VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 6: Wednesday morning traffic/transit coverage

(SDOT MAP with camera/incident links; OFFICIAL #99CLOSURE INFOSITE; ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

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

5:05 AM: Good morning! It’s the sixth day of the two-weeks-or-so Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. The state is now posting early-morning tunneling updates as well as late-morning and mid-evening, and as of this morning, the tunneling machine has gone 148 feet of the 380-foot stretch that will get it clear of the Viaduct’s underside.

If you are using the Water Taxi this morning, and driving to Seacrest, you have a new reason to try the Pier 2 parking, which still hasn’t been even half-utilized – there’s an added no-parking zone in the area, on the inland side of the street across from Don Armeni, ~20 or so spaces off-limits 8 am-5 pm for the next three weekdays for utility-related work on the project that’ll be at the ex-Alki Tavern site. There’s also a morning event in the area – the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s annual awards breakfast bringing ~200 to Salty’s (WSB sponsor).

5:32 AM: So far this morning, no incidents, and the bridges/roads are still relatively quiet. Transportation authorities are hoping you’re not going back to your regular departure time – stretching the commute across a wider timespan is key to getting through the closure period.

6:07 AM: Trouble on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry run – from WSF, “The 5:45 am sailing from Vashon (was) cancelled due to a shortage of Coast Guard documented crew. Replacements have been dispatched. The Issaquah will resume service with a late 6:10 am sailing from Fauntleroy.”

6:15 AM: The high bridge is all brake lights, as the camera view above shows.

6:20 AM: We’re checking in on the Water Taxi again this morning – here’s the first run leaving Seacrest:


95 passengers on this run (the 6:15 to downtown).

6:31 AM: If you’re using surface streets to head to the north side of downtown or beyond, be forewarned there’s a big fire response on 1st Avenue in Belltown (at Lenora) right now. (update) The call has been updated to Western/Lenora, where Western is closed off right now for the SFD response.

6:51 AM: 156 on the second Water Taxi run, up from 144 yesterday, but still leaving with 100+ empty seats. The bridge remains jammed. See the comments for some early bus reports. And if you have a question about how things are going traffic/transit-wise – please comment, or e-mail us at – we’re going to this morning’s 11 am briefing downtown with reps from all the key departments and we’ll do our best to get an answer.

7:11 AM: Update on the Harbor Avenue parking situation mentioned earlier – Just heard from West Seattle architect Tim Rhodes, our contact on the project in the 1300 block Harbor, with whom we spoke yesterday after local resident Carolyn pointed out the new no-parking signs. He says, “Our project has agreed with SDOT to hold on the required utility investigation work on the west side of Harbor Avenue and do the work on weekends for the time being to lessen any impacts to the the street parking. We know that this will help the neighborhood with parking during this difficult viaduct closure.”

7:16 AM: Weather update – a little bit of drizzle.

7:38 AM: Admiral Way update from Jeff via Twitter:

Water Taxi update – 218 passengers on the 7:15 run.

7:48 AM: 159 on the 7:45 West Seattle-to-downtown Water Taxi run, substantially down from yesterday. Sorry we missed the alert on the low-bridge closure – according to @SDOTBridges (which remains linked atop this story so you can check it directly), it was closed to surface traffic 7:31-7:45 am.

8:16 AM: Washington State Ferries warns that Issaquah, on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run, is still half an hour behind. You can check on it via Vessel Watch. Meantime, as you can see in the cameras we feature above (refresh the page any time for the newest image), 1st and 4th are about as busy as the bridge. If you can go to work much earlier than usual, you’re probably in the best position to beat the jams until the Viaduct closure is over.

9:26 AM: The low bridge has closed to surface traffic.

9:39 AM: And now it’s open (to surface traffic) again.

65 Replies to "VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 6: Wednesday morning traffic/transit coverage"

  • Paul May 4, 2016 (6:25 am)

    I left sunrise heights at 5:48am and got to SLU by 6:10am.  Backup stretched from I5 to 1st Ave (longer than previous mornings).  I5 NB was definitely slower than previous mornings.

  • Dana May 4, 2016 (6:40 am)

    I caught the C line at 6:05 at the Fauntleroy Way/Alaska stop.  A little slower on the bridge than when the viaduct is open and we were moving better than the cars I saw.  The bus arrived at the Lander Street stop at 6:19.  I transferred to the light rail there. It was a two car train, pretty full but we were able to all get on.  Hopefully Sound Transit is running three car trains during the peak rush hour times.  It was pretty good by bus for me, only about 10 minutes longer than my usual morning bus commute, but I know it’s early

    • WSB May 4, 2016 (6:57 am)

      Thanks for the commute reports! Even if this really does end on time, we’re still less than halfway through, so the more firsthand info, the better. – Tracy

    • Earlybird May 4, 2016 (7:15 am)

      I’ve been hopping on the light rail to come home each afternoon, then transferring to one of the WS busses at Lander/Sodo.  I have yet to notice a 3-car train going in either direction and this is around 4:30pm most days. I was under the impression that 3-car trains would be added for every other train during rush hour but I haven’t noticed that happening yet. The trains are very full but so far I’ve been able to get on each day.

