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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Travis Phelps, WSDOT communications, 206-462-0554 (Seattle)
Watch videos, see our construction camera and closure information.
Top deck of viaduct completely removed, demolition on lower deck continues
SEATTLE – Only a handful of days of demolition are left on the southern mile of the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct before the road reopens, and traffic continues to be heavy for morning and afternoon commuters as they seek alternate routes around the closure.
“We understand drivers can only make adjustments for so long before going back to their normal routines,” said Matt Preedy, WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement program deputy administrator. “If this trend continues during the next couple days, we could see region wide gridlock on the highways and local city streets. Every driver can make a difference by shifting when and where they travel.”
Tuesday afternoon recap and Wednesday look ahead
Tuesday’s evening was heavily congested and drivers faced long delays on Interstate 5 in and out of Seattle. Southbound I-5 traffic was heavily congested from 3 to 7 p.m. with some trips taking up to 25 minutes longer than usual. On southbound I-405 in Bellevue, traffic was heavily congested from 3:30 to 7 p.m. with some trips taking 20 minutes longer than usual.
Drivers on Seattle city streets such as First and Fourth avenues south saw their commute time increase by up to five minutes between Edgar Martinez Drive South and Boeing Field. Drivers headed north on Elliott Avenue West toward Interbay saw their commute increase by up to 10 minutes. Airport Way South and East Marginal Way South remained good alternates, giving drivers a quicker commute by a few minutes. Evening commuters can expect much of the same congestion across the Puget Sound region and are encouraged to consider alternate routes and to spread out where and when they travel. Traffic on surface streets in the SODO area often came to a standstill while waiting for trains, and drivers and bus riders should continue to expect to encounter occasional delays.
Tools for getting around
Wednesday morning recap
North end: Some travel times on southbound I-5 between Everett and Seattle were 30 minutes longer than usual. Drivers who used 15th Avenue West and Elliott Avenue West into downtown Seattle experienced delays of up to 10 minutes.
South end: The commute on northbound I-5 into downtown Seattle was backed up to North Boeing Field after police activity blocked two lanes at Pike Street. Drivers using Airport Way South to bypass traffic on I-5 experienced a typical 10-minute commute from the south end of Boeing Field to the International District.
First and Fourth avenues south continued to be a good alternate routes for drivers. As a result, the commute on First Avenue South from South Lucile Street to the sports stadiums was a few minutes quicker than normal. Drivers on Fourth Avenue South saw delays of just a few minutes. Later in the commute, travel times on these routes increased by up to 20 minutes as drivers exited northbound I-5 to avoid the police activity at Pike Street.
West Seattle: Drivers using the West Seattle Bridge saw their commute increase by 12 minutes from Fauntleroy Way to the stadiums via First Avenue South.
Bike traffic: On Wednesday morning many drivers opted for a two-wheel commute. As of 9 a.m., the number of bicyclists counted on the Alki Trail in West Seattle more than tripled compared to Monday.
On Tuesday night, crews finished demolishing the entire top deck of the southern mile of the viaduct. Overnight, they hauled away a 100-foot-long mound of rebar and concrete. The concrete will be recycled and used to build temporary roads and the excavation pit for the bored tunneling machine for the SR 99 Tunnel Project. The rebar will be sent to two different recycling plants.
Today, crews continue to demolish the lower deck of the viaduct between South Royal Brougham Way and South Atlantic Street. They will haul out more debris, paint roadway striping, install lighting and place concrete traffic barrier as a part of the new construction bypass.
When SR 99 reopens Monday, Oct. 31, both directions of traffic will be shifted onto the new SR 99 bridge – two lanes in each direction – and crews will begin construction on the new northbound roadway in the footprint of the demolished viaduct. A step-by-step simulation shows how traffic will use the construction bypass.
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