TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Frozen Friday updates; 99 crash blocks lane for 2 1/2 hours

(East-facing camera on the West Seattle Bridge; see other cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:14 AM: We’ve already had one texted warning that the bridge is slick this morning. The usual eastbound camera does not appear to be working, so we’re using the westbound view instead.

ALERT – HIGHWAY 99 CLOSURE THIS WEEKEND: From midnight tonight until 5 am Monday, a section of 99 will be closed from the Battery Street Tunnel northward:

SR 99 will be fully closed to traffic between Valley Street and the southern end of the Battery Street Tunnel. Traffic traveling through Seattle via SR 99 will be directed to I-5 in northern Seattle at 85th Street or in southern Seattle at E Marginal Way and Spokane Street. More information about alternate routes during construction may be found (here).

6:24 AM: We have two reports of a problem on northbound 99 right now in the stadium zone. (added) A vehicle is visible pointed south in the northbound lanes right by the rise to the remaining Viaduct:

6:39 AM: The 99 crash is now on the 911 log; the camera view does not show the pointed-the-wrong-way vehicle so clearly, with responders at the scene. The right lane is getting by. (added) One texter says that it’s a total stop further down 99, though.

7:11 AM: Camera view indicates northbound 99 is still one lane at that spot. So delay your departure if you can!

7:45 AM: No change. No info on what’s taking so long, either. Bridge approaches, it almost goes without saying, are all backed up too.

8 AM: Metro has just now texted that C Line is rerouting and will have a different stop at 3rd/Seneca as a result.

8:24 AM: The camera view at the crash scene finally shows a tow truck.

8:46 AM: Finally clearing – at the scene; backups will take a while longer. We have asked SDOT what took so long, since this did not appear to be a major crash – one wrong-way car. Will update when the reply is in. We are also asking the county about the delay in reroute instructions for Metro drivers.

9:44 AM: Commenters say it’s still slow out there. Especially 4th Avenue South – here’s the “live” cam from there:

Meantime, on the southeast side of West Seattle, a crash is reported at West Marginal Way S/S. Holden. No details, just a heads-up in case you go that way.

12:44 PM: We have one reply in so far, from Jeff Switzer, speaking for Metro/King County Department of Transportation, to our question of why buses didn’t get a reroute order until an hour and a half after the crash:

RapidRide buses were initially getting by the accident scene, slowly, but still getting by. Once we heard the lane was completely blocked by emergency responders, about 7:47 am, our buses started rerouting. Notice went out to riders at 7:57 am.

Buses exited at Spokane Street and traveled via Fourth Avenue, which also can be congested. Which appears to be what happened today. A reported four-car collision on I-5 northbound at Mercer also appears to have added traffic to Fourth Avenue. Everything was slow coming into town from that direction, and the buses were only able to go as fast as the rest of traffic.

It wasn’t an easy commute for anyone in these corridors and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we shifted our routes to get people downtown as swiftly as possible.

Still awaiting SDOT word on what held up getting the scene cleared until 2 1/2 hours after the crash.

121 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Frozen Friday updates; 99 crash blocks lane for 2 1/2 hours"

  • JK December 6, 2013 (6:28 am)

    I went over the bridge eastbound at 5:40am and it seemed fine.

  • Franci December 6, 2013 (6:29 am)

    99 NB is a parking lot..

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (6:30 am)

      I’m adding the view looking south over northbound lanes right by the rise to the remaining Viaduct – a vehicle is visible pointed the wrong way.

  • RJB December 6, 2013 (6:30 am)

    No sure what is going on but 99 NB is at a standstill @ 6:30am…

  • Ael December 6, 2013 (6:34 am)

    Morning commute is going to suck now. Stuck on 99

  • Ms. December 6, 2013 (6:34 am)

    Accident happened shortly after 6am. I could see where it was but we were already complete stopped at the by pass. It slowly started moving and was down to just the right lane passing. It’s a single car accident. Definitely looks like a wrong way based on how the car was facing (southbound) and how they hit the railing (front and passenger side).

