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BYE-A-DUCT: Another milestone for Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition

That ramp you used to take from central downtown onto SB Highway 99? Gone. The new time-lapse video above, from WSDOT, shows the demolition of the Columbia Street ramp. WSDOT made it public while announcing another demolition milestone: Its demolition contractor Kiewit is starting work on the double-decker Viaduct itself, as detailed here. This comes exactly two months after the Viaduct’s closure, and five weeks after the Highway 99 tunnel’s opening.

(Photo from last week, by Jim Spraker)

HIGHWAY 99: Offramp update; Viaduct demolition plans

Two Highway 99 updates this afternoon:

(Monday afternoon view from construction-zone camera, looking south across new offramp)

REMEMBER THE RAMP? The tunnel’s been open for more than a week now, but the Dearborn/Alaskan Way offramp – to allow people traveling from West Seattle and points south to exit NB Highway 99 before the tunnel – is still under construction. The culprit, as you might expect – the snow. We asked WSDOT’s Laura Newborn today if there’s an update on the offramp’s expected opening: “There’s still weather-dependent work ahead of us. We do believe it will be next week but can’t say yet what day.”

ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT DEMOLITION: This too has been delayed a bit by the snow. WSDOT now says it’ll start later this week, at multiple spots including the Columbia/1st ramp. They’ve also added webcams focused on the Viaduct so you can watch the work.

VIADUCT/TUNNEL TRANSITION: What you need to know about other new ramps and intersections that ARE now open

We can’t say this enough: When the Highway 99 tunnel opens – hours from now – there will be a transitional week or so during which the exit to NB 99 from the EB West Seattle Bridge is a “tunnel only” exit, because the offramp to downtown, before the tunnel, isn’t done yet. Separate from that, some new ramps/intersections HAVE just opened on both ends of the tunnel, including the one that you will use to get to SB 99 just south of the tunnel. WSDOT has just published this update that we’re reposting in its entirety:

The Feb. 4 opening of the SR 99 tunnel brings big changes to several important intersections at the tunnel’s north and south ends. New intersections can be confusing, so use the renderings below to help familiarize yourself with what you will encounter on the road. You can also preview the intersections via narrated videos.

North end of the tunnel: Harrison Street and Aurora Ave North

What’s changing:

New northbound SR 99 on-ramp
New southbound SR 99 off-ramp
Harrison Street open east-west across Aurora Avenue North
The new tunnel dives underground at Harrison Street, several blocks north of where the now-closed Battery Street Tunnel begins. The new intersection of Harrison Street and Aurora Avenue North is where the northbound on-ramp begins, and the southbound off-ramp ends. Harrison Street is now also open east-west across Aurora Avenue North.

Note: Construction begins this month on the inside lanes of Aurora Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street (yellow zone at bottom). Learn more about how the North Surface Streets project is rebuilding Aurora Avenue North.

North end of the tunnel: Republican Street and Dexter Avenue North

What’s changing

New northbound SR 99 off-ramp
The intersection of Republican Street and Dexter Avenue North is where the northbound SR 99 off-ramp ends. New signals will control traffic coming off the highway. From the off-ramp drivers will be able to turn left toward Mercer Street, head straight toward South Lake Union, or turn right to head toward Denny Way. Stay alert for people using the Dexter Avenue bike lanes on both sides of the street.

South end of the tunnel: Alaskan Way, South Dearborn Street, and First Avenue South

What’s changing:

New southbound SR 99 on-ramp
New northbound SR 99 off-ramp [NOT YET OPEN]
New east-west street, South Dearborn Street
New primary path between First Avenue South and Alaskan Way
Alaskan Way extended farther south
One of the biggest changes to surface streets is at the tunnel’s south end, just west of CenturyLink field. Alaskan Way no longer ends with a jog under the viaduct onto Railroad Way South. Instead, it continues straight to a new intersection with a new road, South Dearborn Street.

South Dearborn Street is the new east-west connection between Alaskan Way and First Avenue South. This intersection connects SR 99, Alaskan Way and First Avenue. Alaskan Way continues south from this intersection toward East Marginal Way South. Railroad Way South is currently closed from First Avenue South, and when it reopens it will be a local-access-only road.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The northbound SR 99 off-ramp bridge is still under construction and will open one to two weeks after the tunnel opens.

Note: The rendering above does not show the now-closed Alaskan Way Viaduct, which sits in the yellow-highlighted work zone and will be removed section by section over the next six months.

South end of the tunnel: South Royal Brougham Way and First Avenue South

What’s changing:

New northbound SR 99 on-ramp
New southbound SR 99 off-ramp
Colorado Avenue South with two-way traffic to South Atlantic Street
Drivers who previously joined SR 99 northbound from Royal Brougham Way will find striking changes to that intersection. Where once there was a ramp to the viaduct, now there are two ramps to the tunnel. This is where southbound drivers in the tunnel will exit to reach SODO, the stadiums, and I-90 and I-5. This is also where drivers coming from I-90 or the stadiums will enter the tunnel for northbound SR 99.

Note: A shared-use path along Colorado Avenue South will be built in a future phase of the project.

