More traffic alerts – with the date for 1st Ave. bridge ramp closure

The newest roundup of upcoming traffic effects from road work in and around SODO and the Spokane Street Viaduct is now online – see it here – and it includes the first definite date we’ve seen for the impending closure of the 1st Avenue South onramp to the westbound West Seattle Bridge: May 17th. (SDOT had previously just mentioned May.) The impending closure came up at this week’s Southwest District Council (our long-version story’s still in the works), during a guest appearance by City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the Transportation Committee; he promised to put the pressure on to make sure there’s more public outreach before that closure takes effect. The ramp is to be replaced by a new 1st Avenue on/offramp (with the entry/exit a ways north of the current one), opening in 2012. ADDED 10:11 AM: A related traffic-advisory note for next week is just in from SDOT – read on:

Work on the Spokane Street Viaduct (which connects I-5 to the West Seattle
Bridge) and the West Seattle Bridge will result in the following closures:

Saturday, March 6, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The eastbound, right hand lane of the Spokane Street Viaduct will be closed to allow
crews to clean drains for the Spokane Street Viaduct widening project.

Sunday, March 7, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The ramp from northbound I-5 to the West Seattle Bridge, the ramp from South
Columbian Way (from Beacon Hill) to the West Seattle Bridge, and the westbound,
right hand lane on the South Spokane Street Viaduct from I-5 to Harbor Avenue SW,
will be closed to allow crews to clean drains for the Spokane Street Viaduct
widening project.

Friday, March 12, 7:30 a.m. to noon
The westbound, right hand lane of the West Seattle Bridge will be closed at the
pullout (near SW Charlestown Street, approximately one-half mile before the 35th Ave
SW intersection). Crews working for the Seattle Department of Transportation will
install a new pole and mast arm for a CCTV traffic camera at the pullout on the West
Seattle Bridge.

20 Replies to "More traffic alerts - with the date for 1st Ave. bridge ramp closure"

  • bender March 5, 2010 (9:14 am)

    So how are people who work in the SODO district going to get on the West Seattle Bridge during construction to come home?

    • WSB March 5, 2010 (10:31 am)

      Update: I just talked with Metro re: the bus detour, which they do have planned, though they are still working on estimating travel times so they can plan the schedule. I’m making a fast Google Map to show it.

  • RobertSeattle March 5, 2010 (9:34 am)


    Short answer would be “backstroke”. :-)

  • Terri March 5, 2010 (9:35 am)

    I am also confused. Will the only way to get on the WB bridge be either from I5 or 99? If you are on surface streets in the SODO district do you have to take the lower bridge? If so, this is going to be a BIG mess.

  • GreenSpaces March 5, 2010 (9:39 am)

    Yeah I am waiting to hear what is the detour? Will they guarantee the low bridge will be accessible?

  • chas redmond March 5, 2010 (9:43 am)

    from SDOT concerning the timetable: Crews will permanently close the 1st Ave S westbound on-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge. Crews will then begin to rebuild an on/off-ramp on 1st Ave S at S Spokane St. The new structure is slated to open in 2012.

    That’s a two-year detour. In case you didn’t read the fine print.

  • old timer March 5, 2010 (9:47 am)

    I am still curious about Metro service.
    What are they going to do with the busses that use 1st ave/bridge?

  • bender March 5, 2010 (9:54 am)

    The low bridge is full of traffic lights and semi-trucks. Everyone is screwed if that’s what the DOT is planning on using as the detour. The lights, especially around the Chelan Cafe area, take way too long due to that intersection being so big. Even if they changed the timing on the lights,I think it would cause major backups.

  • Ken March 5, 2010 (9:56 am)

    As near as I can tell, there will be no on ramp to westbound and access will be limited to either columbia street/i-5 or the Alaskan way viaduct.

    For two years.

    SDOT could not have designed a more sublime way to torture WS drivers than this.

    We will all be crossing the 1st ave bridge and going up the hill at Highland park way –> Holden –> Dumar –> Orchard/Sylvan/Morgan-35th. This is also not a marked arterial and involves several unmarked 90 degree turns and traffic lights.

    Good luck to out of town visitors.

    The true joys of this route may not be revealed until winter 2010/2011. The pavement between Holden and 35th is already substandard and severely damaged even with a mild winter. Added traffic will destroy it. SDOT knows this well and the patches are the usual shoddy temporary crap.

    As usual the city only cares about getting people from the burbs to the city and back. Those of us who live here just have to suck it up and keep paying for it.

