Highway 99/Viaduct updates: Lane closures postponed; inspection closure ahead; repair-work update

From a two-part briefing on the Highway 99/Viaduct project (and side issues) that just concluded at this morning’s Seattle City Council meeting:

99 LANE CLOSURES POSTPONED, BUT TONIGHT’S CLOSURE STILL ON: The big breaking news came mid-briefing – WSDOT apparently has heeded the observations that the work that was going to lead to weeks of lane closures north of downtown is NOT urgent, and they’ve decided to postpone it TFN. The work was to pour foundations for signs that won’t even be needed until the tunnel opens. However, tonight’s overnight closure of NB 99 north of the Battery Street Tunnel, in order to remove the “Mercer wiggle,” IS still on.

Also on the subject of closures:

INSPECTION CLOSURE: When WSDOT started its part of the briefing, it was revealed that the next major inspection closure of the entire Viaduct will be the last weekend of this month, March 28-29. We’re checking to see if that will be a wall-to-wall all-weekend closure, or a “6 am to 6 pm each day” closure.

TUNNEL MACHINE UPDATES: WSDOT’s Matt Preedy went through the steps of how the machine’s cutterhead will be dissembled.

(Added: 11:38 am screengrab from repair-pit camera)
The main piece is likely to be lifted toward the end of this month, and if all goes well, the machine could restart in August, he said. (See the WSDOT slide deck here.)

CITY BRIEFING: The council-meeting discussion began with an SDOT update on the in-progress “what if the Viaduct had to be closed before the tunnel is open?” SDOT leaders stressed that this is NOT intended to make people think a closure is expected, just that they are continuing to make sure the city is ready just in case. One unsettling point, though – the amount of bus service that would be needed to help mitigate a longterm Viaduct shutdown would take two years to ramp up. (See the SDOT slide deck here.)

7 Replies to "Highway 99/Viaduct updates: Lane closures postponed; inspection closure ahead; repair-work update"

  • Acg40 March 9, 2015 (11:48 am)

    Hallelujah for postponing the lane closures! You just made my day!

  • sam-c March 9, 2015 (12:27 pm)

    wait, what? what’s TFN ? I was reasonably ok with scheduling a couple of weeks at a summer camp that requires a few trips on the viaduct…. hmm, are they going to postpone it til summer?

    • WSB March 9, 2015 (1:51 pm)

      They couldn’t say weeks or months. Just that it has to be done before the tunnel opens.

  • Sheila Gustafson March 9, 2015 (3:59 pm)

    We are shoutin’ “Hallelujah” over here at our house, too! We rely on 99/Aurora to get to work daily and this closure was going to provide a big hiccup to our daily schedules. Thanks, DOT, for using your brains and exhibiting some common sense. We are very appreciative.

  • trickycoolj March 9, 2015 (5:19 pm)

    Oh good. Inspection closure the same weekend as Emerald City Comicon. That ought to be a delightful snarl.

  • Fred March 9, 2015 (5:33 pm)


    Can we finally start firing these civil servants who seem to be completely lacking in common sense or other basic competences other than poor decision-making.

  • Sue March 10, 2015 (8:24 am)

    My thoughts exactly, trickycoolj. Rapid Ride on Comicon weekend isn’t fun enough, so they thought they’d add a closure in the mix. They also seem to do it a lot the weekend the Fremont Fair too. I know they can’t avoid every event in Seattle, but they might want to look at major ones before scheduling stuff.

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