Alaskan Way Viaduct 587 results

FOLLOWUP: Tunnel tolls finalized, plus other Highway 99 notes – including a change to this weekend’s closure plan

(WSDOT photo: NB view inside the tunnel, from August)

1:34 PM: The state Transportation Commission has finalized the toll rates for the Highway 99 tunnel – $1 to $2.25, depending on daypart, providing you use Good To Go. From the announcement:

On weekdays, tolls will be $1.50 during the morning peak commute (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.), $2.25 during the evening peak commute (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.), and $1.25 during non-peak hours between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. Overnight (11 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend tolls will be $1.00. Toll rates will increase by 3 percent every three years beginning in July 2022, subject to annual review by the Transportation Commission.

The Transportation Commission has previously determined that there will be consistent exemptions on all toll facilities for public transit, emergency responders, highway maintenance vehicles, school buses and qualified private buses, which serve the public or commuters.

State law requires that SR 99 tunnel tolls be used to repay $200 million borrowed to build the tunnel as well as related debt service costs, and ongoing operations, maintenance, and safety costs.

Drivers will not be charged immediately when the tunnel opens in early February. The start date has not been set, but it will apparently be months after the tunnel opens rather than weeks – this WSDOT Blog report about traffic-pattern changes expected when the tunnel opens says tolling is “expected to begin as soon as summer 2019.” In the meantime, until tolling begins, the report says, WSDOT is projecting more drivers will use the tunnel than currently use the Viaduct. … While we’re discussing Highway 99, yet another reminder that it will be closed BOTH WAYS this weekend, starting Friday night (October 19th) for inspection plus some viaduct-to-tunnel-transition work. As always, if the closure ends early, we’ll update you here.

4:21 PM: And we have an update already. The NB part of this weekend’s closure will be shorter. From the WSDOT website: “Northbound SR 99 will close Saturday, Oct. 20 at 6 a.m. and reopen Saturday afternoon by 5 p.m. The southbound closure remains unchanged.”

TRAFFIC: SB 99 closure continues; next weekend, 99 will close in both directions

So far, this weekend’s Highway 99 closure (SB between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge) has NOT ended early. But we want to take a moment to remind you about NEXT weekend’s both-ways closure – including the last-ever scheduled inspection of the Alaskan Way Viaduct – planned to start late Friday, October 19th, continuing to early Monday, October 22nd.

Viaduct-to-tunnel transition: Toll decision expected next week

(WSDOT photo)

The Highway 99 tunnel is set to open in early February, after three weeks of road-realignment work following the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s permanent closure on January 11th. It’ll be toll-free for a trial period at the start. Once that’s over – what will you be charged? That decision is expected to be made by the State Transportation Commission next week, after one last public hearing (11 am Tuesday, October 16th, in Olympia). Here’s the plan, with rates ranging from $1 to $2.25 (provided you sign up for Good To Go):

If you can’t be at that hearing but have something to say, the commission is taking written comment through tomorrow – scroll down this page to find out how.

P.S. Reminder that more prep work brings a closure oF SB 99 this weekend – details here.

State, city, county team up for Highway 99 briefing @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A week and a half after the big news that the Alaskan Way Viaduct will close forever on January 11th, with three weeks of Highway 99-less-ness to follow before the new tunnel opens (and other traffic effects beyond that), the West Seattle Transportation Coalition got a high-level briefing.

Leading that briefing last night: WSDOT’s Viaduct/99 project boss Brian Nielsen, SDOT’s downtown-mobility director Heather Marx, and King County’s Chris Arkills.

There were a few new bits of information – but even the not-so-new info bears hearing over and over as the 99-less period approaches.

Marx began with the overview that getting around the city is about to change – “it’s not going to be super-fun, for a few years” – with the promise that after those “few years,” things will be much better.

She showed the five pillars of how “downtown mobility” will be managed.

She made way for Nielsen, who promised specifics on “what’s going on in the Viaduct program now and the next couple years.” The number 5 figured into his early going, too – 5 things that have to be completed before the tunnel can open.