    I also went over the bridge and it wasn’t that bad.

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (6:39 am)

      Thanks, Ms. It wasn’t on the 911 log until 6:29 (after we already had noted it thanks to tips and the camera).

  • 935 December 6, 2013 (7:01 am)

    Before enough says it….everyday
    seriously – what is with you people? why is it so darn difficult to drive safely and prudent and get to your location in one price!
    Sheesh….won’t be the first today. sigh.

  • k December 6, 2013 (7:20 am)

    Drive carefully there is ice. This person created a traffic mess. Learn to drive

  • Scotter December 6, 2013 (7:28 am)

    Sitting on the 37. Harbor Ave is really backed up and hardly moving.

  • South Alki Mom December 6, 2013 (7:29 am)

    Currently on the 37 trying to get on the WS bridge. It’s backed up well down Harbor ave. TGIF!

  • Ms.L December 6, 2013 (7:30 am)

    Sitting on the C waiting to get on 99NB and we can clearly see 99 is a parking lot… WHY aren’t they routing us to 1st Ave???

  • Carpool December 6, 2013 (7:30 am)

    Is the 99 accident cleared yet? Is it better to wait than get on road from West Seattle to Queene Anne?

  • Ms.L December 6, 2013 (7:33 am)

    Well, the C driver changed his mind at the last second and decided to take 4th.

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (7:36 am)

      Carpool, no, it is not cleared – the camera view still shows the left lane blocked. I’m refreshing it and will update as soon as that lane clears …

  • Greta December 6, 2013 (7:37 am)

    Sign says Ballard is 68 minutes away…and that sign is always optimistic so I am guessing it’s more like 90-120 minutes away. Urgh!

  • Jen December 6, 2013 (7:43 am)

    Not sure why Metro hasn’t rerouted buses in this situation. They seem to be asleep at the wheel.

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (7:44 am)

      I have one Twitter report of a bus taking 4th. Don’t know which route.

  • Ben December 6, 2013 (7:45 am)

    Currently on the inbound C driving along Alaska. I hope my driver got the memo to take 4th instead of 99. That is, I hope Metro sent out such a memo and isn’t leaving it up to drivers to make the call.

  • CEA December 6, 2013 (7:48 am)

    Still creeping along 99. Delay your departure!

  • Raincity December 6, 2013 (7:51 am)

    On C route sitting on the on ramp from the bridge to NB 99. Our driver did not get the memo. Argh

  • chris December 6, 2013 (7:51 am)

    125 getting on 99 nb. Its still not moving.

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (7:57 am)

      Metro JUST sent a text about rerouting the C Line.

      • WSB December 6, 2013 (8:41 am)

        SDOT contact is working on info – while in bus stuck on Viaduct.

  • chris December 6, 2013 (7:53 am)

    C line and 120 just passed us heading to 4th.

  • Ms. December 6, 2013 (7:54 am)

    Accident still isn’t cleared? It’s been two hours and it wasn’t all that much debris to pick up unless the car was leaking. At least the driver was able to pull the car over so it was only blocking 1 lane, I looked back at the screen shot of the traffic cam, I texted in this morning, and it was originally blocking both lanes.

  • JoAnn B December 6, 2013 (7:55 am)

    Our C driver didn’t get the memo. We are sitting in the backup on the 99 ramp to downtown. I don’t understand why Metro doesn’t know about these things until after everyone else.

  • Kabe December 6, 2013 (7:55 am)

    On the 56. We are stop and go on 99 but it’s taken an hour so far from when we got on the bridge.

  • Ben December 6, 2013 (7:59 am)

    The driver of the inbound C I’m on (#6050) just announced during the approach to the high bridge that he’s been instructed (presumably by Metro HQ?) not to use the viaduct so he’ll be taking 4th. Whew. I hope they’re telling the drivers of all inbound buses

  • Jen December 6, 2013 (8:00 am)

    If they rerouted, it was after the collision had been blocking for at least an hour. I knew about the backup 45 min before my bus got in the exit lane to get onto 99 from the WS bridge, and 99 clearly be seen at a standstill. I don’t blame the bus driver, but I do blame Metro for not being more proactive.