  • Wallflower March 5, 2010 (10:19 am)

    Didn’t we all know this was coming?

    • WSB March 5, 2010 (10:45 am)

      Wallflower, yes, this has been coming for two years. Our first story on the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project, including all this ramp stuff, was May 2008:
      There have been MYRIAD public meetings, and if you click “Spokane St Viaduct Project” under the headline of this story, you will get our entire coverage archive from the past two years. The specifics of closures and changes, of course, have trickled out along the way since then. A point that was made at SWDC the other night boiled down to, it’s great that we had meetings and warnings a while back, but now that this is all imminent, how about some more “last-minute” awareness-raising?
      Meantime, we’ll do our best to continue publishing info as we get/find it – TR

  • CMP March 5, 2010 (10:48 am)

    The detour options are pretty bad, but I think I’ve settled on the “best” option. I’m going to backtrack up to the stadiums from 1st and Lander, then take I-5 to the WSB.

    I saw a detour sign go up on 1st the other day, suggesting a westbound route from Hanford, Horton or Hinds to E. Marginal Way, then on to the low bridge. That could take an hour+ if you get stuck at railroad tracks, bridge openings and port traffic.

    The other option is to go further south to the 1st Ave bridge, as Ken stated earlier. Not the best route if you live in north WS though. I just feel bad for Metro riders b/c I don’t see Metro coming up a good westbound route with acceptable travel times.

  • bsmomma March 5, 2010 (11:06 am)

    TELECOMMUTE!!!! Oh Please please please!!!!! OR 4-10’s and I’ll work a weekend! I’ve know it was coming and everytime I hear about it, my stomach turns! Even with the one lane open on 1st Ave/Spokane, that has increased my easy breasy 10/15 minute commute home to 30/45 minutes. I think I have figured that I’ll use the I-5 route. Backtrack on 4th to Martinez, hop on I-5 (puts you right in the lane you need for WSB exit). I’ve done that in the past when there was a train STOPPED and it was probably WAY faster than going down 1st. BUT wait there’s more……BASEBALL season is right around the corner! So traffic is going to be even more fabulous! All us SODO/WS folks are in for some interesting times. Anyone want to offer some yoga classes for stress or massages for us?!

  • herongrrrl March 5, 2010 (11:32 am)

    From SODO you could also take Holgate east over I-5; it becomes Beacon Ave S. Take Beacon to 15th, turn right on 15th, follow to Spokane, turn right down the hill and right again on Columbian Way and presto, you’re on the Spokane Street Viaduct and WS Bridge. Those are all arterials and the 15th/Spokane/Columbia intersections already get pretty busy during rush hour, but it’s another option.

    You could also keep going down 15th and turn right at Cleveland HS to sneak over to the 1st Ave S bridge through Georgetown, depending on what part of WS you’re trying to get home to.

    Or, you could rearrange your life to stay in WS as much as possible, which is the strategy I’m adopting. ;)

  • velo_nut March 5, 2010 (11:38 am)

    Ride your bike to work.

  • sam March 5, 2010 (11:53 am)

    ugh. sounds frustrating.
    I feel for WS/SODO commuters.
    I knew this was coming but never fully visualized the impacts of all these happening at once.
    (the widening, the off ramp at 4th, now the 1st ave on ramp deal)

    hopefully, once SDOT sees how things go, they can come up with revisions to detour plans like they did with the bus/ no parking fiasco in Pigeon point. though if they are replacing the ramp, doesn’t seem like a lot of options.

    speaking of baseball games and riding bikes, does anyone have lock recommendations for locking up bikes with burley trailers ?

  • sodo_biker March 5, 2010 (12:54 pm)

    I bike commute this corridor daily and between the trains, heavy trucks and barges, delays are frequent. Adding buses to the mix is going to be a nightmare.

  • The Hepcat March 5, 2010 (5:25 pm)

    Well, forget about going to Costco.

  • Tracy White March 6, 2010 (1:04 am)

    I commute to the eastside every day and have regularly gone I90 –> 4th avenue to 1st –> WSB to avoid the long delays at the I90/I5 interchange and I5 south. Looking grim….

    I may try getting off I90 on Ranier Ave S to MLK to S Columbian and see if that’s any better. Ranier can get busy though….

  • Robert2715 March 6, 2010 (7:42 am)


    Consider getting to Columbia and then onto 99 southbound from downtown.

Sorry, comment time is over.