  • Michelle May 4, 2016 (7:07 am)

    I really wish the water taxi had a shuttle for the Delridge corridor. I think they would see an increase in ridership if they could make that happen. 

    • adk May 4, 2016 (8:30 am)

      Yes! I mentioned this in the survey I took the other day. I’d be a regular rider if there was a delridge shuttle, but without it, I’ll go back to my car after the viaduct reopens.

      • BlairJ May 4, 2016 (11:43 am)

        I considered taking the water taxi to the M’s game on Saturday.  But I would have had to leave my home in Highland Park about two hours before game time to bus/walk to the water taxi.  A south Delridge connection would be great.

      • GT May 4, 2016 (12:46 pm)

        +1  I agree. Would love to take the Water Taxi if there was a direct Westwood Village/White Center connection.

        • newnative May 4, 2016 (3:08 pm)

          But the C line takes you to a) the Junction where there is the Water Taxi Shuttle or even to the last stop on Avalon where you can join the Water Taxi Shuttle.  

  • Peter May 4, 2016 (7:13 am)

    Don’t mean to sidetrack this thread, but I talked to several folks who told me they experienced the same problem  as I on Monday PM:  There seemed to be no consistency for which buses stopped  where at 4th/Lander southbound.   Northbound in AM was great for the transition to Light Rail at SODO.  Coming home, not so well.  There are a couple of stops within a block or so westbound on Lander and there was no signage to indicate which of the buses that normally take the viaduct were stopping where during the closure.  And, the bus drivers didn’t seem to know either, as a couple drove right past.  Hopefully Metro gets the word out to their drivers and puts out some temporary signs, as this makes a great way to avoid the congestion downtown.  Can’t speak to Tuesday PM, as I used a different strategy.  

    • Maggie May 4, 2016 (7:53 am)

      I’ve been transferring from the bus to light rail in the AM to get downtown but have been hesitant to do it in the evenings for that reason–not sure when the buses are stopping there, and which buses will actually stop! 

    • SeattleSunburn May 4, 2016 (10:43 am)

      Our trials during the 99 closure lead to great ideas for simple changes. Things like improved signage, increased water taxi parking and onboarding efficiencies, and tips from other users to get from points A to B help us even after 99 opens. Hopefully some ideas will spawn positive changes.

  • Peter May 4, 2016 (7:16 am)

    And yes.  Spokane St.  vidauct was backed up much more than usual at 6A, this AM.

  • Annie May 4, 2016 (7:17 am)

    WSea to SLU via bridge, Beacon & Boren – 6:30 to 7:10 via car. Typical duration for a regular 8:00 commute. I was surprised at how backed up it was already on the bridge – I suspect it’s even worse now.  Yesterday I left at 9:30 and it was about the same. 

  • PigeonPoint May 4, 2016 (7:22 am)

    6:40 C line from Fauntleroy/Alaska took about 40 minutes to get to SLU, not too bad! Also, just have to mention to the people that stood up to the individual who was being harmful/aggressive to his dog (to the point where it was whimpering) during the ride… thank you for saying what most of us were afraid to say.

  • watertowerjoey May 4, 2016 (7:25 am)

    Not that everyone can or WANTS to get up early, but I got on the bridge at 5:35 and was at 5th and Marion by 5:55 via 4th Avenue.

    This is my first foray into the mess as I have been on vacation.

    I am sure the commute home this afternoon will be much, much worse!

  • Sevenless May 4, 2016 (7:29 am)

    Took the 120 from Delridge & Andover to downtown at around 6:30. Only notable issue was a few cars basically stopped in the bus only lane on the bridge while trying to merge into the general purpose lanes.  Driver laid on the horn for an eternity and that eventually got them moving out of the way.  After that traffic flowed smoothly all the way downtown, and we got to 3rd & Seneca within 25 minutes, which is comparable to travel time to there when the viaduct is open.

  • Andrea May 4, 2016 (7:32 am)

    Left Highland Park and Othello at 6:43 am for our usual route of West Marginal Way to and over the low bridge onto 1st ave then up James to 9th and Terry circling back to SODO (I drop my son off at school everyday).  25 minutes less than yesterday and the same amount of time it took Friday.  :)

  • busrider May 4, 2016 (7:33 am)

    It’s been my experience that Wednesday is the busiest commuting day.