    BTW, just passed the scene of the incident, and it is still blocking the left lane. Didn’t see any tow trucks yet.

  • Andi December 6, 2013 (8:04 am)

    Well, guess I should leave 2 hours before my shift instead of the one hour I usually take, for a no more than 30 minute commute. I wonder if Metro will refund the time away from my toddler they’re taking?

  • Enough December 6, 2013 (8:04 am)

    It’s BAD, again. Stay home if u can. Development with no mass transit. Grrrr!

  • Lou December 6, 2013 (8:05 am)

    99 still a parking lot. On ramp to 99 from WS bridge was slick

  • Stuart December 6, 2013 (8:07 am)

    1st ave is a parking lot – stop and go from Starbucks to Safeco

  • Ben December 6, 2013 (8:07 am)

    FYI the C (#6050) I’m on just took the 4th ave exit (some backup there), the Spokane st east to busway, and is now cruising north without further delay. I hope this is what Metro is telling all buses inbound buses from WS to do – seems like quickest option for now.

  • AmandaKH December 6, 2013 (8:07 am)

    How does this keep happening? Who is in charge of this City??!

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (8:26 am)

      Since 99 is a state road, I asked WSDOT via Twitter if they had any info on what was taking so long. They pointed me at SDOT, which does not consistently tweet and has not been tweeting this morning, so I will be asking them via e-mail. – TR

  • Anonymous December 6, 2013 (8:08 am)

    There was a small crash on Edgar Martinez right before the I-5 exits and I-90E exit. Wasn’t too bad but still slowed down the commute a little. 99 looked like a nightmare when we drove by.

  • chris December 6, 2013 (8:09 am)

    99 crawling slowly approaching downtown

  • Amy December 6, 2013 (8:13 am)

    There was a stalled car and police car at the Avalon on-ramp at 6:35 am. Our 21x was stuck behind it, but did an amazing job of squeezing by to prevent a traffic jamb. 99N was backed up south of the bridge due to the
    backwards van. It was very slow going – arriving downtown at 7:15, but much faster than the later commuters.

  • walnut December 6, 2013 (8:14 am)

    Accident not yet cleared, just passed on the 56. Cops are there but no tow. Apparently metro still sending 56 buses this way. 1 hour commute from admiral.

  • KJ December 6, 2013 (8:16 am)

    I’m on the 55 and it’s taken us over a half hour to go from Avalon & Yancy to the stadium. My driver just announced that there was an accident (which I already knew, of course, thanks to WSB) and that “Metro didn’t announce it, so we couldn’t reroute.” Why is the C line the only route that’s being instructed to reroute?

  • Enough December 6, 2013 (8:21 am)

    Why does it take hours to clear???!!!

  • Greta December 6, 2013 (8:22 am)

    To the motorcyclist driving down the median between all of our backed up cars: you aren’t special and what you’re doing is illegal. Obviously you don’t care though.

  • Kate December 6, 2013 (8:23 am)

    Our C Line driver did not take the 99 exit saying “do you want to sit in the parking lot or keep going?”

    TGIF indeed. 4th Ave is now slow from everyone rerouting.

  • chris December 6, 2013 (8:24 am)

    Accident still not cleared. Towtruck appears to be hooking up to the car.

  • tsp December 6, 2013 (8:24 am)

    30 min from junction to delridge on ramp on ws bridge.

  • Jess December 6, 2013 (8:27 am)

    The tow truck is there, but they aren’t going anywhere. Just a bunch of people standing around and cars blocking the lane. Why has it taken 2 full hours and they still haven’t cleared the 1 car??

