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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Travis Phelps, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, 206-462-0554 (cell), (Seattle)
Linda Thielke, King County Metro Transit, 206-684-1414 (Seattle)
Geoff Patrick, Sound Transit, 206-398-5313 (Seattle)
Learn more about ongoing construction to replace the viaduct.
Longest full closure of a Seattle-area highway begins Oct. 21
SEATTLE – In just over a month, the landscape of Seattle’s SODO neighborhood will forever change. On Friday, Oct. 21, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will close a majority of the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct for nine days as crews begin to demolish the structure’s southern mile.
Drivers across the Puget Sound region will see increased congestion as the nearly 110,000 vehicles that use the viaduct daily look for somewhere else to go. Drivers are strongly encouraged to plan ahead, get familiar with commute options and allow extra time to reach their destinations.
“The nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is a big deal,” said state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “This will not only be the longest construction closure of a Seattle highway in history, but it also signifies a major milestone in the replacement of the viaduct. During the course of the work, we need help from drivers to keep traffic moving.”
During the closure, Skanska crews working for WSDOT will demolish large sections of the viaduct’s south end and complete temporary connections to a new SR 99 bridge now under construction on the west side of the viaduct. When SR 99 reopens, all traffic will use the new bridge and a curved bypass that connects to the existing viaduct at South King Street.
“The nine-day closure of the viaduct will significantly affect traffic across the Puget Sound region,” said Matt Preedy, WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct deputy program director. “We realize that not everyone can completely change their commute. But for those who have a choice, options such as vanpooling, carpooling or other forms of transportation can help you avoid long delays.”
Northbound closure details
- Northbound SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and South Royal Brougham Way will be closed around the clock from 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31.
- Northbound SR 99 between the South Royal Brougham Way on-ramp and the Battery Street Tunnel will be open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and for special events at CenturyLink Field.
Southbound closure details
- Southbound SR 99 between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge will be closed around-the-clock from 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31.
Ride the bus
Drivers are encouraged to leave their cars at home and take advantage of King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit and Community Transit bus service. While buses will face delays from increased traffic, riders can relax and avoid the stress of driving. Online trip planners on all of the agencies’ websites offer easy and convenient information about routes, bus stops and transfers between services.
Sounder commuter rail and Link Light rail
Sound Transit’s Sounder train and Link Light rail are two congestion-free alternatives for drivers looking to leave cars at home during the nine-day closure. Sounder offers weekday service linking Seattle with stations in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett. Link operates 20 hours a day between downtown Seattle’s Westlake Station and Sea-Tac Airport, with stops in SODO, Beacon Hill, the Rainier Valley and Tukwila.
The King County Water Taxi is an option for those traveling from West Seattle and Vashon Island. There are frequent sailings on both routes during weekday commute times that can get commuters off the congested roadways.
King County Metro Transit is offering promotions to commuters who share the ride during the nine-day closure. Commuters who form a new Metro vanpool can receive $77 per role – up to $231. Those who carpool or ride in a van at least seven times in one month and track their progress at RideshareOnline.com will be entered into a drawing for $77 rewards cards. For details on the rewards, visit metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/van-car/rewards.html
Solo drivers can find a carpool partner on RideshareOnline.com. The site’s ridematching tool securely matches people with registered co-workers or commuters who have a similar commute. Carpools and vanpools will face the same delays as other commuters, but sharing the ride will take more cars off the road and make travel conditions better for everyone.
Work from home
Drivers can avoid the congestion altogether by working from home or a satellite location, or compressing their work week. They should start talking to their employers now to make arrangements.
WSDOT is replacing the southern mile of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a new side-by-side roadway that has wider lines and meets current earthquake standards. For more information, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR99/HolgateToKing/
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