(SCROLL DOWN for the newest information)
11:28 AM: A collision with major injuries reported has blocked the Aurora Bridge both ways. It’s reported to involve a Ride The Ducks vehicle and a bus. That’s likely to be a relatively long-lasting closure so if you use Highway 99, plan an alternate route.
11:55 AM: SFD says two people are dead, nine critically injured, and they are still evaluating people.
SR 99 is closed NB at Western Ave and SB at N 46th St. All traffic must exit. Use alt routes and expect long delays pic.twitter.com/5gqvCACGpa
— seattledot (@seattledot) September 24, 2015
12:42 PM: The city says the traffic effects are likely to last into the evening. The mayor and police chief will be speaking at the scene shortly.
12:49 PM: The mayor, at the news conference happening now, confirms they expect the closure to continue into the evening. Fire Chief Harold Scoggins says 4 people died at the scene and 12 are critically injured; the crash involved not only a charter bus and a Ride The Ducks vehicle but also two cars.
(Added: Seattle Fire Department photo)
1:41 PM: Short updates are now online via SPD Blotter and SFD Fireline (looks like the same info). Because of the transportation effects, we will keep this story pinned atop the WSB home page TFN, but as we publish other, unrelated stories (starting soon), they’ll appear beneath it, so from the home page, just scroll down to see what else is happening.
2:44 PM: Some miscellaneous information that’s also being discussed in comments:
—METRO REROUTES: Latest list is here
—BLOOD DONATIONS: Bloodworks NW says because of so many injuries in this incident, it needs more – go here to find out how to donate
3:31 PM: Still closed, NB from the Western exit, and SB, according to commenter “Cadburry,” reopens just south of the Aurora Bridge. Meanwhile, SPD has issued a short update on its investigation.
5:22 PM: No change in the situation – Aurora Bridge still closed, with Highway 99 closure NB at Western; SB, we’re told you CAN get on starting around lower Queen Anne, south of the bridge. Also, some more bus reroutes – updated info here. And while this is NOT related to the crash, we just got word that the cycles on the signal at 35th/Alaska are apparently running too short and causing a backup on southbound 35th there – we flagged SDOT via Twitter and they say engineers are looking into it.
5:34 PM: SDOT says that’s fixed now; our crew just arrived and verifies that it seems to be OK, no notable backup.
5:50 PM: Briefing expected shortly from the mayor – you can watch live here. Meantime, in another non-related traffic update, a crash is reported at Fauntleroy/Hudson; traffic’s getting by, says our tipster, but barely.
6:05 PM: The briefing is under way, with the mayor, fire chief, police chief. The Aurora Bridge might remain closed until sometime tomorrow, the mayor said. No change in the number of deaths; 15 people are in critical condition. “Too early … to draw any conclusions” about crash’s cause, says Police Chief O’Toole. They’ve set up a hotline for witnesses: 206-233-5000. SDOT director Scott Kubly explains that once the investigators are done, there will be cleanup and bridge inspections among other things before 99 can reopen.
8:28 PM: The closure continues. We’ll shortly remove this from its position stuck atop the WSB home page, and will publish a new story if there’s a change this evening. We’ll of course have traffic/transit coverage first thing in the morning as usual, too.
11:17 PM: The southbound lanes of 99 have reopened, right after the bus and “Duck” were towed. Awaiting word on the northbound lanes.