  • Laura May 4, 2016 (7:35 am)

    I’ve been catching the first 57 for the big show, an hour earlier than my regular ride. Everything ha usually fine until Fourth Ave. Friday was pretty bad. Monday was almost great. Tuesday less do. Today the backup to exit the bridge at Fourth was all the way around the curve of the ramp. Fourth seemed more backed up for sure. But once we got to the curb/bus lane it was smooth sailing. Today will be closer to an hour to get to the stop at Macy’s. Yesterday and Monday was closer to 50 minutes. Still, not the end of the world. Yet. Ha!

  • cjac May 4, 2016 (7:38 am)

    Low bridge is closed. Grrr….

    • Joe Bags May 4, 2016 (10:12 am)

      Wow! This is bad on a normal day. But yeah close it when the viaduct is closed too. Brilliant.

      • Mickymse May 4, 2016 (4:52 pm)

        We have tried… and tried… and tried… and tried… on this one. Neither the City nor the County have any control over this. Our lower bridge (unlike some others in the City) is controlled by the Coast Guard. Because it’s a commercial gateway for a number of businesses on the Duwamish, boats have to move when they can move based on the tides and moving their goods in a timely manner.

  • Paul May 4, 2016 (7:45 am)

    Peter, my 21X passed by the 3rd/Columbia and the Lander/SODO stops on Monday afternoon, but we stopped at both yesterday afternoon.  Maybe it took a day for the drivers to figure it out?

    It seems like the stop on Lander St. closest to the light rail station is the southbound stop for Viaduct detours, but the 21 local uses the Lander St. stop on the other side of 4th.

    • Peter May 4, 2016 (11:45 am)

      @Paul:  >>It seems like the stop on Lander St. closest to the light rail station
      is the southbound stop for Viaduct detours, but the 21 local uses the
      Lander St. stop on the other side of 4th. <<

      That’s what seems logical and what I expected.  (The closest stop to light rail is signed as the #50 stop.)  However, I saw a 56x and C-Line cruise right by, so I walked to the 21 stop at 3rd/Lander.  While waiting there for a #21, I saw a C-line pull over back at the #50 stop and pick folks up.  Hmmm….   Thankfully, the #21 was only a short wait.

  • John May 4, 2016 (7:51 am)

    Today was my first ViaDoom experience as I was out of town, and it wasn’t so bad!  Total delay: 15-20 minutes, but that was mostly due to the 116 being at least 10 minutes late because the Vashon ferry was running off schedule (seemed one was still at the dock too long based on the tracker).  And a few minutes of the delay was due to me requiring a coffee stop on my way to the office.  I love my bus driver, she had the same idea as people mentioned in previous updates about staying in the left lane on Avalon and passing the cars parked in the right turn/bus lane.  There was a Sounder train rolling by slowly at Lander, but the driver took a back road up to the stadiums and down to Royal Brougham.  Fantastic!  The bus was a bit more crowded than usual, maybe 10ish more people than a “regular” day.  Hopefully the rest of the shutdown will be like this :)

  • WS commuter May 4, 2016 (7:51 am)

    I parked in the locked lot across from 7-11 and the shuttle left 10 minutes before the WT was set to depart to downtown and we easily made it onto water taxi. 

  • Maggie May 4, 2016 (7:55 am)

    Slow commute for me this morning. I picked up the 113 at 12th and Roxbury (it came at 6:43, five minutes late) and transferred to light rail to get downtown. Got to my office near Westlake at 7:30 am, which is about 20-25 minutes later than normal at this time of day. 

  • K'lo May 4, 2016 (7:58 am)

    Kudos WSB for following thru on the parking issue and Tim Rhodes for being such a great WS neighbor in working with the neighborhood!  

  • Paul May 4, 2016 (8:12 am)

    The County is getting into stride on the water taxi, 2 guys at the top of the ramo take payment even before the boat turns up, much.faster boarding,.nice job 

  • John May 4, 2016 (8:19 am)

    At 5:30am 10 less bikers crossed the lower bridge then yesterday.  Maybe the threat of rain?   

  • newnative May 4, 2016 (8:32 am)

    I took the 6:45 Water Taxi (thanks to the neighbor that saw me jogging down Ferry and offered me a ride to the pier) and when I saw the Flashing lights across the bay and read the bit about the Fire Response on 1st Ave/Western and Lenora, I decided to walk the waterfront to lower Queen Anne.  I made much better time (30 minutes to Queen Anne N & Denny).