  • Joe Szilagyi December 6, 2013 (8:28 am)

    Glad I chose today to work from home and am lucky enough to have that luxury once in a while. My wife is currently stuck trying to get across this nonsense into downtown to work.
    This is what–our third or fourth consecutive day of events?
    Do we just flat out need another permanent, additional avenue across the river? Do we need to mandate that Metro NOT take the viaduct anymore and start routing directly up 4th from the bridge?
    Tell us: West Seattle Transportation Coalition
    On Facebook:

  • laura December 6, 2013 (8:28 am)

    East marginal to 99n is completely stopped. 2nd day of my new job and I’m already calling in late

  • flimflam December 6, 2013 (8:30 am)

    wow. this is almost a daily rush hour occurrence it seems…

  • Rr December 6, 2013 (8:32 am)

    This is ridiculous. Sitting in traffic trying to get to fourth.

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (8:36 am)

      Update, someone somewhere at SDOT has tweeted for the first time since last night. 8:28 am: “SR 99 is very congested due to a bad accident.”
      Again, traffic reporting isn’t their accountability. But we do have the question out to ask the same question you all have, why 2+ hours for one vehicle. I can only guess the snow in other parts of Puget Sound might have diverted tow trucks? But that’s just a guess.

  • Chris W December 6, 2013 (8:34 am)

    I was miffed I missed the 55 this morning around 7am. Ended up on the C line that took the first rogue detour before Metro rerouted. What luck! Was downtown before 8.

  • Enough December 6, 2013 (8:35 am)

    2 hrs for a tow..

  • Franci December 6, 2013 (8:35 am)

    I saw quite a few cars using the bus only lane while I was stuck in the backup from about 6:15 – 7:00 am.

    They were private passenger cars; not van pools, not emergency vehicles. What are these people thinking?

  • Shari December 6, 2013 (8:37 am)

    99n is barely moving. Not looking like a good commute if you’re taking 99. Wait if you can.

  • Ben December 6, 2013 (8:39 am)

    For the life of me I don’t understand why Metro doesn’t ALWAYS route at least the C (if not other buses inbound from WS) along the path the C I was on took this morning:
    EB Spokane St viaduct to 4th Ave exit
    NB 4th to Spokane St
    EB Spokane St to Metro busway
    NB busway to Royal Brougham (bus-only)
    WB Royal Brougham to 4th Ave
    NB 4th to 3rd (via bus-only Prefontaine)
    NB 3rd (bus-only)
    Even with this morning’s huge backups, my bus was moving almost the whole time, and likely quicker than the normal C route (NB 99) on even a good day.

  • AmandaKH December 6, 2013 (8:42 am)

    Lets all call SDOT and ask them why it takes 2.5 hours to get a tow truck to remove one van that slipped on the ice. Unacceptable.

  • Greta December 6, 2013 (8:43 am)

    I just finally got past the accident. It didn’t even look that bad, which is great and I am glad but why did it take SO long and cause SUCH a delay?

  • smokeycretin9 December 6, 2013 (8:44 am)

    Proof that Seattle HATES West Seattle. This is beyond stupid. Time to secceed!

    West Seattle Liberation Front!!!!

  • Enough December 6, 2013 (8:44 am)

    1 hr to get to I 5 north. FYI.

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (8:46 am)

      JUST cleared. But residual backups will of course take a while …

  • Joe Szilagyi December 6, 2013 (8:49 am)

    @Ben, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition is going to be working on this. It’s getting out of hand. In the past, some of us had been told some things like, paraphrasing, A) “the time benefits of using 4th primarily versus the Viaduct to go north are negligible” and B) “if we used 4th, we may be compelled to offer additional service stops there, delaying buses there”.
    For A obviously, that’s not true. Even if the commute takes 30 seconds or 2 minutes longer it’s better than this.
    For B, then don’t stop the Rapid Ride from Avalon until 4th & Seneca!

  • East Coast Cynic December 6, 2013 (8:52 am)

    It was inexplicable and frustrating that Metro did not send out a mass communique to the buses that take the viaduct to use 4th Ave S!!!!!! Normally they will do that but this accident happened early enough that there was no excuse for the lack of warning:/

  • M December 6, 2013 (8:57 am)

    8:55am and route 120 is rerouting via 1st Ave S to avoid accident zone. If it’s clearing, it’s clearing slowly.