South end of the tunnel: South Atlantic Street and Colorado Avenue South

What’s changing:

New surface-street connection to Alaskan Way South
Colorado Avenue South with two-way traffic to Royal Brougham Way South
The changes around South Atlantic Street are less drastic but still worth knowing. The Atlantic Street overpass over SR 99 is now a complete connection to Alaskan Way (to the north) and East Marginal Way South (to the south). You can now reach both via South Atlantic Street by taking the ramp labeled below.

Colorado Avenue South (previously called East Frontage Road) is now a two-way street, providing a north and south route between South Atlantic Street and SR 99 on- and off-ramps. A common path from SR 99 southbound to reach I-90 will be to take Colorado Avenue south, then take a left turn onto South Atlantic Street.

Note: At tunnel opening South Atlantic Street does not pass beneath the SR 99 overpass to Alaskan Way South. That connection will open later in winter/spring 2019.

Again, no specific time yet for the actual tunnel opening – but WSDOT has said it’ll be in time for the earliest edge of tomorrow’s morning commute (4 am-ish). We’ll have a separate update when it’s announced, and we also still have one more report in the works from Saturday’s tunnel dedication.

VIDEO: Aerial and underground views from Tunnel to Viaduct 8K

That’s WSDOT drone video of the run/walk that started this day of tunnel/viaduct festivities – with 29,000 participants. We also have three views from inside the tunnel, courtesy of Vy Duong:

Note the signage including the new name of the Mariners’ home (as also seen in above-ground signage we showed in our first report on the dedication ceremony that started just as the run/walk was ending). And here’s Vy’s view as the run/walk reached the tunnel’s south end:

And some of the bicycle officers who were in view at multiple sites throughout the day :

We saw them at the ribboncutting, too, after they escorted runners/walkers out:

Speaking of bicycles – Sunday morning, 12,000 people are registered to ride through the tunnel and on the viaduct, in a sold-out event that is the last component of the celebration weekend before WSDOT goes through final steps to get the tunnel open by early Monday morning.

UPDATE: Viaduct farewell; Water Taxi abandons schedule

(Webcam showing north end of Viaduct; refresh for newest image)
3:26 PM: We had planned to head back downtown after coverage earlier of the tunnel dedication, in hopes of covering the Viaduct event. So far we’re hearing of long lines – at least for the Seneca access to the Viaduct itself – and transit delays. So heads up if you’re headed out.

4:36 PM: And if you’re headed back via the Water Taxi – King County now says the schedule has been thrown overboard:

4:55 PM: Finally back downtown. Just passed the Seneca event entrance. Looks like the line subsided.

5:20 PM: Verified – we are on the Viaduct now via Seneca. No wait, no ticket/pass checking. Not too crowded.

6:40 PM: The event is winding down. We’ve left downtown – note that southbound 1st is extremely sluggish; one lane north of the stadiums was set aside for buses being used as shuttles, though that was starting to empty as we passed through. Tomorrow’s only event is the sold-out morning bike ride; after that, WSDOT has a punch-list of items to go through to get ready for opening the tunnel by early Monday.

West Seattle (and beyond) Saturday: Viaduct/tunnel party, and what else is up

We start with reminders about today’s biggest event:

(Photo by Long Bach Nguyen, from just after the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s permanent closure earlier this month)

VIADUCT/TUNNEL PARTY: Along with all the event details on the official website, key points of the schedule are in our Friday report.

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI SCHEDULE: It’s running today only, on a special schedule you can see here. Free parking at Pier 2, too, with a shuttle to/from the dock. But be sure to get your car out by 7:45 pm or else it’ll be locked in until Monday morning! And remember that the 773/775 shuttles are NOT running.

If you’re headed downtown for other things, remember there are road closures and bus reroutes. Also happening today:

SATURDAY GROUP RUN: Meet at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), 8 am. Free! (2743 California SW)

PRIORITIZE PROJECTS: As previewed here, you are invited to help prioritize projects in West Seattle/South Park that are up for a share of Neighborhood Street Fund money. Be at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 10:30 am. (4408 Delridge Way SW)

2000 SW ORCHARD SITE TOUR: As part of the Design Review process’s Early Community Outreach for a development proposal here, you’re invited to join project-team reps for a site tour at 11 am. (2000 SW Orchard)

BABY STORY TIME: 11:30 am at High Point Library – bring your up-to-12-month-old(s)! (3411 SW Raymond)

M. BUTTERFLY: 7:30 pm curtain at ArtsWest. “Clever parallels to the famous opera Madame Butterfly abound in this fearless play about a French diplomat who falls for a Chinese opera star.” Check ticket availability here. (4711 California SW)

AT THE SKYLARK: Swinson and the Expedition, Smackout Pack, live at 8 pm, $8 cover, 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

AT THE PARLIAMENT: Selectcop w/19ADD, 9 pm at Parliament Tavern. $7 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

SEE THE FUTURE … via our full calendar, here.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: 3rd Friday AM watch post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:57 AM: Good morning! Rainy, as forecast.