  • Paul May 4, 2016 (8:35 am)

     so here is one for someone in the country office: I am a regular water taxi goer (since December last year, 4 times a week) and a bit like regular flight travel you get pretty board by the constant repeat of the safety announcement, every morning and evening “welcome aboard the Doc Maynard…..for your safety….”. So now hundreds of new passengers are using the service during the closure and no safety video! You would kinda think it is needed for these “newbies” more than ever. 

    • newnative May 4, 2016 (9:34 am)

      They run the safety video every time I ride (6:45am).

  • AdmiralDon May 4, 2016 (8:37 am)

    Rode my bike again today from North Admiral.  Left about 450.  No tow trucks down by the water taxi, but one car-to-go has a note on the windshield.  Probably should not park in that special viadoom area!  Low bridge with a few bikes.  more trucks and traffic on East Marginal Way than usual.  more cars under the viaduct than usual.  I noted the survey crews around Yesler and Bertha.  they seemed busy.  The ground was not shaking, though I really didn’t stop to check.  Rode up 3rd.  it is faster than 2nd protected bike lanes at this hour.  Make it up to Fremont and north Seattle in usual time.  the same time as when the viaduct is open!  Hope everyone is doing well.  Bike on!

    • John May 4, 2016 (10:35 am)

      Bike on!   I too notice no difference in my bike commute.  I see the lower bridge opened this morning, but luckily I was already beyond the bridge and heading into town.

       I love seeing all the new bikers.  Lets keep it up! 

  • LarryB May 4, 2016 (8:38 am)

    I left Sunrise Heights at 6:25, and Delridge was totally jammed from from Hudson up to Andover. It was as if the lights were timed to create maximum gridlock. Too bad the SPD isn’t managing the traffic along there.

    Past Andover, it was clear sailing over the low bridge. It took about 25 minutes to get out of WS, another 10 to get up to I-90 on Fourth, and then it was clear sailing to the Eastside.

  • Neighbor May 4, 2016 (8:55 am)

    A couple of problem spots I want to highlight for those that drive cars. Look left and right (I really shouldn’t have to say this) especially when turning across a bike/ped path. The crossing at Harbor Ave and Spokane St turning north on to Harbor from Spokane is really troublesome. So many cars do not look and pull out, block the curb ramp and start moving without looking for bikes on the path. Bikes could be coming from either direction. I drove this way  in my car to see the visibility and yes, you can see users on the path coming if you look.  Someone is going to get hit here.  Also, at the 5-way crossing further east, drivers should not be blocking the crosswalk/bike crossing going east from Delridge toward the lower bridge. How self-centered the driver looked this morning blocking all the bike traffic!  Share the road.

  • Alkiobserver May 4, 2016 (9:10 am)

    Is it possible to get a street use permit withdrawn for a project? The city should withdraw the permit for the temporary no parking signs for the utility work across from Don Armeni until the viaduct closure period is over. It is imbecilic that the street use permit was approved with this parking mayhem going on. Or, at the least they should just open up the commensurate amount of parking spaces in boat ramp to all day parking as compensation.

    • K'lo May 4, 2016 (9:58 am)

      Tim Rhodes (architect for project) and SDOT have worked together to change the dates of this project. Now going to happen on the week-end to help w/parking issues. Now that’s cooperation!

      • Alkiobserver May 4, 2016 (2:09 pm)

        Awesome! That is most welcome news!

        • WSB May 4, 2016 (2:14 pm)

          It was already in the story – 7:11 am update above.

  • M May 4, 2016 (9:12 am)

    May the 4th be with you, Jedi commuters.

  • alkimom71 May 4, 2016 (9:22 am)

    Water taxi staff have been incredible during viadoom.  Thank you  for your smiles, patience and keeping us safe.

  • supernova72 May 4, 2016 (9:23 am)

    So yet another traffic cam question—is there a 4th Ave cam?  Like looking north from the WS bridge to the stadiums?  I see there is a 1st Ave cam but could not find the 4th ave cam.  Thanks in advance.

    • WSB May 4, 2016 (9:35 am)

      Supernova – the two surface street cameras above are 4th Avenue and 1st Avenue. Also, you can click the “SDOT Map” link over the cameras and the city’s “Travelers Information Map” has camera icons you can click, including at least one on 4th.

      • supernova72 May 4, 2016 (9:46 am)

        Cool.  Thanks WSB!

      • supernova72 May 4, 2016 (9:50 am)

        Follow-up, when I clicked on the lower left one I didn’t see a description so that is where I was confused meaning didn’t realize that was 4th ave.

