VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 1: Friday afternoon/evening traffic/transit updates

(SDOT MAP with camera/incident links; OFFICIAL INFOSITE for #99Closure; BRIDGE CLOSURES; morning coverage HERE)

(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)

4:05 PM: Good afternoon – we’ll be covering traffic/transit this pm in our usual morning style, since it’s the first inbound commute of the two-weeks-or-so Viaduct closure.

Updates first: WSDOT confirms that the tunneling machine did start its beneath-the-Viaduct journey around 9 am. The first progress report is expected in a few hours … @voght tweeted that the 30th/Yancy/Avalon intersection, scene of safety-project work the past few hours, is now fully open again.

4:17 PM: Car vs. pedestrian crash reported at 1st/Horton. … Moments later, also via scanner, police report they and SFD responders aren’t finding either car OR pedestrian.

4:52 PM: Multiple commenters report the Lander bus reroute headed this way is delay-plagued because of trains.

5:08 PM: Remember the stadium zone is extra-busy because the Mariners are home tonight, hosting Kansas City. We’re headed outbound to see what the inbound routes look like outside of webcam range.

5:21 PM: Crash under the bridge, near 26th/Spokane, with injuries. We’re heading that way. (added) Per the photo Josh tweeted, passing on a bus, it’s along the trail on the westbound side of Spokane. Per scanner, victim is a pedestrian hit by a vehicle; injuries include a broken leg.

5:39 PM: Right lane of westbound Spokane is blocked, right by the 26th SW sign (and a “stop for pedestrians” sign).


Left lane is getting by. Bike/pedestrian trail is open. The victim, a 57-year-old woman, will be taken to the hospital by medic unit. The driver is still at the scene, talking with officers. Transit note: Standing-room-only 21 just went by.

5:47 PM: After leaving that scene, we’re continuing eastbound to see how some of the inbound routes look. Low bridge is wide open. We’re on surface East Marginal north of Spokane now, passing the cargo terminals; little traffic also flowing well both ways – more southbound bicycles than any other vehicles.

5:58 PM: Heading back into West Seattle. The crash scene mentioned above on westbound lower Spokane is now completely clear.

6:24 PM: For the first time in more than 12 hours, and only the second time today, the “low bridge” is closing to land-based traffic so it can open for vessel traffic, per @SDOTbridges (which we are linking to the top of each commute report during the Viaduct closure).

6:34 PM: Big current problem – apparently a train-crossing gate on Lander is stuck in the down position and buses using that as the reroute are backed up in a big way.

6:38 PM: The “low bridge” has reopened to land-based traffic.

7:01 PM: Scanner – the train gates should be “functioning” again. Meantime, the Water Taxi’s about to shift into its hourly mode for the rest of the evening. We stopped by Seacrest briefly about an hour ago.


As a sizable group (we’re hoping to get the pm numbers later) disembarked, a downtown-bound line awaited. In comments, Elton says about 100 people were in line downtown a short time ago, awaiting the current run back this way. Michelle shared this look at what the downtown queue for the 5:15 trip to WS:


That photo was courtesy of her sweetie, who was first in line.

8:30 PM: We’ve learned from King County DOT that the run all those people were waiting for had a ridership of 236 – not far from capacity, and more than four times the passengers on the same run last week.

43 Replies to "VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 1: Friday afternoon/evening traffic/transit updates"

  • Colleen April 29, 2016 (4:21 pm)

    For anyone trying the 4th and Lander stop back to WS there’s no tracking for when buses will show. And wave at the driver. Standing right at stop 55 driver blew right past me.

  • cburns April 29, 2016 (4:25 pm)

    May have changed since I went through, but left Lower Queen Anne at 3:15 and was at Morgan Junction 35 minutes later, via waterfront (busy but moved smoothly) and E Marginal Way (almost no one on it). 