6:07 AM: Checking around, the weather is this morning’s only complication so far. No incidents or alerts.

6:33 AM: Still incident-free.

6:49 AM: If you noticed an SFD response at Admiral/Olga, that’s just cleared; it was described via radio communication as a trash fire in a bus shelter.

6:59 AM: That talk of possible snow showers Sunday into Monday is now the subject of an official weather advisory. … Monday morning, of course, as announced yesterday, will be the first commute with the new Highway 99 tunnel. But remember that for an additional week or so, taking NB 99 from here will require you to use the tunnel because the new exit ramp before it won’t be ready yet.

7:06 AM: Surface Spokane train alert – blocking at Colorado.

7:35 AM: If you head east of I-5, heads up about a big power outage, more than 12,000 homes/businesses in what City Light describes as “the Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, and Bryn Mawr-Skyway areas.” Lots of signal lights out so traffic is affected.

7:48 AM: Low bridge has opened for maritime traffic … Speaking of maritime, King County Executive Dow Constantine is visiting the West Seattle Water Taxi dock to thank the commuters who’ve triple its usage during the viaduct-to-tunnel transition weeks.

8 AM: The low bridge is back open to riders, pedestrians, and drivers.

8:13 AM: From the scanner, there’s a report of a school bus hitting a parked car at 35th/Raymond. No injuries reported, so far.

8:49 AM: Went looking for that scene, couldn’t find it. So no problems on 35th. If you’re headed for SB I-5, SFD is responding to a reported collision at Michigan, not far south of here.

9:50 AM: If you have to head east on the bridge but could wait a while … be forewarned, it’s at a crawl. And that description is being generous. Entering from Fauntleroy, the backup – more like standstill – starts at Nucor. We’re in the midst of it all hoping to make it to the 10:30 am media briefing on the north end of the tunnel but probably should have given ourselves an hour and a half to get there rather than just an hour.

10:08 AM: Took 20 minutes to get from Nucor to the 4th Avenue exit. Now we attempt to get across downtown!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: AM watch for 3rd Thursday post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:55 AM: Good morning! No incidents/alerts in our area so far.

6:06 AM: As the Water Taxi gets going for the day, a reminder that Spirit of Kingston is filling in for Doc Maynard until early afternoon. (Water Taxi Watch shows San Juan Clipper arriving at the dock right now, with SoK to follow.)

6:16 AM: Reader reports that the high bridge is slower than usual for this point in the morning.

6:45 AM: Continuing incident-free.

7:30 AM: Nothing to report, but we’ll note that WSDOT has yet to formally confirm that the tunnel will open Monday. Our next chance to talk with the project leader will be a conference call at 12:30 pm, so if there’s any news, it likely won’t be before then.

7:49 AM: Bridge and I-5 both solid red on the traffic-speeds map right now

8:30 AM: If you’re going to the Saturday viaduct/tunnel celebration, WSDOT has this roundup of helpful info.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: AM watch for 3rd Wednesday post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:56 AM: Good morning! No school for Seattle Public Schools today, so traffic should be a bit lighter as a result.

6:10 AM: No major incidents or alerts, around the region as well as in our area, so far this morning.

6:36 AM: Still incident-free.

6;54 AM: Busy but still nothing out of the (current) ordinary.

7:13 AM: Slow on the bridge.

7:30 AM: Scanner – police are being dispatched to a reported driver/pedestrian collision at California/Findlay.

7:35 AM: The woman who was hit is not seriously injured, per first police on the scene. (And thanks to the person who just called to be sure we knew about this.)

7:40 AM: The incident was on the southbound side. We say “was” because the scene has now cleared. … Chilly morning and if you have a car parked on the street, you might have some scraping to do, we’re noting from our view of the street.

8:07 AM: Sorry we missed noting a low-bridge opening (remember that the temporary 7-10 am restrictions only apply to vessels below 5,000 gross tons), which is logged as having swung open for maritime traffic 7:32-7:50 am.

8:24 AM: Just in from Joseph, a photo of the bicyclist lineup on the low bridge just before that maritime opening ended:

VIDEO: Viaduct-to-tunnel progress report, as opening day nears

January 29, 2019 8:09 pm
|    Comments Off on VIDEO: Viaduct-to-tunnel progress report, as opening day nears
 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | Highway 99 tunnel | Transportation | West Seattle news

(WSB photos & video)

At midday today, WSDOT and SDOT hosted media crews for a short progress-report briefing at the new intersection that will take people from and to Highway 99 just south of the soon-to-open tunnel. As the sign above shows – with the tunnel’s south-portal building as the backdrop (its distinctive yellow stacks are just out of the frame) – it’s the Dearborn intersection.