  • Sasi December 6, 2013 (9:04 am)

    Downtown re-routes are still very well jammed up. On C Line, which re-touted from 4th to 1st. Not yet on first. Boarded bus at Myrtle and Fauntleroy at 8:05, an hour ago. At least 15-25 more minutes until we reach 4th and Pine stop.

    Should’ve ridden my bike *smacks forehead*

  • Sue December 6, 2013 (9:14 am)

    Got on a 55 at Jefferson Square at 8am and got to 2nd/Seneca Street at 8:50. Would’ve been far worse had I left at my normal earlier time, but still ridiculous. They had just cleared the accident as we passed.

  • Joe Szilagyi December 6, 2013 (9:26 am)

    Getting told by friends and family that 4th is and remains a vehicle graveyard.

  • Jtm December 6, 2013 (9:36 am)

    Traffic in and out of W Sea has been a complete joke this week. So frustrating.

  • B December 6, 2013 (9:37 am)

    I’m on the C line on 4th Ave. and it is still a parking lot.

  • Joe Szilagyi December 6, 2013 (9:39 am)

    I was asked to post this by my wife as she couldn’t get it onto the site via phone. She was born and raised in West Seattle.
    “Caught the 21 in Arbor Heights at 8:30. My shift starts at 10 am downtown. Made it onto 4th an hour later, will still likely be late for work.
    An hour and a half lead time and I still can’t make it to work on time. This is so far beyond unacceptable it’s ceased to be funny. People live in cities for the amenities and convenience. If I wanted to drive everywhere and be stuck in traffic I’d move to the suburbs. What happened to the Seattle I grew up in? I used to be able to get anywhere on the bus, quickly! Now I have to plan around being stuck in one for over an hour each way. I hate that Metro and those in positions of power have made me regret settling my family in the same neighborhood I grew up in. “

  • Kim December 6, 2013 (9:45 am)

    Yep. Do not take 4th Ave. Barely crawling.

  • babs December 6, 2013 (9:46 am)

    My C line rerouted to Fourth Ave which was horribly slow. Only just got to work. I can’t wait to see how SDOT spins this. When the viaduct went down to two lanes, wasn’t the city supposed to have tow trucks at the ready to clear problems?? The week has been an utter joke.

  • K December 6, 2013 (9:49 am)

    What are the conditions on the bridge and 99? Still jammed?

  • WSB December 6, 2013 (9:51 am)

    If you scroll back up, there are “live” (refresh your page for updates) views of both, and both look pretty busy. I have also just added the live camera from 4th S.

  • sam-c December 6, 2013 (9:51 am)

    wow, these stories are unbelievable. sorry people have to put up with this.
    the next time our friend asks my husband about coming to work at their office in Fremont, I’ll have to point him to this and say “only if you commute by bike”

  • AmandaKH December 6, 2013 (9:52 am)

    In real cities, they have signs with the direct number to DOT when you have a stall or an accident on an expressway/freeway/major road. Maybe someday Seattle can be a real city.

  • JAT December 6, 2013 (9:53 am)

    There’s a lot of outrage here being directed at the City or Metro, and maybe some of it is justified, however why no outrage at the individual who was driving his or her vehicle in a manner unsafe for conditions, or (over)reacting to someone else who was doing so?

    Of course there’s a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I element to this all, but it’s not an “accident”; it’s a crash. It’s bonehead driving causing all this crashing and injury and delay.

    Please stop already, and stop blaming the government and its agencies for the failure of people to operate their vehicles effectively.

  • schwaggy December 6, 2013 (9:57 am)

    Well that was FREEKIN’ AWESOME. 1 Hour, 22 Minutes to go 7 MILES. (yes, I’m shouting)

  • enough December 6, 2013 (10:07 am)

    I don’t know which is more sad. The fact that 1 lane being blocked can cripple this “city” or that it took 2.5 hours for a tow/resolution. We shouldn’t put up with this.
    Is it just me or is it ironic we have elected city officials who live in WS like Mr Constantine and Mr Rasmussen. Mr R. is chair of the transportation commitee .. Hello!? Can’t they do anything to help us out?! Will we hear from Mr R. about the de-icer debacle? Last I read, he asked for an explaination from DOT.
    This s*** is getting old and I’m glad I’m not alone in my frustration.