  • JayDee April 29, 2016 (4:28 pm)

    At 3:00 I was waiting for the 50 at the usual Lander stop when the 120/C buses started pulling in. The C’s were standing room only, so I waited for the 50.  First Ave south of Lander was also a zoo.  But I got back to Alki OK, except for the 50 milk run from the Junction to Admiral.

  • Jim Clark April 29, 2016 (4:40 pm)

    still stuck at work in SLU Oh which way to go home.

  • Oneanne April 29, 2016 (4:41 pm)

    21 local has been sitting at the train tracks on Lander for 15 min so far… Twice the gates have gone down for the Sounder, then there’s a rail maintenance crew doing something and then a freight train.  Wahoo… Moving again.

  • Sue April 29, 2016 (4:43 pm)

    On a 21 now waiting on our third train on Lander. I got on at 3rd/Seneca 35 min ago. This trip will definitely be longer than this morning.

  • AmandaKH April 29, 2016 (4:45 pm)

    The Lander St reroute for southbound buses is misery. Airport Way was awesome, in a car? Take that! Yikes, this is awful.

  • PigeonPoint April 29, 2016 (5:05 pm)

    I’m surprised by how many cars aren’t abiding by the “Do not enter” signs on 3rd AVE southbound, since it is supposed to be busses only during rush hour for certain blocks. It’s causing some significant back ups at the moment (tied in with the bus routes that aren’t normally on this road), as busses can’t get to the curb lanes. It’s taken 15 minutes to go from 3rd and Pike to 3rd and Columbia  :(

    • Joe Bags April 29, 2016 (7:14 pm)

      That sucks but can’t say I am surprised at people’s behavior, viadoom or not.

  • WSLiz April 29, 2016 (5:13 pm)

    1 hour on the c line from Westlake to Bradford  (got on just before 4).  Also, at the 30th/yancy/avalon project, 30th is still closed.  I’m still hoping they add a crosswalk across avalon before they are done as NO ONE stops for pedestrians at that corner  (causing people to cross throughout the street and making it very unsafe for all).

  • Sue April 29, 2016 (5:27 pm)

    Just read on Facebook that Peel & Press is extending their happy hour until 7pm weeknights thru 5/13 to accommodate the traffic delays. We probably all need a drink. :)

  • Donna April 29, 2016 (5:32 pm)

    Anyone else have almost 2 hours of waiting and riding the bus back into West Seattle from downtown? I took the 125 from 3rd and Seneca (after one didn’t show up) and sat on Lander for close to 30 minutes. Is driving better than taking the bus? 

    But…I gotta give serious props to the bus drivers for being safe and as timely as possible. They also were very helpful with rerouted stops. Thanks!!! 

  • Rachel April 29, 2016 (6:01 pm)

    I walked down to the water taxi from 3rd and Columbia. It seems to be running late, with the 5:45 leaving close to 6pm. Lots of people, but still room for more!  Highly recommended! 

  • West Seattle since 1979 April 29, 2016 (6:03 pm)

    The 55 I’m on is moving right along, and there’s a 21X ahead of us– we went 5th South to Airport Way, now we’re turning into Lander. Hopefully there won’t be trains going through.

  • West Seattle since 1979 April 29, 2016 (6:09 pm)

    Right after the 55 turned onto Lander, it was announced that the railroad gate was down and we should take Edgar Martinez.

  • tim April 29, 2016 (6:09 pm)

    I caught a C at 3rd and Columbia at 3:10 and with the reroute it was fine. Got to the Junction around 3:40ish. This morning the C was almost full at 6:30. I got the last seat. Monday will adjust to 6:15am. Normally I catch the 6:45am. 

    Hope Bertha will roll fast.

  • Doobah April 29, 2016 (6:17 pm)

    I heard bus drivers are making up their own routes on the C Rapid Ride line. Way to plan metro!

