We’re just out of the latest media briefing on the impending 9-day, 10-night Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. Remember, it starts at 7:30 pm Friday – so it will not affect the “regular” commute hours on Friday. This briefing included state, city, county, and port reps, and reiterated some of what you’ve heard before – but it was held in the SDOT Traffic Management Center, a screen-filled (but windowless) room on the 37th floor of the Municipal Tower, to highlight the technology that will help monitor and to some degree adjust the situation during the days of most closure-related concern – Monday through Friday next week (October 24-28). Key messages:
*Lots of info on the city’s Travelers Information Map (including the two new live-video West Seattle Bridge cams we reported back on Friday) as well as the traffic times you usually see on the overhead signboards
*All involved agencies will be conferring multiple times daily (the three “check-in” conference calls are scheduled for 7:15 am, 10:15 am, 5:15 pm) and they do intend to make adjustments where they can – signal timing on key corridors (they’ve just added Aurora), for example, and use of uniformed police officers at key intersections that might see major pressure (like the 1st Avenue South and 4th Avenue South intersections with Spokane along the WS Bridge).
When Q/A time came, we asked some specific questions that WSB’ers have been asking. For one, we asked for confirmation that Burlington Northern is going to reduce train activity along the route many people use to get to the “low bridge” during the afternoon commute – WSDOT’s Matt Preedy, who mentioned this at last week’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting (here’s our report), said it’s not a formal agreement, but that the railroad has agreed to do what it can. (Mayor McGinn, who was part of the briefing, gave props to SDOT leadership for getting a deal for the “low bridge” itself to avoid routine 3-6 pm openings those days too.)
We have more to add to this report when we are back at HQ, including video, if you’d like to see/hear exactly what was said. But first, a question we posed to WSB’ers on Facebook last night – what question(s), if any, do YOU still have regarding the closure, and how you’re going to get around? Please post a comment if you have one (or more). We’re working on a Q/A-style story and will incorporate yours – if it’s something that hasn’t been discussed/announced already, we’ll seek out the answer.
ADDED 1:20 PM: More information from today’s briefing. First – if you want to watch the whole thing, here’s a link to Seattle Channel video. We have a clip of Brian Kemper, the city traffic-tech manager who spoke, as he talked about how the different tech components work:
Talking to one of the traffic-management-center bosses afterward, we learned that they’re extending hours in the center during the closure, too – instead of being open 7 am to 6 pm, it’ll be 6 am-7 pm. (Weekdays.)