(WSDOT photo from Flickr – more demolition equipment arrives at the Viaduct’s south end)
This is it. Tomorrow’s the night … the nine-day, ten-night closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct begins at 7:30 pm Friday. Unless some other huge news story (heaven forbid) happens in Western Washington, you can expect tomorrow’s news to be All Viaduct, All The Time in advance (for example, WSDOT has assigned a media liaison to be available for interviews at 4:30 am – 15 hours before the closure, but TV morning news will be all over it). Today’s other Vianews highlights:
*The Port of Seattle has made some changes to reduce traffic around the area where many Viaductless drivers will be attempting to get from the “low bridge” to downtown (or beyond). Seattle Times’ transportation reporter Mike Lindblom details them in this story. (As we have reported previously, some relief also may come during afternoon commute, when the “low bridge” is supposed to stay “down” 3-6 pm next Monday-Friday except for “emergencies,” and Burlington Northern has promised to reduce “train-building” in the East Marginal/Hanford area, where that practice often cuts off traffic trying to get from the SODO detour to the “low bridge.”)
*Also mentioned briefly in Mike’s story – announced in a news release earlier today – the city is suspending the $32 flat rate for taxis from downtown to Sea-Tac during the closure period, saying metered rides will “ensure cab drivers are fairly compensated for what are expected to be longer trips due to traffic delays.”
*In response to a question from the last meeting of the South Portal Working Group, WSDOT sent out an update this afternoon saying basically that it can’t guarantee GPS traffic-navigation companies will have maps accurately depicting Viaductlessness. It’s provided the information, the agency says, but it can’t guarantee any of the companies are using it. WSDOT is hopeful, though, that many companies WILL redraw their maps to reflect the Highway 99 construction bypass that will be in place post-closure … but it might take up to six months!
*Still have Viaduct-closure questions? We’re partnering with KING 5 during Viadoom, Viaduct Crunch, whatever you want to call it, for some coverage teamwork, including a live online chat at 11 am Friday – we expect to embed the chat here on WSB, and you’ll find it on the KING site here. Their traffic reporter Tracy Taylor will host the chat; your editor here (Tracy Record) will be part of it to help answer questions.