Read More

1st weekday since Metro’s service change, with reminder for riders on Viaduct-using routes

This is the first weekday since Metro‘s latest “service change” kicked in on Saturday. For West Seattle, Routes 56, 57, 120, and RapidRide C Line have added weekday trips. But there’s one more important note: As noted here last Tuesday, timetables were printed with the belief that the Viaduct-to-tunnel Highway 99 change was happening soon – but as you no doubt have heard by now, it’s not happening until January 11th. So Metro wants to be sure you know this:

Transit service will continue to operate on the Alaskan Way Viaduct until early 2019

In a revision to previously published information for Metro’s September 22 service change, routes 21 Express, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125 and the RapidRide C Line will continue to operate on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and along Seneca and Columbia streets, until early 2019, instead of changing to SODO surface streets as previously planned.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is now scheduled for closure in early 2019, and until it is closed, the routes that have been operating on it will continue to do so.

Updated schedules are online
While Metro works to update all of its data information systems, use the timetables posted on Metro’s website to plan your trip. During morning peak hours, some buses may arrive in downtown Seattle slightly earlier than scheduled.

When using Metro’s online Trip Planner, watch for the ‘Alert!’ symbol on affected itineraries, and check posted service advisories for routing or stop revisions. Revisions will be fully integrated in the Trip Planner by or before October 20.

New red timetables
Routing and operating times in new red paper timetables for viaduct routes that were distributed prior to September 22 do not reflect this late change to actual operation.

Affected timetables are being revised. Use online timetables or note that, because scheduled running time was added for the expected surface street operation, buses may seem to run earlier or later than the times shown in those timetables.

Downtown routing revisions for some viaduct routes
In the downtown area, some morning peak hour buses have revised routing. After exiting the viaduct, routes 21 Express, 121, 122, 123 and 125 that used to operate a short distance north on 1st Avenue or south on 2nd Avenue are all now operating via Seneca Street to 3rd Avenue, where they will continue north on 3rd, except for Route 125, which will continue south on 3rd.

To get to points south of Seneca St, transfer to applicable service southbound on 2nd or 3rd avenues from posted bus stops just south of Seneca St, or enter the transit tunnel at 3rd Av and Seneca St and transfer to southbound buses or Link light rail.

Onboard announcements
Some onboard stop or landmark information for viaduct buses in the downtown Seattle area may temporarily not be announced or may be announced incorrectly.

Listen for operator announcements or check with your driver if you need assistance with stop information for your route. These systems are also in the process of being updated.

Service change information
Information about all fall service revisions is posted online, and is included in new red timetables.

P.S. If you have questions about January’s Viaduct-to-tunnel transition, bring them to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting this Thursday (September 27), 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way).

TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: Highway 99 now fully reopened

Again this weekend, the Highway 99 closure has ended earlier than scheduled. As you can see in the “live” traffic camera above, NB 99 is now fully reopened after completion of another round of work relate to the Viaduct-to-tunnel transition.

TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: NB Highway 99 reopens from stadium zone northward

As promised, WSDOT has reopened *part* of northbound Highway 99. It’s now open from the stadium zone northward, which will be extra-busy tomorrow because of the Seahawks game. But NB 99 remains closed between there and the West Seattle Bridge, so if you’re outbound headed off-peninsula, you’re going to have to use an alternate route. That section is scheduled to remain closed until early Monday but as usual, we’ll be checking, and will publish an update if it reopens earlier than scheduled. P.S. WSDOT explains here what this closure is about.

VIADUCT NOTES: Another Highway 99 closure this weekend; plus, bus routes’ future

Two Alaskan Way Viaduct/Highway 99-related notes on this day after The Big Announcement (WSB coverage here) that the AWV’s permanent shutdown for the tunnel transition (and then demolition) won’t happen until January 11th:

ANOTHER CLOSURE THIS WEEKEND: WSDOT confirms that another Highway 99 closure north of the West Seattle Bridge is planned this weekend, this time northbound, according to spokesperson Laura Newborn. When we checked with her this morning, she was awaiting confirmation on the Friday night (September 21) start time (update: 9 pm), but added that “WSDOT plans to open up the NB ramp at Royal Brougham so NB SR 99 will be accessible after the Seahawks game on Sunday.” That’s assuming the closure doesn’t end early, as last week’s southbound closure did.