  • AIDM May 4, 2016 (9:27 am)

    I saw a girl on a unicycle crossing the low bridge today at 8:4 AM, so its not just bicycles that the trip counter is counting!  The hanging question is whether she is being counted as 1/2 or 1 ;-)

    • supernova72 May 4, 2016 (9:45 am)

      I tried to trip it as I ran by one day and was not able to do so.  I forget how the “counter” works.  First world problems.

      • John May 4, 2016 (10:39 am)

        The counter doesn’t pick up runners or walkers……..only bikes.  I’ll sit on the concrete ledge adjacent to the counter when the bridge is closed.  I’ve tried putting my hand in front of it…walking in front of it…everything.  If I take my bike and role it in front of it….it counts me.

        • Kathy May 4, 2016 (3:01 pm)

          Maybe if you had a steel plate or pin in your foot or leg.

  • FedupInHighlandPark May 4, 2016 (9:38 am)

    Bus 125 was almost 1 hour late. Just as we reached the community college, another 125 miraculously appeared in front of us. It appears that the residents of Highland Park do not matter at all. I have no idea where that bus came from but our bus was not full.  We made all regular stops in West Seattle.  I have ridden  the bus every day, including last Friday and I am extremely disappointed, but not surprise, by Metros lack of support for my neighborhood. They have tried, unsuccessfully, to eliminate this route, entirely, in the past. There aren’t huge tax dollars on this side of Delridge and it is plain that Metro could care less about us. 

    • PangolinPie May 4, 2016 (11:29 am)

      Amen to this – I wasn’t on that hour-late 125 but it’s my bus and it’s been a real failure. I ended up walking down to Delridge and catching a 120. It seems like there are four 120s for every 125, both directions. 

      • sam-c May 4, 2016 (12:04 pm)


        sometimes you start to feel hopeless (for lack of a better word) when you’ve been waiting for a 125 to come for 30+ minutes and you see 3-4 120s go by in the time you are waiting.  (mostly waiting to get out of downtown)

  • Kathy May 4, 2016 (9:51 am)

    There was a lot of steady traffic on the Alki Trail between the Anchor Park and 59th Ave SW at 7:30am today. Dozens of Alki Elementary students and their parents biking to school!  There was one first grader on a razor scooter. He got to school last but he made it all the way, what a trooper!

    • WSB May 4, 2016 (9:59 am)

      Kathy – in many past years we’ve been notified of bike-to-school events but this year we weren’t so otherwise we would have been there photographing it. If anyone got a group photo, we’d love to include it.

  • Joe Bags May 4, 2016 (10:08 am)

    Bridge still slow from the midspan arch and east to I5 at 10:00.

  • Joe Bags May 4, 2016 (10:15 am)

    No cop directing traffic on 4th Ave at bottom of off ramp like in days before.

  • SeattleSunburn May 4, 2016 (10:16 am)

    Since the Link trains are crammed north in a.m. and south in p.m. I have been hopping on a bus @ 6/Lander in a.m. (or a southbound “100-numbered” in tunnel in p.m.) that goes thru the tunnel. They’re more frequent than Link when it’s too full or the connection was just missed. This may not work for everyone, but my stop is Pioneer Square and it’s fine and faster than waiting for the next train, sitting in a bus on 4th, or taking the C to Seneca then walking back to James.

  • Sue May 4, 2016 (11:10 am)

    Today my trip on the 55 was as long as it was on Friday – 10 min. longer than it was Monday or Tuesday of this week.

  • sam-c May 4, 2016 (11:20 am)

    What’s the deal with the 2 helicopters that have been hovering for the last 10 minutes?  west end of the WSB and over past he west edge of West Seattle?

  • MJ May 4, 2016 (11:53 am)

    I have to drive kids to Queen Anne for school.  We’ve been leaving about 15 minutes early, but it hasn’t taken that much longer than normal, except for the extra time to run up 1st Ave from the Stadiums to about Bell St (to jump in the Battery St tunnel North Bound.  There are a few more chokepoints that normal, but it’s been navigable.  Hoping the machine stays on current pace (almost 40% done) and things get back to normal.

  • FedupInHighlandPark May 5, 2016 (11:08 am)

    Last night was the worst yet for getting Home on the 125. The 131 was on time so I took that, got off at 9th and thistle and walked home from there. The rise was 35 minutes. Traffic was not bad. No excuse for the 125. Today, I drove to holy family park and ride and took the 120. It was on time and there was another 120 right behind it. Got on at 8:48am and got off at 3rd and pine at 9:30am. No problem. Again, no excuse for the 125. I should not have to drive a mile away and park and ride when the Bus stops right across the street. 

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