  • joe December 6, 2013 (10:16 am)

    10:15 a.m. And the West Seattle bridge is still a parking lot.

  • Why Reroute? December 6, 2013 (10:18 am)

    Does anyone really expect Metro to proactively reroute during the current budget fiasco? Metro WANTS us to experience poor service so we’ll push the state to open funding options. Expect Metro to take advantage of passive aggressive opportunities like today because they can get away with it. Local government entities in this area need serious house cleaning.

  • Joe Szilagyi December 6, 2013 (10:21 am)

    @JAT “Please stop already, and stop blaming the government and its agencies for the failure of people to operate their vehicles effectively.”
    The blame is across the board. Don’t speed; don’t drive reckless; don’t make mistakes. The viaduct carries thousands of people an hour today through a wild construction zone. Accidents in that stretch by the stadiums and the EMC/Isilon building are now commonplace. There is little we can do to stop random bad events or mechanical failures happening with so many literal moving parts.
    What we CAN do is require and mandate that our employees and hired staff–the elected officials–direct the people they supervise on our behalf to make, fund, and ruthlessly execute plans to keep the impact of those bad events from becoming lunatic 2+ hour fiascoes.

  • Sandra DeMers December 6, 2013 (10:26 am)

    I’m sitting here at home waiting until someone posts that the WS bridge eastbound is flowing freely again, so I can go to work.

  • dimsum December 6, 2013 (10:38 am)

    Any news out about how it is out there? Sure would be nice if there were some more useful cameras for 99. :(

  • Kevin December 6, 2013 (10:38 am)

    @JAT – Incidents, accidents, and crashes happen. Severe impacts to so many people from these events should not happen – certainly not from a vehicle blocking one lane. Poor planning by the County and City is the root cause of the severity.

  • NicMarie December 6, 2013 (10:40 am)

    The lane for NB I5 on the WS Bridge is hardly moving… Observed from my C as we went over it on 99.

  • sam-c December 6, 2013 (10:43 am)

    after this morning’s commute (well, I guess it’s not OVER yet), I shudder to think how it’s gonna look when the viaduct is closed for more than a couple days when they start tunneling under it. hopefully WsDOT finds the tunneling impact is not bad and reopen viaduct quickly, and hopefully, people anticipate and modify their commutes.

  • gina December 6, 2013 (10:43 am)

    Glad I saw this posted. Raced to get ready and have time to walk to water taxi, was 15 minutes early to work.

  • Joe Mamma December 6, 2013 (10:50 am)

    What’s going on to keep 4th Ave backed up so long? Just the usual idiotic Seattle driving? Great to know one accident can bring the city to a halt. Nothing like living in a city that was built to be a permanent one-horse town.

  • Meredith December 6, 2013 (11:00 am)

    We left from Arbor Heights at 7:50 am (driving, we are normally daily bus commuters but need the car tonight)and didn’t get to downtown until 9:45. It was unreal. I don’t live in W Seattle yet (my boyfriend does) but that was mind-boggling. 2 hours to get downtown? I feel like this is what happens when you build a ton of (ugly, generic, soul-less) new condos, but don’t provide transit to get them to their place of work. Where the heck is W Seattle on the priority list for light rail? THAT’s what’s really needed.

    There needs to be a bumper sticker that says, “don’t Ballard West Seattle.”

    As an aside – WSB folks – you are THE BEST. I skip the Seattle Times now because you are always all over it, anyway – thank you for being so good at what you do!

  • PangolinPie December 6, 2013 (11:19 am)

    That was the worst commute I’ve had all year! Almost 2 HOURS to get from Highland Park to lower Queen Anne (left at 7:30ish, got to work after 9:30). And to think I was just thinking of switching to taking the bus to work. Bleah. Oh well, it’s over for today and it IS Friday. I hope everyone else is feeling a little better now.

