With nine days left until the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes forever for the tunnel transition, the countdown is revving up. We’re just back from a media briefing in SODO at one of the two 99 ramps that will close this Friday – a week before the Viaduct itself – for transition work to begin. What’s new: WSDOT has released videos that try to more clearly answer the persistent questions about how getting into and out of downtown will work after the transition. Two of the clips are particularly relevant to West Seattle – first, how you’ll get into downtown from NB 99:
Second, here’s how you’ll get to SB 99 to get out of downtown:
(The other two new videos are linked here.) For months, WSDOT has been warning that the new Dearborn ramp into downtown from NB 99 won’t be ready for another two weeks or so after the tunnel opens. But when we previewed the video about getting into downtown, we noticed it says the ramp should open after “a week or so.” We asked project deputy administrator Dave Sowers about that at today’s briefing.
He acknowledged that finishing the new ramp could take as little as five extra days of work post-tunnel opening. We recorded the entire 15-minute briefing on video and will add it here when it’s uploaded. (Added 1:55 pm – here it is:)
Other highlights: Sowers said WSDOT is ready to go for the tunnel transition work. If all goes well, the tunnel could open right after the weekend of “goodbye/hello” celebrations February 2-3, Sowers said, possibly that Sunday evening. … The Atlantic and Royal Brougham ramp closures that take effect this Friday night (10 pm January 4th) will mostly affect those who live and work in SODO – 23,000 vehicles a day use the ramps. “There’s a fair amount of work we need to get ahead,” Sowers said, starting with removal of the geofoam that’s under the soon-to-be-closed ramps, revealing more of the permanent northbound tunnel onramp.
SIDE NOTE: Today’s briefing was WSDOT only, and focused on the tunnel transition work itself, not getting around during it. We will be covering a city-led briefing about the latter tomorrow, so if you still have questions about that, let us know and we’ll do our best to get them answered!