle, so I do not know what it used to be like.

    Comment by Bill at Duwamish Head — 4:17 pm October 18, 2012 #

  2. Great news for all!! Now lets open the 1st ave west bound lane all the way to Harbor Island exit. The trucks block the middle lane because they must move over for no reason I/they can see.This would leave the other two lanes open.

    Comment by denden52 — 6:37 pm October 18, 2012 #

  3. Thank you for the updates, Tracy. It’s disappointing that SDOT wants to take six months to make a decision on the speed limit, as it clearly will safely support 45 mph like the rest of the bridge. Drivers will not be waiting that long to demonstrate that, as they already are doing so.

    Comment by Stacy — 6:39 pm October 18, 2012 #

  4. What about the portion of Spokane Street between 6th Ave and Airport Way?

    Comment by AJ — 7:18 pm October 18, 2012 #

  5. I drive the WSB every weekday… Although I understand the reasoning behind the six month study, it seems that most drivers are already assuming the speed limit is 45 from Admiral to I-5. I at times feel I’m standing still going about 40 in the 35 zone.

    Comment by Twobottles — 8:15 pm October 18, 2012 #

  6. Lots of drivers doing 50 on it now.

    Comment by fiz — 8:25 pm October 18, 2012 #

  7. I have wondered if westbound Spokane Street from 6th to East Marginal Way has been so slow to reopen due to the painted ‘artwork’ on the concrete columns. Anyone know what the hold up is? SDOT spokesperson Elliot didn’t elaborate in his message.

    Comment by Been There — 3:22 am October 19, 2012 #

  8. I have wondered also, with the upper deck substantially complete, why has the lower stretch been slow to reopen.

    Comment by Strike'em out Kinney — 9:44 am October 19, 2012 #

  9. Whatever speed limit the engineers decide on, I would really appreciate frequent enforcement. It can be really scary to try to follow the law when the rest of the cars are whisking around you–it shouldn’t be dangerous to follow the rules.

    Comment by J — 3:23 pm October 19, 2012 #

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