  • alki resident December 6, 2013 (11:19 am)

    With all of this mess, the new tunnel should be a blast.

  • brad December 6, 2013 (11:21 am)

    I drove by the single car spin out around 6:30am. 2 police cars there and oficers just standing around. Car could have easliy been pushed out of the way…Why it took so long to clear makes no sence at all..I can hardly wait till the snow starts to fly, and no trafic moves for hours!!!

  • East Coast Cynic December 6, 2013 (11:24 am)


    Speaking of government blame, Why did the WSDOT or SDOT take so d*mned long to get a tow truck to the site of the accident to remove that person’s truck?????? An accident happening between 6am and 7am shouldn’t have been much of an issue to getting some assistance to the site to move the vehicle in a timely fashion!!!

  • Halt December 6, 2013 (11:33 am)

    The big question I have is why the car was not towed right away. I used to commute from Oakland to SF over the Bay Bridge and if a car broke down on that bridge they’d tow it right away.

  • Franci December 6, 2013 (11:42 am)


    By 6:15 the accident was backed up on NB 99 to the Startbucks Headquarters. It took me 45 min to get from there to the Seneca St. off ramp. Even early it was very slow going. I guess it depends upon where the tow truck was dispatched from. They may have been caught in the backed-up traffic.

  • wetone December 6, 2013 (11:55 am)

    The city and SDOT have some major issues with road management and it seems to be getting worse. Been driving on our city streets 40yrs. The last 10yrs things have really gone down hill with traffic management, road maintenance, spending habits. They need to keep traffic moving #1. If they can’t do that it won’t matter how many people ride on Metro. Today sitting on 99 you have a view enjoy, couple years you will be sitting in a tunnel. Don’t expect traffic to ever get better here. The city and SDOT’s next statement: we need to raise taxes again as we are understaffed and don’t have enough money to maintain the infrastructure. Broken record..

  • sam-c December 6, 2013 (12:06 pm)

    Franci- but wasn’t the accident just past the on-ramps near the stadiums ? couldn’t the tow truck get on there ? I don’t understand why towing didn’t happen til 2 hours later.

  • Jeff December 6, 2013 (12:26 pm)

    Lots of blame to go around on this one:

    1) obviously the driver of the van which spun out and started this whole mess. Not sure of the exact circumstances, but a driver is responsible for the actions of his/her vehicle.

    2) SDOT or WDOT or whoever is in charge of traffic on the SR99. It should not take 2 hours to get a tow and clear the road after a one-car non-injury accident!

    3) Metro Transit, for not ordering its buses to reroute sooner

    I wonder if part of the problem is that we have a lame-duck mayor and no real oversight at the moment over SDOT. See also the de-icing fiasco on monday!

  • Me2 December 6, 2013 (1:07 pm)

    I was caught up in this mess going to a doctor’s appointment with my husband (we’re retired, thank god). We started to count all the cars around us with single drivers, and it was nearly all of them. If you drive alone to work, consider yourself a contributor to this problem. Fewer cars = less congestion. (Yes, yes, I know, YOU need YOUR car.)

  • Erik Rains December 6, 2013 (1:10 pm)

    This mornings commute was horrible. Please send all comments to SDOT.
    And what happened to the SDOT tow truck driver who is normally on the viaduct for the morning commute waiting to tow vehicles!!!
    The city really needs to improve response times for accidents.

  • steve December 6, 2013 (1:36 pm)

    Thank you Me2 for your condescending and oh so kind comment. Yes, by the time I get to the bridge, I am alone in the car because prior to that I am dropping two kids off at 2 different places and I have to wait until a specific time to do that. After they are dropped off, it is too late to take the bus to get me to work on Capitol Hill. I bus 3x a week and drive the other two days and I think most of us are doing the best we can. Carpooling and taking the bus just doesn’t work for everyone everyday.