It’s still expected to open a week or so after the tunnel, which WSDOT’s project boss Dave Sowers says is still likely to open in time for next Monday’s commute, though he expects it’ll be a few more days before they lock in that date. Our raw video of today’s briefing starts shortly before the Q&A section – we arrived toward the end of the statements because they started a bit early and clogged traffic made us late! First person you see is SDOT’s downtown-mobility director Heather Marx:

Besides a progress report, today’s briefing was also meant to remind everyone that it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll get getting around once the tunnel – and then the Dearborn exit ramp – are open. In case you missed it when first released earlier this month, here are two WSDOT videos of note – first, showing how that new exit ramp will work:

Second, how you’ll get to SB 99 to get out of downtown:

As discussed in the Q&A, traffic engineers will also closely watch traffic flow out of the tunnel – ready to adjust signal timing and turning if need be.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: 3rd Tuesday AM watch, post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! No alerts or incidents so far this Tuesday morning.

5:57 AM: Still quiet.

6:28 AM Still incident-free.

6:57 AM: All remains well.

7:26 AM: Reminder that tomorrow is likely to be lighter because Seattle Public Schools have no classes – it’s the “day between semesters.” Today has followed recent patterns; the bridge is now in full slowdown mode.

7:55 AM: From Marc via Twitter, “Too many bikes for the bike racks on the 7:25 water taxi this morning! Nice full boat! Hurrah for alternative commute options!” Bike parking has been added at Seacrest, as we’ve noted along the way, including a permanent “corral” between the lot entrance and exit.

8:05 AM: Sun’s out. Later this morning we’ll be at the next media briefing on how the #Realign99 work is going, with a look at the progress on the new NB 99 exit ramp that will take you downtown if you’re not using the tunnel.

8:29 AM: Brush-fire call under the NB I-5/Columbian Way/West Seattle Bridge interchange.

8:38 AM: Firefighters arriving in the area have clarified that it’s more like a fire near a retaining wall at I-5/Forest. … Looking ahead to Saturday, we just added more information to last night’s report about the special Saturday Water Taxi for viaduct/tunnel celebration day – no 773/775 shuttles that day.

8:57 AM: Also from the scanner, broken-down, “blocking” vehicle reported on the westbound bridge near 99.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s the special West Seattle Water Taxi schedule for Saturday’s viaduct/tunnel celebration

(WSB photo, earlier this month)

As promised – the King County Water Taxi is out with its West Seattle schedule for this Saturday (February 2nd), a special one-day-only plan for the big viaduct/tunnel party.

SCHEDULE: The Water Taxi will run every 35-40 minutes Saturday on this schedule:

If it fills up, with people still waiting, they’ll leave immediately and return as soon as they can, but they advise that if you’re trying for a particular time, be there early. All standard fares apply on Saturday.

PARKING: The free Pier 2 lot, which holds about 250 cars, will be open on Saturday. The entrance is at 2424 Harbor Avenue SW, across from the 7-11, and there will be a free shuttle to and from the Water Taxi at Seacrest as has been the case on weekdays. It will open at 5:45 am Saturday and close at 7:45 pm – if you don’t get your car by then, the county warns, it’ll be locked in until Monday morning.

Again, this is for Saturday only – the Water Taxi will not run Sunday (the only event that day is the sold-out bike ride). So what happens when you arrive downtown? The Water Taxi website has advice in this update.

ADDED TUESDAY: Though the Water Taxi will run Saturday, the 773/775 shuttles will not – just the Pier 2-parking-lot-to-dock-and-back shuttle.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: 3rd Monday AM watch, post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! No incidents or alerts so far this last Monday of January.

5:35 AM: If you’re waiting for the C Line, you might have a bit of a delay. Per radio communication, a bus is stopped at California/Fauntleroy awaiting police to assist with an “intoxicated male” who is refusing to disembark.

5:41 AM: Situation resolved before police arrived.

6 AM: Bridge getting busy but flowing relatively well.

6:13 AM: Still incident-free. Even regionally, fairly quiet. Check these three West Seattle road-work notes if you haven’t already.

6:20 AM: East Marginal Way and Alaska (map), 2-car crash, with SFD medics en route.

6:30 AM: That’s cleared. Meantime, it’s bridge-slowdown time.

6:55 AM: Still nothing unusual; the high bridge is the only West Seattle arterial mapping in yellow or red right now.

7:10 AM: If you’re heading for I-5 NB into downtown, note there’s a lane blocked by a stalled van in the Seneca/Yesler vicinity.

7:15 AM: That’s cleared. New problem – south of the bridge, crash reported at 4th Ave. S./Dawson (map).

7:28 AM: For those reporting trouble with Ride2, Metro just tweeted this:

7:51 AM: Bridge full. Sun’s out.

8:10 AM: Low bridge might not be the best way to go right now – SDOT has turned the camera eastward from the east end of the bridge and it’s looking sluggish.

8:30 AM: Still looking reasonable out there.

8:46 AM: Thanks to the reader who reported this on the east side of the challenging-even-without-road-work Holden/Highland Park Way intersection, photo included:

8:58 AM: Headed out to start covering the day’s news. If you see/hear something big, our 24/7 hotline is 206-293-6302 (when you can call/text safely/legally – after you get where you’re going, if you’re not a passenger – thanks!).