  • pagefive April 29, 2016 (6:18 pm)

    21 was way more crowded than usual. Metro should not be routing buses across Lander due to delays caused by trains crossing, in my opinion.  Why can’t they go down 1st Ave? I spent 50 more minutes commuting by bus in the am and pm (combined) compared to normal. I’m switching to the water taxi next week!

  • bus rider April 29, 2016 (6:24 pm)

    Tonight’s commute was one hour longer than normal. I will try the water taxi on Monday.

  • West Seattle since 1979 April 29, 2016 (6:25 pm)

    Why are they even using Lander for this? 

  • Trevor April 29, 2016 (6:29 pm)

    Must have been close to 20 buses backed up on Lander waiting to cross the RR tracks at 6pm. Xing closed for 15min with no trains in sight. Finally followed the crowd of frustrated peds and skirted the arms to cross the tracks and caught a WS bound bus on 1st Ave. 

    • WSB April 29, 2016 (6:34 pm)

      Thanks for the update on that. I only heard fragmented scanner traffic. Adding to the narrative too.

  • Elton April 29, 2016 (6:55 pm)

    The 6:45 water táxi just arrived in Seattle for pickup . Probably about 100 people here 

    • WSB April 29, 2016 (7:00 pm)

      Thanks! We weren’t able to get to the downtown dock for afternoon updates after all (just a quick photo stop at Seacrest about an hour ago), hoping to get the numbers from the county.

  • Annie April 29, 2016 (7:07 pm)

    6:45 water taxi departing at 7:05, they say cause takes longer to load and unload the extra people. 

  • Kc April 29, 2016 (7:21 pm)

    Did not have to leave WS today and sorry for you who did

    rerouting of busses to lander I think is just a ploy for funding the the mayor’s desire for an overpass on that corridor so it can be said we really need this because don’t you remember how bad traffic was when 99 was down

    send all the busses south over the first Ave bridge or 14ave bridge in so park and double back

    it has to be quicker than setting on tracks

    metro should have the busses on 1st& 4th continue south and not try and go east west

    just getting fired up Tuesday will be the worst of the worst

    Let the sonics vacate occidental Ave and as a condition make them build an over pass at lander and one at holgate 

    • chemist April 29, 2016 (9:42 pm)

      The council’s MOU sets aside money for the lander overpass, $25 million IIRC, which can in whole (or with additional private backfilling) come from taxes generated by the project prior to the arena being built (be that sales tax on construction supplies, admissions taxes while using the Seattle Coliseum temporarily, etc). I think the lander overpass estimates are in the several hundred million dollar range.

  • Junctionite April 29, 2016 (7:28 pm)

    Usual 20 minute bus ride was an hour, is this what we have to look forward to when the tunnel opens and the bus no longer drives on the viaduct? 

  • j April 29, 2016 (7:39 pm)

    Let’s shut down Occidental during the viaduct closure since “no one uses that street anyway”. 

    Or maybe King5 can run their story re; Occidental  St this week (instead of 11am on a non-gameday) and you can see what a crucial roadway it is. 

  • bus rider April 29, 2016 (8:39 pm)

     Going in at 8:50 am at 35th and Avalon taking C line to 3rd and Seneca was fine this morning. Just added another 15-20 minutes to my commute but coming home waited 15 minutes at 3rd and Seneca for a bus. Caught an extra C bus at 5:15 that took about 20 minutes to go four blocks on third to the court house then once on Airport Way it was fine for 5 minutes until it got to Lander street, where it sat for an hour at the blocked train tracks. Finally at 6:20 the bus driver said there was a problem with the train tracks so no vehicles could cross but they let people out of the buses so they could walk over to 1st avenue and catch other buses traveling on 1st.  The bus is probably still stuck there. Thank you 21x for stopping at 1st and Lander.  It took 1 hour and 45 minutes from 3rd and Seneca to 35th and Avalon. 

    Metro please find a way to avoid crossing the train tracks back to West Seattle or allow more to use the bus lanes. We are at the mercy of Burlington Northern and they don’t appear to coordinate with Metro, City and WSDOT with the viaduct shut down.

