SEATTLE – It was the question on everyone’s mind: How would drivers react to the first morning commute during the nine-day closure on the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct?
“Drivers did a good job of adjusting their commutes, taking the bus, leaving earlier or working from home,” said Matt Preedy, WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement program deputy administrator. “We need drivers to continue finding alternate ways to reach their destination through next Monday to keep regional traffic moving.”
As expected, drivers from across the Puget Sound region experienced longer than normal commutes this morning, especially on Interstate 5 heading into Seattle. As congestion on I-5 increased, backups began affecting traffic exiting the West Seattle Bridge onto I-5. Also, drivers in south King County switched to I-405 as an alternate route and saw travel times reach 60 minutes between Auburn and Renton.
Other routes, including city of Seattle streets such as First and Fourth avenues South saw increased congestion.
At 10:30 a.m., crews temporarily closed the on-ramp from South Royal Brougham Way to northbound SR 99 in order to demolish a section of the viaduct located near the ramp. After monitoring the demolition progress, the ramp was temporarily closed as a precautionary measure. Closing the ramp ensured that drivers would not be too near the active demolition zone as concrete debris fell from the viaduct about 60 feet away from traffic. Crews hope to complete nearby demolition work by 3:30 p.m. and reopen the South Royal Brougham Way ramp for the evening commute. The Bell Street on-ramp to northbound SR 99 remains open.
Drivers urged to prepare for Monday’s afternoon commute
Drivers can expect heavy congestion on regional freeways such as I-5 and I-405 and local city streets during the afternoon commute, including return routes to West Seattle. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and leave extra time to reach their destination.
Tools for getting around:
· What’s happening now
· Recommended routes in and out of downtown
· Nine-day viaduct closure details
· King County Metro tools for getting around during the nine-day closure
· King County Water Taxi
· Sound Transit schedules
· Community Transit schedules
· Pierce Transit schedules
· Google Trip Planner
Progress on the job
Skanska crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation spent the weekend demolishing sections of the top deck of the viaduct between South King and South Atlantic streets. They took advantage of the good weather on Sunday and striped East Frontage Road South and East Marginal Way South. More of the viaduct’s top deck is expected to be removed this afternoon. View live pictures of the demolition: wsdot.wa.gov/projects/viaduct/camera/.
Updated closure details:
Northbound closure details
· Northbound SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and South Royal Brougham Way remains closed around-the-clock until 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31.
· At 3:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon, the South Royal Brougham Way on-ramp to northbound SR 99 reopened to traffic. It will close again at 7 p.m. and remain closed until tomorrow morning at 5 a.m.
Southbound closure details
· Southbound SR 99 between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge remains closed around-the-clock until 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31.
Hyperlinks within the news release:
· SR 99 – South Holgate to South King Street project www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR99/HolgateToKing/
· Recommended routes through Seattle: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR99/HolgateToKing/SR99RecommendedRoutes.htm
· Nine-day viaduct closure and helpful links: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR99/HolgateToKing/ViaductNineDayClosure.htm
King County Metro tools for getting around during the nine-day closure: metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/get-you-there/
King County Water Taxi: www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/WaterTaxi.aspx
Sound Transit schedules www.soundtransit.org/
Community Transit schedules: www.commtrans.org/BusService/TripPlanner.cfm
Pierce Transit schedules: www.piercetransit.org/
Ride Share Online www.rideshareonline.com/
Google Trip Planner www.google.com/intl/en/landing/transit/#mdy
SR 99 Demolition pictures: wsdot.wa.gov/projects/viaduct/camera/