WEEK 3, POST-VIADUCT: Looking ahead

This is it. Barring some surprise, this will be the third and final week of Highway 99-less-ness, post-Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. A few things to know going in:

REMEMBER THE RAMP: The new Dearborn St. offramp that will take you into downtown from NB 99 before the tunnel entrance is still expected to take a week or so extra to open. So unless there’s a dramatic shortening of that estimate soon, non-tunnel users are really more like halfway through this phase of the squeeze. The tunnel is still expected to open in time for the Monday, February 4, morning commute.

ONE LIGHT(ER) DAY THIS WEEK: Wednesday (January 30th), no classes for Seattle Public Schools (“day between semesters”). Also of note, the Vashon Island School District marks that day Monday; Highline Public Schools, immediately south of here, has no classes Monday for grades 7-12.

CELEBRATION THIS WEEKEND: If you missed our progress-report roundup on Friday and are planning to go to this weekend’s goodbye-viaduct-hello-tunnel celebration, check it out here. The celebration website shows free tickets sold out for all Saturday times, but WSDOT said on Friday’s conference call that there would be some room for walk-ups. The West Seattle Water Taxi will run Saturday (not Sunday – special schedule expected soon) and you’re advised to take sea or land transit to get to the viaduct/tunnel event – “there’s no parking” in the area, you’re warned.

SPEAKING OF THE WATER TAXI: If you’re thinking long term, remember that its two-vessel schedule is scheduled to continue until the 7-days-a-week season starts at the end of March. Not the extra parking, though.

TRAFFIC COVERAGE: We’re back at it at 5:30 am.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: 2nd Friday AM watch post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! No incidents or alerts in our area so far.

5:45 AM: As previewed last night, this morning brings a “pop-up” edition of Bike Everywhere Day, including a “station” under the West Seattle Bridge, 6:30-9 am. … Weather’s dry this morning and looking that way for much of the final week ahead of Highway 99-less-ness.

6 AM: Things are picking up but still no incidents.

6:03 AM: Surface Spokane train alert:

6:13 AM: Train’s clear, per SDOT.

6:32 AM: High bridge is officially in morning-backup mode. And there’s a bit of trouble on NB I-5 north of the West Seattle Bridge, disabled vehicle blocking part of a lane by Dearborn.

6:55 AM: Courtesy of Seattle Council staff, the mentioned-earlier bicycle station under the bridge:

Among those expected to stop before morning’s end, Councilmember Lorena González, riding from her home in The Junction.

7:02 AM: Late bus alert for the south end, just sent by Metro: “Route 113 to Seattle due to leave Shorewood at 6:59 AM will operate more than 30 minutes late this morning.”

7:36 AM: Busy but quiet.

7:55 AM: City-provided photo from Councilmember González’s stop at the WSBC-and-friends station under the bridge:

Bikes crossing the low bridge are counted here. (Added: Here’s a pic tweeted by González, showing the counter.)

8:01 AM: Aside from the high bridge, no West Seattle arterials in red (jam mode) on the city map right now. Just off the peninsula, 1st Ave. S. shows slower than 4th.

8:09 AM: Texter reports (THANK YOU!) that the low bridge was just open for a few minutes – but it’s not showing on Twitter (though this webcam framegrab verifies), so we’re asking SDOT if there’s a problem.

8:29 AM: Crash on the NB 1st Avenue S. Bridge, blocking one lane.

8:45 AM: That incident has cleared.

9:16 AM: Train blockage on lower Spokane Street per SDOT: “… blocked with a stopped train between E Marginal Way and 1st Ave S.”

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: AM watch, 2nd Thursday post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! Traffic watch is on for your Thursday.

5:36 AM: WSDOT reports a crash blocking the two left lanes on the NB First Avenue S. Bridge.

5:46 AM: This is about when the high bridge starts to get busy. Note it’s another wet morning.

6:02 AM: Tow and Incident Response are at the 1st Ave. S. Bridge scene – but now there’s an SFD medical callout, so that scene isn’t going to clear immediately.

6:25 AM: The first 1st Ave. S. Bridge scene is clear – the second one, further south, has not.

6:29 AM: A texter says this is backing this up all the way to Roxbury.

6:50 AM: Checking out the (high) West Seattle Bridge, as has been the case by this point in the morning, it’s filling up.

7:09 AM: Via RBWS, in comments: “2 car accident on Fauntleroy expressway in right lane before the Nucor plant. Drivers are standing around talking. Starting to back up toward 35th.”

7:19 AM: SDOT says that cleared quickly.

7:29 AM: The Fauntleroy curve is now backed up. Meantime, a South Park alert – in case you’re going that way to get around residual 509 backups – crash reported at 14th Ave. S./S. Henderson.

7:44 AM: Travel speeds via the city map show Delridge is particularly slow going right now just north of Genesee.

8:04 AM: Brenda tweeted, “On Upper bridge just saw unmarked police car pull into bus lane and put on his lights. All the bus lane violators immediately merged into lanes. No tickets but effective.”

8:17 AM: No new issues. Two notes for today:
-Our daily progress-report media briefing is back to a late-morning conference call, if anyone has questions.
-Tonight, King County Executive Dow Constantine is the scheduled guest at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting, talking transit and more. All welcome. 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way).

