(SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES)
(Top L, north of 1st Av. S. Bridge; top R, 1st @ Holgate; below L, I-5 on south end of downtown; below R, 12th headed for bridge to Beacon Hill, where there’s alternate WS Bridge access)
First update: Traffic is slow EASTBOUND on the high bridge right now. More to come – we’ll be hitting the road in a few minutes to get a firsthand look, and please let us know what you are seeing (if you can send info safely, such as, from a bus!).
4:14 PM UPDATE: Travel times show 4th is in better shape than 1st right now.
4:35 PM UPDATE: On the road now. High bridge looks better, peeking up the onramp from Avalon. Busy stream coming off the low bridge – here comes the 54 and the 55, homeward bound. And another 54.
4:40 PM UPDATE: Problem – stalled truck eastbound on the low bridge.
Lineup building behind it.
High bridge is busy eastbound from 99 forward. Westbound looks OK. We’re on 1st Avenue South now – past the Hanford detour, which we’ll check out in a minute – looks busier toward downtown than heading away. … Scratch that. Avoid 1st South. The backup from the detour is significant. A Bainbridge Island school bus is even stuck in it (checking, we think they’re headed for a match in West Seattle).
4:50 PM UPDATE: The stalled semi is still on the westbound low bridge, according to the scanner. Detour to the 1st Avenue South Bridge if you can. Take 4th or 6th to get to Michigan, which connects eastward.
5 PM UPDATE: We’re on southbound 4th now. Looks good through SODO. We’ll see what happens when we get close to 1st South Bridge turnoff. Text from someone on a bus says police have blocked off scene of stalled semi on low bridge.
5:14 PM UPDATE: WSB commenter Travis says the stalled semi is being towed. However, keep in mind, it takes a while to clear backups, even after the reason for the backup is fixed – so 1st is likely to be bad for a while. We took 4th, which was backed up a few blocks from the turn for the 1st Avenue South Bridge; we detoured to 6th per recent advice from a friend, and are now on Michigan heading for the 1st S. Bridge. Just found this “live” view of the low bridge on a camera that usually points elsewhere:
… Now we’ve crossed the 1st Avenue South Bridge. Looks good heading homeward-bound once you’re on it. Even if you’re in north WS, you can get off and head toward Highland Park Way but stay right to keep on West Marginal, which will take you up to Spokane St. under the bridge and on to Avalon, Admiral, Harbor, etc. … Oh well, now that camera is back to the bridge approach (looking east on Spokane), maybe helpful anyway.
5:35 PM UPDATE: Commenter says the 5:15 pm Water Taxi was full. Another one says tempers are short in the 1st Avenue South backup. Firsthand reports helpful – don’t type while driving, though! – our road crew is back at HQ as we have to cover a 6 pm community meeting (though we will still be tracking traffic, too). We hope the Bainbridge Island girls’ volleyball team made it to Chief Sealth for their 5:30 pm match against Holy Names (winner of that one plays Sealth at 7:30) – we noted a sighting of their bus in the 1st S. backup at 4:40! Appears some commuters have detoured to Water Taxi; commenter says 5:15 pm was full, and Bill in the 5:45 line says it looks like a full house will ensue for that sailing too.
6:08 PM UPDATE: The low bridge opened right after 6, as it has been doing pretty much every day this week. Remember, 3-6 pm was the only time period during which it was promised the bridge would stay closed to marine traffic. The Water Taxi has been sold out for the past two runs; if you travel on the 6:15 pm, let us know if it had to leave folks in line too!
6:35 PM UPDATE: We’re at a meeting in White Center where someone coming from the Eastside was supposed to be here half an hour ago – so that says something about the traffic. No real train trouble at Hanford this afternoon/evening, we’re told – unlike what we documented yesterday. (A TV crew was there to do a story, we’re told, so just figures it didn’t replicate.) … Wait, now an update from Michele (at 6:45), “stopped by a train on the second set of tracks.”
6:49 PM UPDATE: From Krista via Facebook: “Our 54 local bus driver is rocking it. Just did a 180 degree turn in an articulated bus to find us a better reroute that isn’t blocked by a train. There were at least 10 buses behind us stuck in the traffic on E Marginal Way. Still a loooong commute home tonight.”
7:24 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, Gwen says some people are getting out and walking. (A few minutes later, we checked back with her, and she said that after half an hour on 1st S., her bus had finally moved, and was over the low bridge, “everything clear now.”)