Traffic trouble: West Seattle Bridge backed up most of the day

The warnings were issued but not everybody could stay home, and we’ve received reports that it’s been a nightmare, as feared, to travel off the peninsula today. And from within the past hour, here’s pictorial proof, from Creighton. (The Viaduct should be open again before too long, but remember, other events around the city are affecting traffic patterns. Here at the Westwood Village Street Fair, where we’re reporting “live” till 7 pm, only thing closed is the Bed Bath Beyond parking lot where many activities are centered.)

25 Replies to "Traffic trouble: West Seattle Bridge backed up most of the day"

  • Roger June 27, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    It is AWFUL!! Stay really far away from the stadiums & the I5 corridor. It took me an hour and a half to get from the Junction to Queen Anne around noon. SUCKED!!! (I’m bitter about it in case u can’t tell :)

  • Miss Courtney June 27, 2009 (3:45 pm)

    Oddly enought the “viaduct closed” signs with flashing lights, not on. Drove by them earlier at 35th/faunt. And the one halfway across bridge.

    Despite all other forms of warning maybe someone should have turned those on? That is what they are there for after all….

  • WSB June 27, 2009 (3:47 pm)

    Somebody else mentioned that. I will be asking SDOT what went wrong – TR

  • Karl June 27, 2009 (3:50 pm)

    Just a rehearsal for the destruction/construction of the Viaduct/Tunnel over the next several years. When Rolf Neslund and Mojko Gospodnetic negligently rammed the freighter Chavez into West Seattle bridge in June 1978 we had to drive south across the 1st Ave South Bridge to go points north until the new West Seattle Bridge opened in July 1984, six years later.

  • Todd June 27, 2009 (4:05 pm)

    It is a nightmare out there!

  • sa June 27, 2009 (4:15 pm)

    The incompetence of the transportation department, and the lack of cooordination are nothing less than mind blowing!

    The flashing “viaduct is closed” signs are turned off yet again, and the new fancy SDOT traffic web page shows, get this, NO Traffic Alerts.

    If you think even one thing has improved since the December snow storm you have another thing coming.

  • JayDee June 27, 2009 (4:58 pm)

    Maybe the Marathon sponsor should have forked over some of the cash Tukwila paid them to the City of Seattle. Think about it: Tukwila was the temporary home to 25000+ people, and paid for the privilege, and they were all gone by 10 AM.

    We on the other hand get the joy of a closed viaduct all day. Maybe if we pay them off, they’d hold the next one in Hellevue?

    My personal opinion is that people running a marathon are nuts, especially when the first guy to run in a marathon died when he got to his goal. That should be a clue that it isn’t healthy.

  • Dave June 27, 2009 (5:34 pm)

    Um, went to the U-District and back around 3, a little slow but I’ve seen worse on “normal” days.

  • Amy June 27, 2009 (6:01 pm)

    Not only was the viaduct closed, but downtown was a freakin disaster, with roads closed haphazardly with zero warning. The result was, every “back way” one could try to take around the mess was closed!

    I was to meet a friend at Pacific Place for a movie at 11:30. I left my house at 11, knowing it would normally take 15 min, and my standard “double the time in case of traffic” simply didn’t work. I got to Pacific Place at 12:15. The bridge was mostly ok, 1st was a nightmare, with no open side streets to 4th until I got to Lander. 4th was then closed at the stadium with no warning signs. Quick right onto Royal Brougham and around to 6th and Jefferson, and back down Columbia to 4th, where the traffic loosened back up in to the “normal” downtown BS.

    That mile or so from the bridge exit, down 1st, up Lander, to 4th, to Royal Brougham, to 6th, to Columbia, took well over 40 minutes.

    My bad for not knowing that the city streets would be closed all over the place. Can we have a decent DOT with a real map showing which streets are closed for construction? That would be soo nice.

  • Sue June 27, 2009 (6:02 pm)

    I drove the bridge to I-5N this morning around 9am and flew through without a problem – I was actually surprised. No lights flashing that the viaduct was closed on Fauntleroy nor the bridge, as has been reported.
    what was most confusing to me was that WSDOT’s traffic radar map said, at 9am, that the I-5 express lanes were heading northbound – they should be southbound at that hour. That was going to benefit me as I was headed north, so I left later (not giving myself the extra buffer time I expected to need), and I fought traffic to get all the way left to get to the lanes, only to find out that they were in fact closed and running southbound. I was very lucky that I didn’t hit major delays since I had not left extra time for them.
    I got home around 3:30 or so, and decided to just take 405S home from Bothell to avoid I-5 (which radar showed was a mess). Bridge was fine coming TO WS, but it looked pretty backed up still heading out.