8:42 AM: New trouble on the northbound 1st Avenue South Bridge – one lane blocked.

8:55 AM: WSDOT says that’s now clear.

9:22 AM: Still watching for incidents, but otherwise it’s off to the rest of the day’s news. If you see something, our 24/7 hotline is 206-293-6302 – text or voice – when you can use your phone safely/legally (after you get to where you’re going, if you’re not a passenger) – thanks!

10:31 AM: SFD response for a natural-gas leak at 14th/Roxbury. Not sure how/if it’s affecting traffic, but heads up.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: 2nd post-Viaduct Wednesday, AM watch

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! Nothing major so far.

BUS LANE ENFORCEMENT TODAY: We brought this issue up during Tuesday’s media conference call with transportation/transit agencies. SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg later told us, “We checked in with SPD and they confirmed [today] an officer will be posted at the beginning of the 4th Ave/Spokane off-ramp where it begins to loop off of mainline, and also one down the loop ramp approximately midway to prevent reentries into the bus lane.”

5:42 AM: Early train activity – SDOT and Metro have both tweeted alerts about East Marginal/Spokane.

5:53 AM: Camera still shows that blockage, so if you’re eastbound, we’d advise high bridge if possible rather than surface.

6:15 AM: High bridge is starting to fill up.

6:27 AM: Train has finally cleared on lower Spokane Street.

6:36 AM: Trouble on NB I-5 just north of the West Seattle Bridge, by I-90. One lane blocked. Meantime, after a rainy night, it’s just misting right now.

6:49 AM: I-5 problem is cleared. Spokane Street cam shows the train arm down again – so if you are planning to take lower Spokane, be forewarned, busy morning at the railroad crossings.

7:09 AM: No new problems – just busy. Meantime, the Tacoma crash mentioned by AdmiralDon in comments has just cleared, if you have to head that far.

7:27 AM: Thanks for the commute reports in comments! Monitoring regional traffic watch, “better than yesterday” seems to be a common sentiment … so far. … AbBr tweeted about a stall just past the Fauntleroy entrance to the high bridge. Haven’t seen it on a camera but – heads-up in case it hasn’t cleared yet.

7:45 AM: LOW BRIDGE ALERT – it’s closed to surface traffic as of a minute ago. Also, another mention of a stalled/pulled-over vehicle on the eastbound high bridge.

8:02 AM: Low bridge has reopened.

8:05 AM: If you’re Beacon Hill-bound at the east end of the bridge, SDOT reports a Columbian Way/Spokane blocking situation. … If you’re noticing the SFD response headed for South Park, there’s a medical emergency (not a fire) aboard a barge along S. Riverside.

8:30 AM: The Incident Response Team has arrived to deal with the stall. Also – the rain has intensified. Bridge still packed both ways.

8:50 AM: No change as top of the hour approaches. … Today’s progress report will be focused on an afternoon media briefing about how transit’s going, so if you have questions on that front (Metro/Water Taxi/Ride2 in particular), please let us know!

9:39 AM: Belated report as we just had to cross the bridge ourselves. Bus and car pulled over just at the merge point. Looked like collision aftermath. SPD was there. Also noted them in the 4th exit ramp bus lane. Now heading back to WS!

10:51 AM: Back from downtown errands; took a surface route back and experienced some of the things we’ve written about, such as traffic revisions at certain intersections – no right turn allowed on Dearborn from 5th to get to 4th, so we had to head to 6th, where right turns to Royal Brougham were prohibited. Finally got back to 4th from Spokane (no left from westbound, so we had to deploy the “u-turn route,” just short of a train track that was in use). 4th was clear from Spokane to Michigan to the 1st Ave. S. Bridge to Highland Park Way. (By the way, here’s that bus-involved crash we mentioned last hour.)

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: 2nd post-Viaduct Tuesday AM watch

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! Welcome to the first non-holiday commute of the second post-Viaduct week. Traffic/transportation authorities hope those whose changes made last week a success keep it up this week. No trouble reported in our area so far.

5:40 AM: The high bridge is busy but flowing.

6 AM: East end of the eastbound high bridge – the backup to I-5 has begun (screengrab here for the record). WSDOT notes that northbound I-5 is busier all the way from south King County.

6:15 AM: Commuting via the West Seattle Water Taxi? Runs to downtown start now. The expanded (two-boat) schedule continues all the way until the spring/summer schedule change at the end of March.

6:24 AM: And now the traffic extends to the midspan (screengrab).

6:38 AM: Seems busier all around. Check out the headlights looking south onto NB 35th SW from Fauntleroy. LOW BRIDGE ALERT: Closed to surface traffic as of a couple minutes ago.

6:50 AM: Low bridge has just reopened, verified by tweet and video camera. Noticed via the latter, a steady stream of bicycles headed east immediately.

6:57 AM: Continuing our moment-in-time screengrabs, here’s the backup on the Fauntleroy-end curve (this camera was down for a long time, until last week).