BUS ROUTING AFTER THE PERMANENT CLOSURE: Looking ahead to its next “service change” this Saturday, Metro created timetables with information about what happens to the 12 routes that use the Alaskan Way Viaduct, once it closes. Below are the links to PDFs of each timetable and the language each respectively contains regarding rerouting during the Highway 99 closure:

C Line

(During the Highway 99 closure) … the C Line will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. The C Line will continue to operate via 3rd Ave midtown.

Route 21

(During the Highway 99 closure) … Route 21 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. All Express service will operate exclusively via 3rd Ave midtown; Local service will remain unchanged midtown

Route 37

(During the Highway 99 closure) … Route 37 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. All Route 37 service will operate via 3rd Ave north of Columbia St during this time.

Route 55

(During the Highway 99 closure) … Route 55 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. Route 55 will operate via 3rd Ave, but otherwise remain unchanged midtown.

Routes 56 and 57

(During the Highway 99 closure) … routes 56 and 57 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. Both routes will operate via 3rd Ave, but otherwise remain unchanged midtown.

Route 113

(During the Highway 99 closure) … Route 113 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. Midtown, Route 113 will shift operation from 1st Ave and 2nd Ave to 3rd Ave.

Route 120

(During the Highway 99 closure) … Route 120 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. Route 120 will operate via 3rd Ave, but otherwise remain unchanged midtown.

Routes 121, 122, 123

(During the Highway 99 closure) … routes 121, 122 and 123 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. Midtown, the three routes will shift operation from 1st Ave and 2nd Ave to 3rd Ave

(added) Route 125

(During the Highway 99 closure) … Route 125 will be rerouted through SODO via 4th Ave S, and via 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave south of Columbia St. Midtown, Route 125 will operate exclusively via 3rd Ave.

Since the timetables have language suggesting that the permanent AWV closure was expected to start around the end of this month, some might be confused, so we contacted Jeff Switzer of Metro, who reiterates, “The printed timetables for the 12 routes that use the viaduct will be accurate at the time the tunnel opens. The interim pathways defined during the closure are set, however, additional bus stops are under consideration. Buses will continue to use the viaduct and their current paths, and riders can expect the same trip duration, until the viaduct closes.” The mention of “additional” stops dovetails with what Metro deputy general manager Terry White said at yesterday’s media briefing, that stops are still being finalized.

VIDEO: Highway 99 closure for viaduct-to-tunnel transition set to start January 11

(Added 6:20 pm: Full unedited video of briefing)

12:55 PM: We’re at a WSDOT media briefing at Colman Dock, where WSDOT has just announced the Highway 99 closure for the tunnel transition won’t start until January 11. More to come.

1:02 PM: Here’s the full news release:

Mark your calendars. In early 2019, the new State Route 99 tunnel will open, offering travelers a direct route from Seattle’s stadiums to the Space Needle.

To open the tunnel, the Washington State Department of Transportation must first realign the state highway, and then move SR 99 from the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct into the tunnel. This intensive work will last about three weeks and prompt the longest major highway closure to ever hit the Puget Sound region.

“The opening of the SR 99 tunnel will be an historic event in the state’s transportation history,” said Brian Nielsen, administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “Before we can celebrate, we have to get through an unprecedented closure that will require all of us to change our behavior.”

WSDOT’s current plan is to close SR 99 through Seattle beginning Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Closing SR 99 through Seattle is the only way crews can finish building the highway and the eight new ramps that will allow travelers to enter and exit the new tunnel

Travelers should expect region-wide congestion for up to six weeks as crews complete final connections to and from the new tunnel. In addition to the three-week closure:

*The off-ramp from southbound SR 99 to South Atlantic Street will permanently close one week earlier than the viaduct.

*The new off-ramp from northbound SR 99 to South Dearborn Street will require up to two weeks of additional work after the tunnel opens.