  • paul June 27, 2009 (6:44 pm)

    Amy, to get a decent map wouldn’t DOT have to commission a study by an outside company, review for 2 years and then implement? Just a hint of smartie pants here. I unfortunately had to drive 2 times to the Sodo this morning, and it was NOT fun.

  • Amy June 27, 2009 (7:30 pm)

    LOL Paul, that would be in the BEST of circumstances.

    More like commission a study, pay for it, “run out of money,” vote on a recommission, pay salaries but never actually do the work, ad infinitum for 10 years.

    See: the monorail fiasco.

  • sam June 27, 2009 (8:53 pm)

    went over the bridge to columbia city around 12:45 – wasn’t too bad, but there were still the folks who like to use the bus lane til the last second, and then pop back into traffic after they’d passed every one.

    glad we decided not to try to get to Seattle Center.

  • Also_Amy June 27, 2009 (8:57 pm)

    Amy – “haphazardly” is the perfect way to describe the 1st and 4th closures today. The lights were set to extra-long even if it was impossible for cars to be turning in a certain direction (b/c of closures). No actual police officers directing traffic (only empty cop cars)…this was at 8 am and it took me 45 mins to get to Belltown for an appt. Oh, and the Water Taxi wasn’t running that early. Frustrating – Amy

  • Robert June 27, 2009 (8:58 pm)

    On days like this my wife and I refer to West Seattle as “an island” and we don’t venture off it.

  • MrJT June 27, 2009 (9:28 pm)

    Another feather in Grace Crunican’s cap of F-ups !!

  • mike green June 27, 2009 (9:39 pm)

    wait till they did the tunnel !!!!!!!


  • KT June 27, 2009 (10:11 pm)

    Ya, the tunnel didn’t need a downtown exit. Sell now and run.

  • wutwut99 June 28, 2009 (1:34 am)

    Can we please stop closing the vidaduct for BS like marathons? Is it a highway or a leisure center? SDOT are a bunch of morons. They need to get their act together.

  • Iggy June 28, 2009 (7:19 am)

    The PR stories on the various web sites touting the marathon said to expect a few delays around SODO. So, I headed to the Art Museum around 10:00 on the #22 bus. Upon boarding the bus, I asked the driver if there were reroutes (since Metro’s site, as usual, was worthless). He grunted and said no. Took about 1 1/4 to get through half of the reroutes. I was so mad at the driver having lied to me. Many of us on the bus decided we wanted to get off at the ferry terminal and avoid sitting in traffic any longer, and the driver said we couldn’t. Finally, enough passengers started saying they were going to report the driver to metro for rudeness, so he let us out at Ferry terminal. When I got off the bus, I still had to walk up to First Avenue. They were rerouting pedestrians all over the place, including under one bridge that was a homeless encampment. As previous posters have written, Seattle DOT and Metro continue to be worthless in an emergency. Heaven help us needing to get downtown when the viaduct is permanently closed. And remember, folks, that West Seattle has no hospital. Pity the people trying to get to Swedish or Virginia Mason or Harborview for an emergency. One more example of how we will have to fend for ourselves if there is ever a real emergency.

  • flynlo June 28, 2009 (9:22 am)

    I wonder if they will run the marathon thru the new tunnel or if they will tie up even more city streets when the viaduct is gone!!

  • Huindekmi June 28, 2009 (11:38 am)

    When the viaduct is gone, the races will likely be run on the surface streets along the waterfront, rather than in the tunnel. Which will be nice, because West Seattle will then have its two northbound freeway options open and available. The main reason the W. Seattle bridge was backed up was that all traffic needed to be routed onto I5 northbound. Neither the Spokane Street Viaduct, nor the I5 exit can handle that kind of traffic worth a darn.
    I hope Mike McGinn (and his push-polling friends) were paying attention yesterday. I’m really getting sick and tired of those automated “surveys” trying to convince us that tearing down the viaduct and replacing it with nothing is a great idea – and reminding us that McGinn is the only candidate that supports it.

  • JEM June 29, 2009 (12:11 pm)

    Sorry you were all stuck, but I participated in the 1/2 marathon and it was awesome. I’ll do it again next year, so mark your calendars now for June 26, 2010. So you are now officially warned and can plan for your alternate route. And if I hadn’t been participating, I would have stayed home, since I watch/read the news and was aware that there would be major traffic headaches.

  • Steph June 30, 2009 (3:52 pm)

    Hey JEM, I ran the half too and agree with you. These stupid people should pay more attention to when the viaduct is closed. After all, it closes for repairs more often than any race or walks
    Good on ya!

  • wutwut99 June 30, 2009 (11:20 pm)

    JEM: You are part of the problem. Go run around your neighborhood.

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