7:02 AM: Surface-traffic alert from SDOT, first one of this kind that we’ve seen post-Viaduct:

7:11 AM: Commenters report Admiral and Delridge are backed up. Also got a text from Al that, to be specific, Admiral’s backed up the hill to 37th.

7:22 AM: Consensus seems to be that this is the day some people started going back to old routines. Regional transportation/transit agencies are resuming the daily media conference calls so we’ll see what the take is then. Meantime, plenty of commute to get through.

7:31 AM: Getting to Delridge – tough too. Amy tweets that the Andover approach is backed up to 28th SW. Meantime, that truck backup near the port is likely the reason for a surface Spokane backup east of the low bridge.

7:46 AM: Though we don’t have a crew at the Water Taxi dock this morning, we’re watching the boats via and all appears to be well. Jennifer sent this photo, captioned “Beautiful morning commute!”

7:52 AM: Texter reports it took “one hour travel time from top of Admiral Way by viewpoint to the lower bridge.”

7:57 AM: Aid response (low-level medical) call to 4th and Spokane. Heard this mentioned on scanner as truck/bicycle collision. It’s not visible on the SDOT cam for that intersection.

8:05 AM: Still a bridge jam – here’s a screengrab from the Walking on Logs curve.

8:30 AM: Doesn’t look any better out there.

8:35 AM: Toward the east end of the Roxbury corridor, SDOT reports a “blocking vehicle at Olson/Cambridge.”

8:55 AM: Top of the hour nears and it’s still jammed on the bridge.

9:04 AM: 1st Avenue South Bridge closed to surface traffic at the top of the hour. (added) Back open at 9:08.

9:21 AM: Thanks for all the firsthand reports in comments and via Twitter! (And text/voice if you can call safely and legally – as a passenger or after you get to where you’re going – 206-293-6302.)

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: MLK Day Monday watch; second post-Viaduct week

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! Schools and most government facilities are closed; Metro‘s on reduced-weekday service; Sound Transit has some changes; both the West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxis ARE operating.

6 AM: Still relatively quiet, regionally too.

6:20 AM: No news is good news! Here’s the WSDOT wrap on week one of Viaduct-less commuting.

6:45 AM: West Seattle Bridge still flowing. I-5’s picked up.

7:06 AM: East end of the eastbound bridge has slowed but the westbound’s still well below usual.

7:30 AM: Forecast – mostly cloudy today, no rain expected until Tuesday morning.

8:05 AM: Still uneventful. Even the official SDOT description of West Seattle Bridge traffic is “light.”

8:30 AM: Watching the live-video bridge cams, it looks like a weekend out there. By the way, there’s another no-school day next week – Wednesday, January 30th, it’s the “day between semesters” for Seattle Public Schools.

8:55 AM: Wrapping up a quiet holiday commute. We’ll as always cover any breaking traffic news during the day/night, and will be back on AM watch at 5:30 Tuesday. Tips always appreciated at 206-293-6302 (our 24/7 hotline, text or voice) – thank you!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday AM watch, fifth post-Viaduct weekday

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! So far the problems are NOT in our area.

5:45 AM – LOOKING AHEAD: Reminders while things are quiet – Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. School’s out, and most government offices/facilities are closed. Metro plans “reduced weekday” service.

5:48 AM: SDOT reports “Rail crossing delays at 2nd Ave and S Spokane St, blocking all EB and WB lanes.” (This is the first such alert we’ve seen – following the Wednesday train trouble.)

6:11 AM: Monitoring police radio, there are various train-related problems including a track-crossing arm STUCK DOWN ON WESTBOUND SIDE of Spokane St. around 2nd. Needs repair. That won’t be soon. Also word of a train on tracks at 6th/Spokane. Overall, just avoid surface Spokane for now!

6:20 AM: Arm problem may be fixed but train traffic hasn’t passed. … Our crew is off to the Water Taxi dock to see how things are going there this Friday morning. Weather-wise, a lot like Thursday so far.

6:40 AM: Bridge is busy as has been the case every day this first post-Viaduct week. (Here’s the point-in-time screengrab.)

6:46 AM: Train traffic on lower Spokane has cleared again.

6:55 AM: And … another train. … At the Water Taxi dock, they tell us it’s been a “light morning,” at least compared to earlier in the week. 75 passengers on the most-recent sailing.

7:10 AM: 59 on the sailing after that. And YET MORE trouble on lower Spokane, this time at 11th/Spokane just off the low bridge a crash – we took this from the city webcam:

(Fully blocking there, as of a few minutes later.)

7:20 AM: We have clarified with King County – there IS Water Taxi service (West Seattle AND Vashon) on Monday even though King Day would otherwise be a holiday.

7:35 AM: The crash east of the low bridge is still blocking. … Water Taxi volume’s up a bit – 110 is the latest sailing’s count.

Again, there IS WT service on Monday.

7:50 AM: Still working to clear the crash east of the low bridge. SDOT’s Incident Response Team is there. Screengrab:

7:55 AM: SDOT tweets that “the westbound lane and one eastbound lane” have reopened there.