Get ready, make a plan

When the viaduct closes, 90,000 drivers who normally use the Alaskan Way Viaduct will need to find another way to get to, or through, downtown Seattle. During past Alaskan Way Viaduct closures, congestion increased on all major highways throughout Puget Sound as well as on local streets.

While WSDOT is working closely with the Seattle Department of Transportation, King County Metro and other key transportation agencies to keep traffic moving during this challenging time, help from drivers is critical.

“We need drivers to change their habits for three weeks to prevent gridlock,” said Nielsen. “We recognize everyone’s strategies will be different based on their needs, but consider other ways to get to and from your destination, if you can.”

Closure timing

When Seattle Tunnel Partners finished disassembling the tunneling machine Bertha in 2017, WSDOT estimated the tunnel would be open in early 2019. While there was optimism this date could be moved up, a number of factors influenced the decision to stay with the early 2019 date:

Construction progress: WSDOT has several contractors that must complete work to be ready for the three-week SR 99 closure. Scarsella Brothers, Inc. will then build the final tunnel and ramp connections. Some of this work, like road striping, is weather dependent.

Public notice: Starting in January ensures that contractor work will be complete and we can provide a specific date much further in advance. The public’s help will be critical and this will give everyone time to plan.

Holiday travel and commerce: WSDOT and its partner agencies are committed to keeping people and goods moving during the busy holiday season. Avoiding a major highway closure between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day helps achieve this goal. There are also fewer major events in early 2019 than there are during the last quarter of 2018.

Per the Legislature’s decision, the SR 99 tunnel will be tolled as a part of the project’s financing plan. The tunnel will be free to use when it first opens.

Additional details about the closure, tunnel opening and the future tolling of the tunnel can be found at www.99tunnel.com.

(WSB photo: Briefing in ferry holding zone downtown)

1:50 PM: The briefing is over and we’re headed back to HQ. We recorded it all on video and will be uploading that. Also, some West Seattle-specific details: Paul Brodeur from the King County Water Taxi said it will run a two-boat schedule on weekdays during the closure, with shuttles also doubled, and there will be extra parking including a lot at Pier 2, at Don Armeni, and along Harbor Avenue.

3:26 PM: Bus reroutes during the closure are already mentioned in route-specific pamphlets as part of Metro’s service-change announcement – but the language suggests they were expecting the closure to be much sooner, so we’re asking Metro if the January timing will change anything. Metro’s new deputy general manager Terry White said at the briefing that the stops for the 12 routes that will have to be rerouted are still being finalized.

6:20 PM: Just added our full unedited video of the briefing and Q&A from this afternoon.

EARLY REOPENING: SB Highway 99 closure is over

Though southbound Highway 99 was scheduled to be closed until late tonight, the closure has ended early. It’s now open again (as the “live” traffic-camera image above verifies)!

CLOSURE: New hours for southbound Highway 99 shutdown this weekend

The SB Highway 99 closure for this weekend, first noted here last weekend has new hours. From WSDOT:

The contractor working for the Washington State Department of Transportation has shortened the amount of time needed for paving work this coming weekend, so the closure of southbound State Route 99 through Seattle will start a little later and end a little earlier. The southbound viaduct will close at 11:59 (pm) Friday, Sept. 14 and run through 11:59 (pm) Sunday, Sept. 16.

Southbound SR 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and South Spokane Street so crews can pour concrete near Atlantic Street. This will help advance some of the work needed to open the new SR 99 tunnel.

Looking ahead: Before the new SR 99 tunnel can open, WSDOT will have to close the viaduct for approximately three weeks. The lengthy closure is unavoidable as it is the only way crews can #realign99 into the tunnel and complete eight new entrance and exit ramps.

WSDOT does not yet have a date for the start of the three-week closure, but will give a minimum of one month’s advance notice to help travelers plan ahead as much as possible.

Back to this weekend – WSDOT has just postponed plans for lane/ramp closures on NB I-5. But the 99 work is still on as of right now.

