12:20 PM: Close to where northbound vehicles will enter the new Highway 99 tunnel starting in a few months, WSDOT, SDOT, and Metro just held another update/briefing event for the media.
Part of it was intended to underscore just how much work has to be done during the ~3 weeks between permanent closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and opening of the tunnel – this new WSDOT video explains it:
No major new information about the closure period at today’s briefing, but we were there and noted some key points:
-SDOT has launched a new traffic-info website today at seattletraffic.org (this is where you can, among other things, sign up for neighborhood-specific alerts, which were previewed at a previous briefing)
-Metro is working on a new batch of brochures with information on bus changes
-Metro also notes that during the closure it will be “more dynamic,” with rerouting “on the fly” if needed
-The Water Taxi “two-boat” schedule information should be available online “soon”
-WSDOT says the tunnel will be toll-free into the summer, with tolling probably not starting until July/August
-You’re now warned that this is really just the start of a 5-year period of transportation turbulence in the city
-West Seattleites are reminded again that the three-week Highway 99 closure, and tunnel opening, will be followed by another two weeks or so of work before the new connection for those exiting NB 99 to downtown is ready to open
Otherwise, the big dates ahead are the same – January 4th for the closure of the SB 99 ramp to SODO, January 11th for the Alaskan Way Viaduct permanent shutdown/Highway 99 closure to get connection work done on both ends of the tunnel (again, the WSDOT video above explains), February 2-3 for the goodbye/hello weekend, tunnel opening TBA after that. We recorded today’s briefing and are processing the video, and will add it along with more toplines when ready.
7:42 PM: Here’s our video of the entire briefing:
Speakers were WSDOT’s Dave Sowers, SDOT’s Heather Marx, and Metro’s Bill Bryant. And another reminder – southbound 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge this weekend for more prep work, starting around 9 tomorrow night and potentially continuing until very early Monday (as usual, we’ll publish an update if the closure ends early). This is a weather-dependent closure, WSDOT says, but so far the weekend forecast looks mostly dry.
One more reminder – next chance to bring your questions directly to transportation reps will be Monday’s meeting of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, 6:30 pm November 19th at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon).