Green light for improvements to the “other” viaduct


That’s a rendering of what the new 4th Avenue offramp from the eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct — the elevated roadway between the high bridge and I-5 — will look like. It’s one of the renderings we got after meeting a few days ago with city reps to find out full details on the two-phase project. We’re still working on the in-depth report but wanted to show you this after hearing that city councilmembers okayed the first installment of $ for the project today. This ramp will be the first part of the project to be built, starting this fall, and will exit onto 4th (with southbound and northbound turning options) across from City Light HQ. The second part of the project involves widening the SSV by building an entirely new section on its north side:


Our forthcoming report will also include details on the different impacts drivers will experience during the SSV work — with major closures for the lower part of Spokane Street, especially during the widening project, which is still more than a year away.

9 Replies to "Green light for improvements to the "other" viaduct"

  • RobertSeattle May 6, 2008 (3:25 pm)

    I hereby name this the “Get me to Costco Fast” offramp.

  • PSPS May 6, 2008 (3:28 pm)

    They really need an on-ramp from 4th to westbound viaduct. Ever since they closed the old one, it’s a real drag gettng to the bridge when there’s a train because and all the lights on 1st (and 6th, for that matter) are timed to discourage east-west travel.

  • Frank May 6, 2008 (3:38 pm)

    If the timing of street lights bothers you, as it does me, then sign and vote yes on I-985. In that initiative there are provisions to MAKE cities synchronize their street lights to facilitate the flow of traffic.

  • WestwoodWriter May 6, 2008 (4:02 pm)

    Seattle could solve 1/3 of its traffic problems if it would just learn how to time traffic lights properly. Many, MANY intersections in the city are clearly timed to retard the flow of traffic to calm travel speeds. This idea is about 30 years old, and is currently contributing to Seattle’s growing reputation for road rage incidents, and it also contributes tons and TONS of needless CO2 emissions while idling at light after light after light. For a city that’s so freakin’ hip to be green, the traffic light/idle time issue should be public issue #1 (and should have been for the last 20 years). It also contributes to mile-long backups on 99, Delridge Way, Fauntleroy Way, and the current 1st South exit. Exits that end in traffic lights in this city ALWAYS back-up onto the highway causing all sorts of minor mayhem. SDOT really needs to examine its mission of moving people around this city smoothly and efficiently.

  • flipjack May 6, 2008 (5:33 pm)


  • JW May 6, 2008 (7:31 pm)

    I’m just hoping that the completion of this off-ramp means that the Rapid Ride buses are going to exit there and head straight up the busway into the tunnel, giving us something vaguely resembling a pain-free ride downtown. But the other part of me just assumes that that’s, like, too hard to do for some dumb reason that has to do with rules about apportioning transit to the suburbs or something.

  • A.B. May 6, 2008 (9:37 pm)

    “Get me to Costco Fast” offramp” ?
    Look carefully at the whole diagram from the DOT website- getting off southbound will be definately easier, but getting home will be the pitts.
    There is a small notation on the diagram, “Remove Existing 1st Ave. On-Ramp”. It will be replaced by a “New Westbound On & Off Ramp” leading to/from 1st Ave only, starting from between Hinds & Horton. Translation: any traffic coming from the Costco, Georgetown, UPS, etc. areas & wanting to get westbound on to the WS Bridge will have to somehow get north (on either the non-arterial Horton or all the way north to Lander St.) to then go south on 1st Ave to access the on ramp. Where’s the sanse in that?
    I agree with the earlier poster PSPS- we need an on ramp from 4th Ave (or still at 1st Ave) for all the traffic headed north & then westbound from the lower Spokane St. going to West Seattle.
    Also- be aware that according to the DOT flyers, Spokane St. lower roadway “will be closed to through traffic for approximately three years (local access will be manitained)”. What does that mean? Definately limited access, at best. “Beginning in the fall of 2008 eastbound lower Spokane St, between 1st and 4th Avenues, will be closed for approximately 18 months” and later there will be a closure of the westbound lower Spokane St. “for about 2 years” (until mid-2011). The suggested detour will be to go north to Lander St.
    The insane thing is the timeline page: Repaving 1st Ave S. between Lander St & lower Spokane St. (the detour route) will occur between 2009-2011. ontop of that, construction of the southern section of the 99 Viaduct (between 2009-2012) will also be dumping more traffic onto 1st Ave. They optimistically predict the there will be “only 9 – 12 months” when 99 will have only 2 lanes each direction, with 25mph speed limits! Discussion is also underway to close off the Spring/Seneca exits to all non-transit, forcing even more traffic onto 1st Ave.
    Add into that mess a new Metro bus every 10 minutes & what do we get? Just a small scale preview of what the DOT hasin store for us in 2012 when they tear down the rest of the Viaduct!
    Want to have your say in all of this?
    Go to the next DOT meeting at Madison Middle School:
    Tues. May 13th anytime between 5:30- 7:30 pm.
    Look carefully at what they are proposing as we are the ones who will have to live through the mess!

  • WSB May 6, 2008 (9:41 pm)

    AB, that’s the question we asked, regarding the westbound return. Looks like going the back way through White Center may make more sense even for people who live in north WS.

  • RobertSeattle May 7, 2008 (12:00 pm)

    … So I got to Costco fast, but by the time I got home all my frozen stuff had melted…

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