No SB Highway 99 closure THIS weekend – but one IS planned a week later

(WSDOT photo: Tunnel’s south portal)

The decision’s in. No Highway 99 closure this weekend, but WSDOT says one IS on the horizon. The announcement:

This weekend’s scheduled closure of southbound SR 99 through Seattle has been canceled. The viaduct will be open all weekend.

There is another full southbound closure scheduled for the following weekend. The road will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14 through 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17 between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and South Spokane Street.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will be completing pavement work needed for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. Drivers are encouraged to plan their trip before they go, and expect delays.

Highway 99 closure this weekend? Maybe

If you read SDOT’s “What’s Moving Seattle” roundup of events and road work, you might have noticed a SB Highway 99 closure mentioned for this weekend. That’s not listed on the WSDOT websites anywhere, so we checked with 99 spokesperson Laura Newborn. She says the final call on whether the closure is on or off will be made tomorrow.

WEEKEND TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: New information on NB 99 closure

Thanks to Jennifer for catching that the weekend northbound Highway 99 closure we mentioned yesterday had changed from Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights to “all weekend long.” But there’s now another change beyond the one she had spotted on the WSDOT site. While we were corresponding with spokesperson Laura Newborn about the change, she got word minutes ago that the NB 99closure will *only* extend from the West Seattle Bridge to Atlantic Street. That means the elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct itself, from the stadium zone northward, WILL remain open all weekend.

To recap:

*NB Highway 99 closed Friday night to early Monday, between West Seattle Bridge and Atlantic St.
*No change in NB I-5 closure – Offramp to West Seattle Bridge and Columbian Way will be closed 9 pm Friday-5 am Monday

Another peek inside the opening-before-too-long Highway 99 tunnel

(WSDOT photo)

No date set yet for the three-week Highway 99 closure that will precede the tunnel’s opening, but WSDOT is providing another peek inside the almost-ready tunnel today, along with this explanation:

… Crews are using stencils to paint “running man” symbols on walls in both directions of the tunnel.

The green icons are spaced about 50 feet apart on the west walls of the southbound (upper) and northbound (lower) roadways. As shown in the photo, arrows point the way to the nearest exits, along with the distances to them.

If the seven-foot-tall green stick figures don’t get your attention, flashing lights at each of the tunnel’s emergency exits and electronic signs will provide additional guidance.

Crews are also striping the roadway inside the tunnel, according to today’s update from WSDOT, which continues to promise that it will provide at least one month’s notice before the three-week closure, which will be followed by two more weeks of work on the ramp that West Seattleites will use to get into downtown south of the tunnel entrance.

Viaduct-to-tunnel: No date yet, but here’s what’s happening now

(WSDOT photo: Part of where Alaskan Way will run when the move is done)

WSDOT says today that there’s no date yet for closing the Alaskan Way Viaduct to begin the transition to the Highway 99 tunnel. But preparation work continues – including shifting the surface Alaskan Way out from under the Viaduct. Here’s the latest WSDOT update:

Last week marked the beginning of an important project that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct can be removed. Crews working for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. have begun the traffic signal, striping and roadway signage work required to switch traffic on Alaskan Way from beneath the viaduct to just west of the viaduct. Alaskan Way’s travel lanes were detoured beneath the viaduct years ago to accommodate construction of the seawall project and the SR 99 tunnel, which could open as soon as this fall.

Crews will be working through late summer or early fall to restore street traffic to the west side of the viaduct. This switch will provide space under and around the viaduct for the removal work, while keeping Alaskan Way open during that construction. Implementing the traffic switch requires wiring intersections for traffic signals, installing roadway signage, and updating roadway and parking striping.

Crews are currently working on the west side of the viaduct, at the cross-street intersections from Yesler Way to Union Street. They are installing wooden traffic signal poles, trenching and adding underground conduits, and installing cables and traffic signals overhead.

This work will temporarily close some parking spaces and parts of the intersections to ensure the safety of crews and the travelling public. People walking, biking and driving along the waterfront will still be able to move through the area, and business loading zones will be preserved. Kiewit’s crews are minimizing their work areas where possible in order to limit these temporary parking disruptions.

