Yet another reminder: 1st Ave. South westbound ramp closure eve

We’ve been reporting on it for months, and, for the past week or two, publishing reminders almost daily – but better over-reminded than under-reminded – tomorrow is the day that the 1st Avenue South onramp to the westbound (high) West Seattle Bridge closes permanently, as part of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project. SDOT says it will be closed first thing in the morning. It will be replaced by a new ramp to the westbound side of The Bridge, but SDOT says that will take at least 16 months to build. So if you’re trying to get to West Seattle from SODO, you will either have to use the “low bridge” detour – per the map on this page – or take the “back way” (head to the 1st Avenue South Bridge and enter West Seattle via Highland Park Way or Myers/Roxbury).

Remember that SDOT will use electronic signs and Twitter to warn of “low bridge” openings during rush hour, in hopes you will be forewarned if you’re heading to West Seattle that way; you don’t have to be a Twitter member to check out what SDOT posts at – that works as a regular weblink – but in case you lose the link, we’ve added it to the top of the WSB Traffic page. And also remember that bus routes are affected (Metro’s explanation here). If you use the low-bridge detour by car, bus or bike tomorrow, please consider sharing your story – any of these ways – about how it goes. One more reminder – for eastbound surface-street drivers in the area – as SDOT announced during the media tour we covered on Friday, lower S. Spokane Street will reopen by tomorrow morning, from East Marginal to 1st.

Two years of WSB reports about the SSV Widening Project are all archived here, newest to oldest.

18 Replies to "Yet another reminder: 1st Ave. South westbound ramp closure eve"

  • JanS May 16, 2010 (7:13 pm)

    now you just know someone will be on the forum tomorrow afternoon/evening saying WTF? what’s going on with the ramp?

    I’m predicting that someone does by 3pm…hope everyone proves me wrong :D

  • ad May 16, 2010 (8:43 pm)

    I wanted to do one last drive on it today, lol…I’m not even sure why. I’ve always hated it if people are being rude and don’t make it easy for you to merge.

  • cathyw May 16, 2010 (8:49 pm)

    This does not sound good…… all. I use both those routes all the time and I just can’t imagine what a mess it is going to be. I too bet there are a lot of drivers out there who still have no clue what is in store for them tomorrow.

  • dsa May 16, 2010 (9:15 pm)

    The I-90 westbound to I-5 southbound connection is going to be impacted too because of the diverted merging detour traffic. That westbound to southbound ramp already backs up around the end of Beacon Hill.

  • d May 16, 2010 (9:15 pm)

    Some of us here in Highland Park like to think of Highland Park Way as the Greenbelt Gateway to West Seattle. It’s not so much the “back way” to us. But, we certainly get your point and are wholly sympathetic to the traffic hurt folks will be suffering for awhile.

    For all the new weary commuters, please notice that there are lots of pedestrians on Holden, the next arterial off of HP Way on your new route home, and as of yet there are no cross walks there; so please if folks do take that route, keep your eyes peeled for the kidsters out there.

    And, hey, who knows? Maybe folks will realize it will be much easier to swing by and enjoy Zippy Burgers (16th and Holden) more often for dinner when they come up HP Way. See now? There IS a silver lining. :)

    • WSB May 16, 2010 (9:29 pm)

      D, you have a point. HP Way is actually the prettiest gateway to WS, compared to the pathways off the bridge in the other spots. The wonderful West Duwamish Greenbelt lines the north side of the road all the way uphill. And anyone who wants a closer look at it sometime can join the next monthly Nature Consortium eco-hike, which – at least the time we took it – goes all the way up to the edge of HP Way before turning back to the 14th/Holly trailhead.

  • bsmomma May 17, 2010 (9:36 am)

    Incase anyone wanted a cherry on top…..there’s a 12:40 baseball game on Thursday!

  • sam May 17, 2010 (4:28 pm)

    ok, now that rush hour is on, we need a report on how the bus-riders / SODO workers ride home was…I’m curious.

    I am remembering all the hype about the I-5 lane closures a couple of summers ago that turned out to be no big deal and hoping this was the same.