8:28 AM: Busy but no new problems. Later this morning, we’ll get a #Realign99 construction update in the south work zone. Also looking ahead – if you’re heading off-peninsula tomorrow, note that this year’s Womxn’s March will be happening (details in this city roundup).

8:55 AM: No new problems. We’re continuing to monitor and will update here if anything new does transpire before 10 am.

POST-VIADUCT PM COMMUTE #4: Thursday afternoon/evening updates

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

4:09 PM: We’re watching the pm commute again.

4:21 PM: WSDOT reports heavy volumes on both directions of I-5 through the region. The West Seattle Bridge is still sluggish eastbound (that’s a most-of-the-day thing now).

4:39 PM: Some trouble for those headed back this way from the Eastside – WSDOT reports a crash partly blocking the westbound I-90 exit to SB I-5.

4:57 PM: It’s raining – this morning’s real rain was mostly pre-commute, but this time it’s happening right in the heart of the travel time. Be safe.

5:08 PM: SDOT reports a crash at 16th/Roxbury.

5:37 PM: In comments, Jen reports “Semi blocking right WB lane under the upper bridge right before Avalon exit.”

6:21 PM: We’ve been listening to scanner traffic with a crash involving a Metro bus and wires down off SB 509 at 128th in Burien, and now a texter has mentioned it. Just an FYI if you’re headed in that direction – we haven’t seen any indication how/whether it’s affecting highway traffic.

6:28 PM: Just heard from a caller that this is affecting people trying to get onto SB 509 there. And Burien Police just tweeted:

6:47 PM: We weren’t on today’s media conference call due to a conflicting story interview (unrelated) but tomorrow we’re planning to cover a #Realign99 construction-zone tour and briefing. Any unanswered questions about how that’s going, let us know – thanks!

7:24 PM: A King County Sheriff’s Office photo from the 509/128th crash:

KCSO also says that “the driver of the white pickup truck is under arrest on suspicion of DUI.” He also was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Also: Today’s project update and other notes from WSDOT, including the morning West Seattle Water Taxi tally – under 1,000 for the first time this week but still triple last year’s ridership.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday AM watch, fourth post-Viaduct weekday

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! The change in the weather has arrived – but it’s not raining hard outside, just misting – so far. No incidents reported in our area.

5:55 AM: As with the previous three mornings, the bridge looks busier earlier.

6:13 AM: And even busier now. (Here’s a screengrab for the record.)

6:20 AM: Our crew, heading shortly for Water Taxi watch for the fourth day, reports it’s NOT raining right now. Warmer than recent mornings – 46 degrees.

6:40 AM: If you commute regionally and rely on WSDOT travel times – they’ve been coping with an outage but are now back, here.

6:50 AM: First report in from our crew at the West Seattle Water Taxi dock – rough couht ~70 on the boat that’s about to take off.

7:11 AM: Still nothing out of the ordinary to report. (added) Covered waiting area at Water Taxi dock still not needed, since the rain has yet to resume:

7:28 AM: By our count, about 150 on the Water Taxi that’s just taking off.

7:39 AM: Water Taxi usage is down this morning. Fewer triple-digit runs by our count; 79 on this one. Back on land watch, no train or low-bridge trouble this morning, unlike yesterday … so far.

7:58 AM: Just tweeted by BNSF, whose only tweet during yesterday’s 45+-minute blockage was to tell pedestrians to get off the tracks:

8:06 AM: Low bridge busy eastbound right now. Here’s a moment-in-time screengrab. No maritime openings logged so far this morning.

8:19 AM: One last Water Taxi count on our watch before our crew oves on – 77 for the 8:15-ish run. Remember that the extra service is here for two months, all the way until the 7-day-a-week schedule kicks in at the end of March, so lots of time to try it if you haven’t yet but could.

9:02 AM: Morning four of “Viadoom” hasn’t seemed very doomy. This tweet seems to corroborate:

We’re moving on to other news atop the page – so much to catch up on – but will continue to update here if any notable morning situations arise, plus we’ll be on PM watch again, with the weather projected to get wetter/breezier by then.

10:02 AM: Low bridge closed to surface traffic a few minutes ago, for the first time this morning. (Update: The closure lasted 11 minutes.)

POST-VIADUCT PM COMMUTE #3: Wednesday afternoon/evening updates

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

3:45 PM: We’re on PM commute watch now. Trouble spot reported by Jim Edwards:

SB West Marginal way down to one lane approaching Highland Park Way. Construction material spill (chunky mud) covering Left GP and left turn lane. Sweepers and Commercial Enforcement on scene.

4:39 PM: No incidents of note but general assessment, I-5 traffic is heavy both ways.

4:56 PM: Not an unusual alert from Washington State Ferries, but since we’re tracking the PM commute: “There is an estimated 60-minute wait for drivers departing Fauntleroy due to heavy vehicle traffic boarding the vessels.”

5:27 PM: And now, no extended wait. … The “low bridge” is closed right now so maritime traffic can pass through. Remember that the PM period when the Coast Guard agreed to limit bridge openings is 2-5 pm.

5:44 PM: After about 20 minutes of being closed to surface traffic, the low bridge has reopened.