This work will not disrupt the new, free Waterfront Shuttle. The pilot service is providing free hop-on, hop-off rides between Pioneer Square and the Space Needle, with stops along the waterfront. Part of WSDOT’s funding commitment to Seattle’s waterfront and Pioneer Square, the shuttle runs approximately every 25 minutes from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, through October 1.

The switch of traffic from under the viaduct to west of the viaduct will happen before the three-week #realign99 closure of SR 99.

As explained in June, even after the tunnel opens, northbound traffic between the West Seattle Bridge and downtown will have about two additional weeks of detours while the new main pre-tunnel offramp is completed.

TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: NB Highway 99 / Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens after Torchlight Run

5:48 PM: Just a reminder if you missed our earlier alerts – northbound Highway 99, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct, is closed right now for the Seafair Torchlight Run. And if you’re looking for an alternate route to/through downtown, remember there are other road closures (primarily 4th Avenue) for the Torchlight Parade, which follows the run. The run course has a must-clear time of 7:30 pm so 99 should start reopening no later than then – we’ll update here when it does.

7:49 PM: The Viaduct is now open again, including the West Seattle Bridge exit to NB 99.

Last chance to run on the Alaskan Way Viaduct: Saturday night’s Torchlight Run

One last time before its demolition (which could start before the year ends), you can run on the Alaskan Way Viaduct if you sign up for this Saturday night’s Seafair Torchlight Run. You can register here. And if you’re not running, remember the NB AWV will be closed for a few hours for the run, which precedes the Torchlight Parade. (Added) WSDOT’s advisory says 4:30-7:30 pm, thiugh alert signage cites a 6 pm start.

VIDEO: Here’s what happens if there’s a fire in the Highway 99 tunnel

That’s video from WSDOT, recorded inside the Highway 99 tunnel during a first-of-its-kind test today. From WSDOT’s project spokesperson Laura Newborn:

This morning, Seattle Tunnel Partners, the contractor for the SR 99 tunnel, successfully completed the first test of the tunnel’s deluge sprinkler system. In this two-minute test, 6,400 gallons of water poured out of the overhead sprinklers along a 216 foot section of the upper road of the double-deck tunnel. The tunnel is divided into 208 fire safety zones and the fire suppression system is designed to activate sprinklers within the safety zones – or more simply, at the point of a fire. Today’s test spanned two safety zones.

Seattle Tunnel Partners has many more systems tests and safety tests ahead before the tunnel is finished. After all tests are complete and all tunnel systems are a ‘go,’ WSDOT must close the viaduct through Seattle to finish building ramps and realign SR 99 into the new tunnel. Given the amount of testing still ahead, it remains too early to give an exact date for tunnel opening, but the tunnel could open to traffic as soon as this fall.

As we reported after covering a media briefing near the tunnel’s south entrance last week, Highway 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and tunnel will be off-limits to downtown-bound traffic for up to two extra weeks beyond the viaduct-to-tunnel transition closure, to finish the main route into downtown.

VIDEO: A tale of two Highway 99 closures – this weekend, and this fall, which will be longer than you’ve heard

(WSB photo: Construction zone just south of southern Highway 99 tunnel portal)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

For the first time in a while, the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program invited the media into the project zone outside the tunnel – not for a tunnel update, but to talk about two closures.

First one is the one we’ve been reminding you about daily since last weekend – 9 pm tonight until 6 am Sunday, southbound 99 is closing between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge. When it reopens, the stretch just north of the stadium zone will be realigned – a little less curvy, basically; not the final configuration, but closer to it. Here are WSDOT-provided images with the before and after – the U-shaped structure at the top of both views is the Atlantic Street overpass:

This won’t be a major change but it’s important for the project – WSDOT’s viaduct-to-tunnel program boss Dave Sowers explained at the briefing that this is part of getting 99 ready for connections to the tunnel and ramps in the area that will carry non-tunnel-bound 99 users into downtown post-viaduct.

