West Seattle Bridge update: Ramp switch a ‘go’ for Wed.

(Friday photo of the Spokane Street Viaduct – top of the photo is the east end – by Long Bach Nguyen)
We just confirmed with SDOT‘s Paul Elliott, spokesperson for the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project, that the plan to switch open offramps on the eastbound side is a “go” for tonight.

This means that starting tomorrow morning, if you use the eastbound SSV (the West Seattle Bridge between 99 and I-5), the 4th Avenue South offramp will be OPEN, while the 1st Avenue South offramp will be CLOSED, a reverse of what it’s been for the last few weeks. This is required as they continue to repair and resurface the old – south – side of the elevated structure (we explained the work in this April report). Elliott says they’re still projecting the 1st Avenue ramp will be closed about two and a half weeks, but “it could slip.” The westbound SSV, he reminds us, will be closed most of the weekend June 9th-10th (6 pm Saturday 6/9 through 5 am Monday 6/11).

The entire SSV project is currently expected to be complete by early September; while the new 1st Avenue South on/offramp on the west side will be usable by emergency vehicles soon, it will not be open to general traffic until the project is complete, because of the need for transition space for regular traffic to get on and off, which won’t be available till the full width of the newly widened bridge is in use.

ADDED 2:17 PM: A commenter wondered about Metro reroutes – yes, there are some, and here’s the full list.

16 Replies to "West Seattle Bridge update: Ramp switch a 'go' for Wed."

  • RobertSeattle May 29, 2012 (1:36 pm)

    We’ll find out soon enough, but where exactly will we exit the mainline to get to the 4th avenue offramp?

  • yeahright102 May 29, 2012 (1:57 pm)

    Maybe I am overlooking it but is there any information on re-routes for the eastbound buses that currently use the 1st Ave off ramp and proceed northbound on 1st Ave in SODO? There are lots of us that work on and around 1st and will need to plan accordingly if there is a re-route that will result in some or all of the stops on 1st being missed.

    • WSB May 29, 2012 (2:04 pm)

      Good question! I will find out posthaste. – TR

      • WSB May 29, 2012 (2:12 pm)

        OK – here’s what I found:
        I will add to the story. Sorry to have not thought about buses … I have tried to remind myself often, when writing about roads, not just to say “drivers,” but to keep bicyclists and motorcyclists in mind as well as bus riders, but that doesn’t just mean verbiage; in this case, it means actual info too! – TR

  • CB May 29, 2012 (3:11 pm)

    All this work to widen a roadway which leads to the same bottle neck which has existed for 30 years. What’s the point, aside from giving us back on/off ramps? All this work will make no difference to the daily commute.

  • Harry Reems May 29, 2012 (7:18 pm)

    Good call CB, I have wondered the same thing.. For traffic to improve the onramps to south and northbound I-5 needs to be 2 lanes each instead of the current 1 lane onramps.

  • Ack!!!!! May 29, 2012 (8:00 pm)

    I don’t know how you cover all this on our behalf but thank you. My head went numb at the third paragraph. Too confusing and too hard to remember. SDOT should pay you for helping get the word out so well.

  • Jun-jun May 30, 2012 (1:18 am)

    I agree the current improvements on the viaduct do nothing to improve the situation on entering northbound I-5, but it does make the viaduct safer to drive on with wider lanes and the addition of shoulders.

  • Ambu-LANCE May 30, 2012 (1:19 am)

    Is the current off ramp to 1st Ave going to be resurfaced as well during the closure?

    • WSB May 30, 2012 (1:43 am)

      Per the city page http://seattle.gov/spokane
      “The work involves a series of steps, beginning with “scarification” or “hydro demolition” which cleans and roughens the deck in order to ensure a good bond when the new thin lift micro silica overlay is applied to the deck at the end of the process. In those places where there has been a loss of 20% or more of the existing rebar, it will be replaced. Repairs will also be made to the eastbound off-ramp at First Avenue South. “

  • Eddie May 30, 2012 (6:11 am)

    I predict this is going to be one big cluster today (Wednesday). Passed through there at 5am and eastbound was down to 1 lane at the old 1st Ave exit, some signs said “1st Ave Exit closed, use 4th”, others pointed to “exit” near the 1st Ave spot. The actual spot to head over to the 4th ave exit (and the newly resurfaced portion of the roadway) was really hard to pick out with all the cones/barrels.

    Good Luck! Happy Wednesday!

  • redblack May 30, 2012 (6:16 am)

    CB, HR: i think that, once the project is complete, things will improve greatly. adding more lanes to the ramps to the I-5 gridlock wouldn’t solve much, and shoving west seattle’s traffic onto I-5 at a faster rate would probably make things worse.
    the reconfigured SSV is going to allow more options to routes to and through downtown, taking pressure off of the I-5 and SR99 ramps. personally, i can’t wait for the lower roadway to reopen at full capacity – and in both directions.

  • JD May 30, 2012 (6:54 am)

    Was not fun this morning and the signage needs to be better. Even at 5:30 it was slowed to a crawl. I can’t wait to see how it is later this morning.

  • JEM May 30, 2012 (9:10 am)

    Was not a crawl around 8:30, actually freakishly wide open. But the Metro driver was not aware of any reroutes so some West Seattle Blog readers had to tell him about his detour. Nice job Metro. There is also no Rider Alert notice at the 1st & Lander stop, so I predict a bunch of people standing around there this evening waiting for their never-arriving bus. I guess they will all have to grab the 132 which will still use that stop.

  • Mark May 30, 2012 (12:23 pm)

    Not sure how all this will impact traffic. But I am happy to know it will hold up much better in an earthquake (the new bridge holds the old one up). Also the merge from I5 S onto the bridge should be improved.

    I just can’t wait until the 1st ave onramp opens…

  • Udmiou1 May 30, 2012 (7:53 pm)

    There is a bigger issue of which our crawling traffic is only one symptom. They have something like 45% of expected traffic using 520? Well, the westbound portion that has chosen to use I90 has been flooding on to I5 and subsequent exits to downtown, resulting in the now everyday backup on I5 northbound; and finally, the now HORRENDOUS commute from West Seattle to anything East using the bridge. The best part? They are raising the toll again soon, so expect this to get worse.
    Where are the analytics that will explain to them the basic fact that reducing the toll will increase users and they will NET THE SAME AMOUNT or maybe more…AND reduce what has become a monumental nightmare for others – whatever they are paying the toll “decision maker” it’s WAY too much because this is NOT rocket science.

Sorry, comment time is over.