  • Joe Szilagyi December 6, 2013 (1:42 pm)

    @Jeff “SDOT or WDOT or whoever is in charge of traffic on the SR99.”
    This is a City and SDOT issue. See here:
    “The State of Washington (specifically Washington State Department of Transportation) is responsible for the Viaduct structure and the City of Seattle (specifically, Seattle Department of Transportation) is responsible for traffic operations and traffic control, in cooperation with the Seattle Police Department and SDOT’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers for enforcement.”

  • Me2 December 6, 2013 (2:14 pm)

    @Steve I know I was cynical but I didn’t mean to be condescending. I think it’s great that you take the bus when you can. I took the bus to downtown for 25 years because I hated driving in the traffic and preferred to let someone else do it. I even chose where I live by the convenience of the bus route. I know the buses can be a pain and that they don’t work for everyone, but I’m sick of hearing people who do have choices and choose to drive alone talk as though they are victims.

  • McFail December 6, 2013 (2:18 pm)

    Jay Z in town and “99 Problems”. Coincidence?

  • nolongerusingthestreets December 6, 2013 (2:28 pm)

    Took me ~35 mins on my bike WS -> 1st Hill, which was a little slow due to the cold, usually it’s more like 30 mins. For the inclement weather I treated myself to a gooey apple fritter and coffee. Thanks Top Pot!

  • nolongerusingthestreets December 6, 2013 (2:29 pm)

    McFail: brilliant—99 problems, but a bus ain’t one.

  • chris December 6, 2013 (2:54 pm)

    +1 McFail

  • enough December 6, 2013 (3:03 pm)

    Good one.

  • bob December 6, 2013 (4:16 pm)

    Those 2 police officers that arrive on the seen at around 6:25am did nothing to help with traffic control….They should have stopped traffic and had a tow truck come on at the off ramp at 1st ave. They both came on to 99 north from the onramp near the stadiums. Police did not close that on ramp so cars and bus mearged into trafic there causing more back ups all the way to the 1st south bridge.Just a couple of things our fine men in blue could have done to help the whole mess and they failed to do the easy stuff. I drove by the accident at about 6:30am and the lady driver was on her phone, and the 2 police officers were just standing there, they could have used their car to push her car out of the way.

  • enough December 6, 2013 (5:05 pm)

    Thanks Bob. Not surprised..

  • andrew December 6, 2013 (7:55 pm)

    I drove by at 7:22am… it took me 60 minutes longer than usual to naviage 2 miles of 99 NB. The two cop cars were sitting there in their cars, not helping. The woman in the white SUV (wrong way car) was just sitting there in her car. Meanwhile, millions of dollars of wages/salaries are going out the window while the entire city waits. What was the cause of the road-clear processs breakdown this morning? I though the City contracts with a tow company(ies) and requires a very short response time in their Service Level Agreements. What went wrong? Dow C. – Can you open a short investigation so this doesn’t happen again? If it does keep happning, the people stuck in traffic should be entitled to some sort of recourse. That was rediculous this morning. Honestly, next time, I willl pull the disabled vehicle to the side of the road with my tow chain and my own vehicle to keep people moving.

  • Mike December 6, 2013 (10:02 pm)

    We took the lower bridge and Alaska Way at 7:20AM, got to South Lake Union 5 min later than normal. Alaska way was vacant. We had a nice scenic drive along the waterfront downtown.

  • SaraS December 7, 2013 (12:37 am)

    Link. Rail. Now.

  • pupsarebest December 7, 2013 (2:05 am)

    Call AAA:
    “World-class” city…what a pathetic joke.

  • Robert December 7, 2013 (6:13 am)


  • kas December 7, 2013 (11:18 am)

    I’m ignorant to “how the sysem works” in these situations, but is there a reason why an individual with crashed vehicle can’t just call a tow truck on their own?

    • WSB December 7, 2013 (11:36 am)

      Kas, I don’t know that they didn’t call the tow truck on their own … if the person who was involved in that crash happens to be reading this, we would love to hear from you about what happened, here in comments or e-mail me at … but anyway, we will renew our inquiry with SDOT on Monday regarding ‘what took 2 1/2 hours?’, since while it was acknowledged, there was no reply forthcoming by day’s end … TR

Sorry, comment time is over.