    If I could I’d ride a bike but I don’t have that as an option. 


  • pmc April 29, 2016 (8:56 pm)

    WEST SEATTLE SINCE 1979 The regular routes 50,21,55, (and 118 or 116 what ever the Vashon route is,)  stop at Lander, They service the large ridership from starbucks and Seattle Public School main office  plus countless other who work around there on 1st.  We’re glad to share:)

  • pmc April 29, 2016 (9:03 pm)

    KC The overpass on that corridor will be good, esp with more trains set to travel that track, Of course  from what I could tell from the plans on its site my building looks like it is to close to stay or survive  the build.

    So oh well, we’ll see

  • naomi April 29, 2016 (9:24 pm)

    Why route the buses down 4th and make them wait for numerous unpredictable trains when there is a simply sublime railroad bypass route past Safeco Field at Edgar Martinez Drive? Take that to 1st Avenue and get on the ramp to West Seattle. Or is that route too clogged with cars?

  • TheKing April 29, 2016 (9:58 pm)

    Just imagine how this would be if the road diet on 35th ave had already extended north past Morgan street. 

    • wb April 29, 2016 (10:37 pm)

      We are waiting. Can’t wait for the speeders in their bloated SUVs to have to drive responsibly.

  • Elisabeth April 29, 2016 (10:15 pm)

    Want to give a big shout-out to our C Line driver this evening. We caught the bus in SLU a little after 5 p.m. At the Lander gridlock mess (caused by Safeco Field game traffic) he said “It’s time to think outside the box! I won’t tell if you won’t!” He said we’d do the route in reverse. We took the 1st Ave S bridge and ended up on Roxbury, thence to Westwood Village on Barton. At that point my friend’s husband picked us up and drove me to my Junction home. But I could have stayed on that bus and got to the Junction anyhow (albeit a whole lot later). I assume everybody else eventually got home. Bravo to that driver’s creative thinking! Bravo to Metro for allowing its drivers to improvise!

  • Neighbor April 29, 2016 (11:50 pm)

    I thought biking would be great as usual but the car crowd is hostile!! Lots of horns, swerving too close, yelling, rude hand gestures, not looking right before turning across the bike path to see if it’s clear before crossing and too much speeding when traffic opens up. These few car drivers are making it very dangerous for us because they think only their time is important.i hate to say this but maybe it’s not such a good time to try biking if you’re not experienced in traffic. I wish I had a GoPro. I would put these a-holes on utube.  

  • Charlie April 29, 2016 (11:58 pm)

    In all of this, just know that One Bus Away is totally useless. 

  • bolo April 30, 2016 (12:52 am)

    RE: Lander RR Xing gate:
    There was a RR maintenance team there at 4:30-ish to repair the tracks at that crossing. They waited for a passenger train to cross then closed off the crossing to load equipment on the tracks. Either they left the gates down on purpose or broke something if the gates were stuck down for hours afterwards.

    It must have been emergency repairs. Can’t believe they actually planned to close off the crossing for repairs on a major Metro bus reroute day.

  • RayWest April 30, 2016 (6:44 am)

    Managed the first day okay, but left for work at 6:00 am instead of 7:00. I took my “secret” route to my job at UW. Was fine going there, but it did take a bit longer coming home, though I left two hours early. Fortunately, I have next week off (a happy coincidence) and hope the second week goes smoother for all commuters. Everyone, please pray that Bertha does not break down again. It really would be “viadoom.”

  • AJL April 30, 2016 (8:11 am)

    Neighbor, I was just telling my SO the exact same thing last night. That it is not a good time to start riding a bike if you don’t have at least some experience riding in traffic already and aren’t familiar with the traffic patterns on the streets (I.e. Where drivers usually turn or where they tend to make sudden and unannounced movements). It took me a little long to bike than usual yesterday because I was being so defensive

Sorry, comment time is over.