  • JEM May 17, 2010 (5:00 pm)

    I’m about to go out to catch my bus, so we’ll see. But the traffic on 1st Ave South actually doesn’t seem as backed up as its been the last few weeks. Don’t rely on onebusaway (or other trackers linking to Metro) for 118/119/116 info – they still show the prior scheduled time and those routes are now 7 min earlier!

  • MoZ May 17, 2010 (6:29 pm)

    Here’s another option to get to West Seattle from downtown: Jackson to 12th Ave South; to 15th Avenue South south to Spokane; west onto Columbia Way, then onto the West Seattle Bridge. Works like a charm! Took me 18 minutes at 5:10 p.m. from 4th & Washington to 48th Ave SW and SW Erskine.

  • v May 17, 2010 (7:31 pm)

    The world did not end. I drove home around 5:30 from near Safeco field. I took E. Marginal Way to the low bridge and got home in the same amount of time. The only thing unusual were the two SPD and one SDOT worker hanging out by the Chelan parking lot gabbing and watching traffic go by. A non-event for today.

  • ad May 17, 2010 (8:14 pm)


    I still believe that closure that happened a couple summers ago was not a big deal because people changed their commute patterns in response to the warnings of potential impact. Many people (who usually drive) rode the bus or took the train, carpooled, worked from home, and changed work hours.

    I haven’t seen any updated coverage on today’s commute, but it wasn’t bad for me coming back to WS at 4:30 from Beacon Hill. It actually seemed like there was lighter traffic than usual. :)

  • Noelle May 18, 2010 (12:41 am)

    1st ave was a bear today!

  • samson May 18, 2010 (9:06 am)

    I thought it is closed BUT it isn’t – wasted my trip going around… it was open this morning about 530a – it doesnt make sense. as it announced to be closed. what is going on?

  • JEM May 18, 2010 (9:45 am)

    It is definately closed, unless someone removed the barricades over night and returned them this morning! This is just the ON ramp, westbound. Off ramp to 1st is open.

  • LB May 18, 2010 (11:18 am)

    The ramp was closed when I went by it at 6:20 or so Monday morning.

    The commute home on the 119 Express was uneventful. Only real delay was at the intersection of Spokane, Delridge and W Marginal. Trip was only 5 minutes longer than the regular route (timed from 1st & Royal Broughm to Fauntleroy & Avalon).

  • CF May 18, 2010 (11:55 am)

    It is closed. There were quite a few uniformed police officers out ready to take control of intersections along the detour route, but it didn’t look like any of them were needed. I’m looking foward to the new left turn on Avalon at 35th & Avalon, it looks like they had the signals hung up but they still had a bag over them.

  • West Seattle seen it before May 18, 2010 (7:13 pm)

    So let me see how this works. When the bridge was out in the 80’s house prices in West Seattle fell, plummetted. And everyone enjoyed the small town feel. At least myself, to naive to understand at the time. I wonder if businesses will survive? Probably not. Meaning loss of tax revenue for the city. Not to worry, cash buyers will wait until the frustration level hits it’s media all time high, which is what the media appear to be for, scare the property owner, and property reaches it’s all time low, buy up the properties for pennies on a dollar and Voila!! rent them out to defray holding costs and Voila!! Again. sell them for 10 cents on the dollar when the traffic finally flows again. It would be a matter of guess work and timing if it werent for political control. I bet the future West Seattle will be advertised as Seattle’s best kept secret of neighborhoods and so quaint.

    Is anyone awake? Follow the money line. The profits are made by construction groups who support candidates on both sides. I wonder who owns portions or stock in companies on the projects? Who makes money off of hauling off the debris from the via duct when it comes down. Who are they related to.

    I was once a tunnel advocate prior to the economic planned crash. Watch the movie Chinatown and it will tell you how it is done. Does anyone remember the earthquake and we couldnt even get to either bridge east bound. Traffic was backed up into the junctions? Let’s not talk of national security and an exit plan when we cant get across town in a Sea Hawk’s game on Sunday now as it is. Let’s hope someone grows a pair and ends the tunnel project. Did we not learn by replacing the via duct that any structure will grow old and cost a fortune to maintain. Let alone build. See Chicago, mag mile, north bound. street level highway going away and to the city. works great. low maintenance. And no, we dont have to replace these ramps anyway. At least not with a lengthy delay that impacts the citiznery so adversely.

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