Speaking of which, an update on the big tunnel-to-viaduct closure (likely this fall) was the other part of the briefing, and there’s something new for West Seattle drivers/riders – non-tunnel northbound traffic will be affected beyond the main closure itself. We’ll get into that next but first, here’s our video of the entire briefing and media Q&A in case you’d like to watch/listen for yourself:

The first thing to stress: No, there’s still no date for the three-weeks-or-so viaduct-to-tunnel closure. WSDOT hopes to be able to announce it about a month in advance, and currently expects the contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners will officially hand off the tunnel in late August. Sowers said their biggest goal is to have the tunnel open by Thanksgiving, but it could of course be sooner.

While the three-week closure itself isn’t news – we’ve reported it multiple times before – this is: West Seattleites need to know that even when the three-week closure is over and the tunnel is open, the main pre-tunnel ramp from northbound 99 into downtown – Dearborn Street – will not be ready for up to two MORE weeks. So your main paths into downtown until then will be via the low bridge/Spokane Street, or 1st or 4th or I-5 off the eastbound West Seattle Bridge – if you’re not tunnel-bound, you won’t be able to use NB 99 between here and downtown until Dearborn is ready to go.

WSDOT says it’s of course working with other agencies/services including Metro, the Water Taxi, and SDOT to coordinate planning, but they want you to start preparing too, so they’re starting to sound the alerts now.

Something else new: Viaduct demolition, post-closure, is expected to take about six months. That’s a shorter timeframe than previously mentioned. The contractor Kiewit will start at Columbia Street and at the “Pike hillclimb area.” Some work might even begin before year’s end, if the tunnel really does open by November, according to Sowers.

Though the briefing wasn’t about the tunnel itself, we asked what’s going on underground right now. Sowers said the roadway’s built and much of what’s happening now is testing, testing, testing. The tunnel includes “more than 5,000 different instruments” and they not only have to be tested individually, but project managers have to be sure those systems are “talking to each other.” They’re also striping and installing signs.

WSDOT is continuing to put more information about the project and the viaduct-to-tunnel transition online, with an easy-to-remember website: 99tunnel.com. And watch for word of another short-term closure later this summer like the one that’s set for 9 pm tonight through 6 am Sunday – Sowers said they’re trying to figure out the least-impactful dates.

CLOSURE ALERT: Southbound 99 to be closed part of next weekend

Looking ahead to next weekend, one major closure you might want to plan for if you’re heading off-peninsula: Southbound Highway 99 is scheduled for a full closure from 9 pm next Friday night (June 22nd) until 6 am next Sunday (June 24th), between Battery Street and Lander Street (functionally, that means all the way to the West Seattle Bridge), as part of tunnel-related work. No overlapping major I-5 closures that weekend, according to the WSDOT list.

HIGHWAY 99: Open again, post-marathon

June 10, 2018 3:13 pm
|    Comments Off on HIGHWAY 99: Open again, post-marathon
 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

A bit later than projected, northbound Highway 99 has just reopened, post-Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

P.S. You can always check our collection of SDOT and WSDOT traffic cameras here.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Highway 99 lane closures Saturday, full NB closure Sunday

Just received from WSDOT, word of Highway 99 lane closures Saturday and a full northbound closure part of Sunday:

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will reduce both directions of SR 99 to one lane on Saturday, June 9, so they can dig large sign foundations for the future SR 99 tunnel.

On Sunday, June 10, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon will close all lanes of northbound SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and Green Lake, along with off-ramps on Interstate 5 and SR 520.

Saturday, June 9

3 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Northbound SR 99 traffic will be reduced to one lane between South Lander Street and Holgate Street.

3 a.m. to 10 p.m. – Southbound SR 99 traffic will be reduced to one lane between Holgate Street and South Lander Street.

Sunday, June 10

4:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
All lanes and ramps of northbound SR 99 between South Spokane Street/West Seattle Bridge and West Green Lake Way will be closed.

6 to 11:15 a.m.
The northbound I-5 off-ramp to Lakeview Boulevard will be closed.
Two left turn lanes on the I-5 off-ramp to Mercer Street will be closed.
The westbound SR 520 off-ramp to Roanoke Street/Harvard Avenue will be closed.
Seattle city streets are also closing for the race.